Deepening our European Commitment

Optimove Expands European Presence

Good news for European marketers! We are excited to announce that we have recently opened an Optimove office in London! This will help us further accelerate our expansion in Europe and better support our existing clients in the UK and across the continent. To lead the new UK office, we have appointed Richard Mitchell as country manager for the UK. Richard was previously Global Vice President, Client Marketing Services for Digital River, a global e-commerce services provider that processes more than $30 billion in online transactions annually. Richard is currently recruiting sales and marketing talent to staff the new office. We wish Richard the best of luck in his new position! Our current client roster…

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The Risk of Becoming a Feature Buffet

Feature Buffet

The other day I had a conversation with a VP Product of a well-known startup. We were discussing how to choose which product features to develop. “That’s simple,” he told me point-blank. “I have a frank discussion with my sales and marketing team and ask them what is lacking in the product that makes us lose deals. Once these features are developed, we’ll win more deals.” I admit that there are many benefits to this prospect-driven approach. After all, we want to ensure that a product brings value to the marketplace and sells. In addition, if several prospects want a particular feature, it’s probably safe to assume that other prospects want that feature, and building…

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Plugging the Leaks in Your Customer Pool

Customer Pool

Like a pool of water that fills and empties, your customer base also rises and falls with the accumulation of new customers and the loss of churned customers. Every so often, you need to assess the current level of active customers in your customer pool, verifying that there is the right balance between your customer acquisition and retention efforts. Your end goal is the creation of a pool that continuously flows with live customers, and for that pool of customers to continuously grow over time. While working towards this goal, it’s a good idea to take a step back regularly and ask: Are the total number of accumulated new, active, and reactivated customers in our…

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The Platform Duel: Web vs. Mobile in iGaming

The Gaming Platform Duel: Web vs. Mobile

Every year, we see increasing numbers of online gaming operators adding mobile platforms – giving players the ability to play anywhere, anytime – rather than be confined to a particular location. We were interested in understanding how this emerging trend affects player behavior and activity. My team of data scientists ran the numbers and discovered some valuable insights. Here’s what we found… Web Bets are Higher and More Frequent In order to first gain understanding of betting activity on a macro level, we examined bets across all platforms, regardless of a player’s platform preference. Out of the total number of bets placed, across the board, 86% are placed via the Web; the rest are placed…

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Personalized Customer Marketing Goes Real-time

Real-time Personalized Marketing

One of the holy grails of personalization is the ability to implement real-time, data-driven customer marketing. In other words, marketers with the ability to deliver highly-relevant messages to individual customers at the exact moment of greatest relevance will thrill those customers, engender more loyalty, and generate more direct and indirect revenue. Most of the retention marketing done today is via, what I call, “batch campaigns.” The marketer selects a list of customers to receive a particular campaign and sends it to all of them in one shot. Such campaigns are extremely valuable, of course, especially when the message is well-matched to the customers receiving it. But think about how valuable it would be to also…

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Returning to Our Roots: Optimove Announces an Academic Research Partnership

Optimove Academic Research

As you may know, Optimove was founded in the halls of academia. Even as we’ve grown into a thriving commercial entity, we maintain close ties with the academic world in various ways: members of our team serve as guest lecturers in various universities; as a “science-oriented” company, we enjoy discussing the latest scientific theories being developed in our field with the professors and students developing them;and we believe that the classroom is an excellent place to tap into stellar employee talent (as I wrote about recently in FastCompany). So, it is a pleasure for me to announce the launch of a joint research project between Optimove’s team of data scientists and two professors who are…

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Ever-increasing Personalization

Ever-increasing Personalization

Let’s assume that your online business has a really sharp customer marketing and retention team. They are constantly dreaming up new offers and incentives to entice your customers to spend more, keep them happy and keep them coming back again and again. Let’s even say that the team is great at slicing and dicing your customer database to identify particular segments of customers worth targeting with particular offers. Overall, you are pleased with their performance as you watch your customer retention and lifetime values increase. What more can you expect? Actually, you can expect a lot more! The fact is that even the smartest marketers are incapable of thinking in an unlimited number of dimensions….

