News Item: : SPORTSBETTING SUPPLEMENT: AFTER THE BIG BANG
(Category: iGaming Affiliates)
Posted by joginvik
Friday 29 July 2011 - 15:32:15

"Operators have to adapt to Smartphone technology and act quickly However, adapting and reacting to the public's fascination with this new technology isn't easy"


THE RISE OF in-play markets and live streaming has seen some bookmakers increase sportsbook revenues by up to 100 percent in some cases, as the phenomenon has boomed over the last couple of years.

Some operators made bold moves to dominate the in-play arena and have highly developed product propositions to take advantage of burgeoning customer demand.

However, times change and technology and consumer interest moves on. Just as the high street bookmakers have had to face challenges from online businesses setting the pace in betting innovation, the advent of mobile technology will keep even the sawiest of online operators on their toes.

We know from our own customer research that in-play is what our online customers want and the mobile channel has the potential to become the ultimate home of in-play. It gives the customer what they want, when they want, wherever they are: in the pub, on the bus, at the football match.

And 2011 already looks like the year the mobile channel really starts having the impact many have predicted as the technology catches up with operators' ambitions.

Smartphones

The increase in sophistication and sheer volume of mobile units owned means Smartphones are becoming that more prevalent and important in the sports betting industry.

More people now access Facebook via their mobile than their PC and this trend is transferring to all areas of people's lives. More people are becoming comfortable with mobile devices and the Smartphone evolution means people are becoming increasingly engaged with, and dependant on. these multi-purpose, utility devices. You can do your shopping via a mobile app so if you're a sports bettor, you're sure as hell going to have a flutter on your mobile given the opportunity.

According to comScore, almost one third of all handsets in the UK are Smartphones and that figure has probably grown at least five percent since those figures were published in January 2011. In fact, predictions of Smartphone penetration of 54 percent by 2012, might even seem a little conservative.

Sports bettors are becoming increasingly more comfortable with mobile gambling as the products they are being presented with become more advanced and the operating systems that support them allow for fast, reliable service.

At least seven out of ten bets I place myself are now via operators' mobile offerings. I also know friends, who were only occasional sports bettors, are becoming more familiar and are betting with mobile apps which can even populate a multiple bet randomly if you tell it how much you want to stake and win.

Operators have to adapt to Smartphone technology and act quickly. However, adapting and reacting to the public's fascination with this new technology isn't easy. Choosing where and how to invest is a serious choice. There's the mobile web, native apps and tablet devices to consider. The iPhone and Android split mean operators must make sure they support all operating systems to widen their reach and keep consumers engaged with their brand. The iPhone user has been identified as a high spender but Android devices are predicted to exceed the iPhone with a market share of almost 20 percent by next year.

The mobile space is only going to become more intelligent and a more romantic proposition to sports gamblers as we see the development of betting intelligence services. The ability to now bet and watch horse racing via a mobile device is the latest development to excite sports bettors on the move.

This year, a record number of bets were placed via mobile gaming apps at the Cheltenham Festival, according to various mobile-gaming tech providers.

Some operators are already quoting figures of around ten percent of total sportsbook turnover coming from mobile. The expectation from some is that it will rise further to around 30 percent by the end of the year.

Changing landscape

Affiliates have to be mindful of this changing landscape and carefully consider the bookmakers they promote based on the increase in mobile browsing. It's key for affiliates to consider partnering with operators who offer quality, diverse mobile sites and the ability to track referrals should a user go via a mobile device. It's also important that affiliates have the right technology in place themselves and don't over indulge in Flash-heavy and media-rich content.

Those operators with strong mobile products can only improve the loyalty and retention of their customer base which benefits the affiliate in terms of revenue share. Even if affiliates don't have mobile optimised sites they can benefit from the retention of the customers they have referred via the web.

Affiliate partners also need to consider mobile growth and take advantage of the low CPCs associated with mobile PPC, as do operators. This will unavoidably change as costs are pushed up as the traffic via mobile continues to rise.

What's clear is that operators and affiliates need to be prepared and responsive to customers' demands and needs. If the predictions surrounding Smartphone growth are accurate, the next 12 months could see some interesting results in terms of market share and operator position.


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