The Google Poker Stakes

2010 annual report for the online gaming industry which highlights some interesting data about the search patterns of consumers in the iGaming space

Search marketing agency, Greenlight, has released its 2010 annual report for the online gaming industry which highlights some interesting data about the search patterns of consumers in the iGaming space. However, it is Greenlight's Gaming Sector Report for December that we shall be examining over the next two pages, as we determine which poker businesses are faring best in consumer search patterns for both paid and natural search in the UK market.

ONE SIGNIFICANT RESULT of Greenlight's 2010 annual report that we should mention before looking at Decembers data, is that 'poker' was the top keyword of the 12 month period between January 2010 and December 2010. accounting for 2.34 million of the 10.74 million searches racked up by the top ten keywords detailed in the charts below. Interestingly, bingo was a close second with 2.1 million searches with casino narrowly behind in third on just over two million. Another key trend to this data is the significant and largely uniform drop in search numbers over the 12 month period, sliding from just over three million searches in January to just over 800,000 by December.

This accounts for relative freefall in the amount of searches for iGaming-related keywords with December's total of 802,000 accounting for a mere third of the figures reported in January 2010. We can only assume reasons for this depression, but it might not all be attributed to a lack of interest in the space generally.

We could account for a transition period where the spike of interest of new-to-the-market consumers falls as they become more regular players and, therefore, less reliant on search engines to get to their preferred sites. This would assume that such undulating search figures are commonplace as trends of newly interested players flock to the search engines. However, we can't look past the fact that this could indeed serve as some form of barometer for the space.

The iGaming Index, published in each issue of iGaming Business magazine, monitors the top 30 listed iGaming business and their performance relative to the FTSE100. In the most recent issue, the Index hit and all-time low with many companies trading in negative figures, some with alarming regularity, as share prices fluctuate in reaction to M&A speculation, financial performance and strategic announcements.

Indeed. Morgan Stanley's recent weekly leisure report focuses on Betfair, which recently floated on the FTSE350 Index, forecasting that its poker revenues are likely to continue on their decline in Q3.

The report stated, "Poker revenues fell 15 percent in Q2. and we expect a 14 percent decline in Q3. The company put the Q2 weakness down to the migration of the company's poker product to the Ongame platform. Although the migration went well from a technical perspective, and most players have continued to use Betfair post-migration, some of the higher-value customers found that some of the features they liked in Betfair Poker were no longer available and so were no longer active on it at the end of Q2. Betfair is looking it add these features back to its new poker offering, but we do not expect any immediate recovery. We expect revenues of Ј6 rnillion in poker in the quarter, so this product now accounts for only seven percent of net gaming revenue."

It may not make for entirely pleasant reading, but the poker environment is still very much alive and kicking, and we can now turn to December's search results to see exactly how UK consumers are accessing some of the sector's leading operator and content sites.

Natural search: poker keywords

Searches for poker-related terms accounted for more than 227,000 searches in December 2010. So, how did those searches break down? (Figures 1 and 2).

The keyword 'poker' was searched for 49,500 times in December, accounting for 22 percent of all searches for poker.

PokerListings was the most visible poker-related website, achieving 37 percent visibility through ranking at position one for 16 keywords analysed. However, consistent with Greenlight's previous report, it did not rank on page one for the most searched for term 'poker', featuring at position 11.

PokerStars ranked at position one for six terms but it achieved lower visibility for the high volume keywords. Since September, its visibility increased by eight percent whilst PokerListings, by comparison, lost five percent share of voice. increased its visibility by ten percent and, therefore, it ascended from eighth position to fifth. By contrast, Pokerjunkie lost six percent share of voice, which saw it drop from fourth position to position 15 in Greenlight's league table.

Paid search: poker keywords

Searches specifically for poker-related terms accounted for more than 227,000 searches in December. Here Greenlight's report assesses which advertisers were most visible for those keywords. (Figures 3 and 4)

Full Tilt Poker appeared for 20 keywords analysed, at an average ad position of three. Its share of voice increased by six percent and, thus, it rose from third position to the top of the league table.

By comparison, Sky Poker bid on more keywords (25) but at a lower average ad position of four. Consistent with Greenlight's last report, three of 888's display URLs featured in the top ten advertisers: 888Poker, Poker.888 and 888. com, which achieved 42 percent, 33 percent and 23 percent visibility respectively.

Achieving 21 percent share of voice apiece, William Hill Poker and Full Tilt Poker displayed the most visible individual ad crйatives. William Hill Poker advertised its /400 signing on bonus, whilst Full Tilt Poker featured a more generic ad creative, promoting an in-game selling point: 'Learn, Play and Chat with the Full Tilt Poker Pros for free!'

No.AdvertiserShare of voice
3poker. williamhill.com53%
9 betfair.com23%
11casino. ladbrokes.com16%
1232redpoker com14%
No.DomainAd creativeUnique creativesShare of voice
1poker. William Hill Online Poker Sign Up at William Hill Poker & Get a Ј400 Online Poker Bonus! Poker. WilliamHill.com2221%
2fulltiltpoker.comPlay Poker Online Now Learn, Play and Chat with the Full Tilt Poker Pros for free!5621%
3888poker.comЈ5 Free at 888 Poker The new 888 Poker has landed. Get Ј5 free bonus & join now!3012%
4poker.888.comPlay Poker at™ 100% Bonus for new UK players. Low stakes, Big wins, Great promos! Poker.888.com3111%
5poker. William Hill Online Poker Go All-in with Your Pocket Rockets At William Hill Poker Online! Poker. WilliamHill.com2211%
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