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Have it in Any Color You Want, as Long as it’s Black

Personalization When I think of this quote of Henry Ford, it reminds me of how not much has changed since the Industrial Revolution. This joke of Ford’s had more than a bit of truth to it. The truth is that Model Ts were originally available in several different colors – blue, red, green and gray. From 1914 on, however, black was the only option, as Ford understood that this level of customization on the assembly line was inefficient and costly. Instead of giving all customers exactly what they want, he chose instead to provide a universal product to as many people as possible. In doing so, he was able to provide 15 million cars to consumers…

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Red Pill, Blue Pill… Can You Handle the Truth?


As James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the US, once quipped: “The truth will set you free; but first it will make you miserable.” Who wants to voluntarily be miserable? This is the reason people struggle to come to terms with the truth — even though in the long term it leads to growth and learning. I liken it to Neo’s choice of whether to take the Blue or Red Pill in this clip below from The Matrix. The Blue Pill will allow Neo to continue to live under the premise that all is well and good in the world, whereas the Red Pill will forever illuminate for him the truth, painful though it…

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OptiTrack: Another Step Towards Perfecting Personalization


Optimove already does an awesome job at customer targeting and campaign personalization, based on the extensive data available in the typical online company’s customer database. However, we are always looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns our software automates. So I am pleased to announce the next step of Optimove’s evolution: OptiTrack. In short, OptiTrack is an end-to-end system for tracking the activity of individual customers on websites and in mobile apps, and associating it with their existing database-stored behavioral records. Including this additional customer behavior data significantly enhances the scope of Optimove’s customer segmentation, personalized targeting effectiveness, and real-time capabilities. For businesses that do not already capture and store granular…

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Gamified Campaigns: Your Trump-Card for Outstanding Customer Marketing

Gamified Campaigns

Sometimes in life you have to give in order to get. In today’s highly competitive landscape, it is essential that businesses deepen the relationship they have with customers by continually offering them greater value than their competition. Successful gaming operators increasingly use gamification as a popular tactic for deepening customer loyalty and engagement. Until recently, however, only large gaming companies with extensive resources have been able to execute these campaigns. Optimove’s retention automation platform is the only system that now offers marketers from game operators and e-retailers the ability to plan, execute, and analyze innovative gamified campaigns on their own. So, what exactly is a gamified campaign? Ever receive a punch card from your favorite…

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A Tale of Two Traders: Forex vs. Binary Options

Forex vs Binary

While online Forex trading has been around a long time, Binary Options is like the new kid on the block. As the leading supplier of automated retention software for both industries, we were interested in uncovering any interesting insights that may shed light on the similarities and differences between them. These insights can help brokers improve their customer retention strategies, and perhaps to help brokers active in one field to decide whether or not to enter the other field. In order to better understand the differences between Forex traders and Binary Option traders, we asked our data scientists to take a break from their regular work and see what they could dig up for us….

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Data: The Modern Tribal Bonfire

Data: The Modern Tribal Bonfire

My Story I am founder and CEO of a successful software company built on big data technologies, yet I believe that making better decisions is not the biggest benefit of becoming data driven. When I initially started the company with my partner – who had just earned his Ph.D. in data mining – I didn’t even know exactly what data was all about. But I was looking to start a business and “big data” sounded like an interesting basis for a high-tech company. So we started meeting with corporations, crunching their customer data and presenting them with all kinds of insights which we hoped would be useful to them. I knew right away that we…

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Facebook Custom Audiences + Optimove = A Killer Retention Marketing Channel

Optimove + Facebook = Killer Retention Marketing

Can retention marketers use Facebook Custom Audiences to improve conversion and customer retention? The obvious answer is: Sure, why not? However, the technicalities involved have severely limited the use of Facebook Custom Audiences (FCAs) in practice. The goal is to be able to automatically create and modify Custom Audience lists according to granular, behavior-based customer micro-segmentation. This is an important step forward in transitioning the use of paid online advertising from being exclusively used for customer acquisition to making it an effective and measurable channel for customer retention. In this post, I will explore the challenges of using FCAs for retention marketing and discuss how, with the right approach and tools, you can make FCAs…

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Engage Your Seasonal Customers During Their Off-Season

Engage your seasonal customers during their off-season by discovering promising cross-product affinity correlations

Many types of online businesses have customers who tend to be active only during particular times of the year. Just a few examples are online retail stores (many customers use particular stores to shop only for particular types of seasonal products, mostly ignoring the store the rest of the year), sports betting sites (many customers are only active during the season in which their favorite sports are played) and travel sites (many customers tend to cluster their purchases during summer and/or winter vacation periods). In all these cases, an obvious opportunity presents itself: entice these customers to make different kinds of purchases during different times of the year. In addition to simply generating additional revenues…

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Discovering Valuable Churn Sub-segments

Discovering Valuable Churn Sub-segments

At Optimove, we’re always thinking about ways to better understand customers and their behavior. A big part of that is constantly being on the lookout for interesting customer segments and personas that have the potential to improve customer retention marketing. One customer lifecycle stage that we think about a lot in the world of online businesses (e-commerce, iGaming, social gaming, financial, etc.) is “Churn,” i.e., those customers who made at least one financial transaction (purchase, deposit, etc.), but who haven’t been back to the site for a while and their behavior data indicates that they are unlikely to return in the near future. The majority of paying customers in almost every online company’s customer database…

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How to Perform Customer Survival Analysis

Survival Analysis

Customer survival analysis, also known as retention rate analysis, is the application of statistical techniques to understand how long customers remain active before churning. The information generated by this analysis helps improve customer acquisition and retention activities. Survival analysis is always based on tracking a cohort of customers over time. Cohorts are unchanging groups (i.e., no new customers join a cohort once formed) who are tracked over time. The most common type of cohort is the group of people who became customers in a particular time frame, e.g., a particular date, the second week of the month of January, or the fourth quarter of the year. Two Survival Analysis Methods There are two primary methods…

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Beware the Giraffes in Your Data!


During the past few years, I’ve spent a lot of time working with marketing departments who spend much of their time analyzing data, conducting research and tracking performance metrics. They are always on the lookout for exciting new insights which can translate into action items and provide strategic advantage. Unfortunately, marketers and analysts often miss key opportunities to spot these insights – and even make the wrong decisions – because they fail to account for the “giraffe effect” in their data. Giraffes are what I call portions of data which dominate the rest of the data – and hide important insights. Sometimes they even lead to wrong conclusions. This can happen in different ways and…

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The iGaming Summertime Blues

Summer iGaming Decline

Many in the online gaming industry have the impression that the summer months are a slower period on their websites. The logical reasons include that lots of people take vacations, enjoy the longer days outside and spend more time with family and friends. We decided to have one of our data scientists research the matter to see if the data empirically supports the hypothesis that there is a statistically significant reduction in iGaming player activity during the summer months. Let’s cut to the chase: Do iGaming sites suffer reduced player activity in the summer months? You bet! The figures we obtained clearly support the initial hypothesis that the summer months are a weaker period for…

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Divide and Conquer for Killer Marketing Campaigns

Divide and Conquer for Killer Marketing Campaigns

At one time (not so long ago), most retention marketers would send the same marketing campaign to their entire customer list. Nowadays, most marketers understand well the value of segmenting their customers into groups and sending different offers to each group. As we’ve discussed in a previous post, sophisticated marketers and retention experts have discovered that identifying smaller, more homogenous groups enables far more targeted – and profitable – campaigns. The reason is clear: when each individual customer (or small groups of similar customers) receives a personalized and highly-relevant offer, there is much more chance that the message will resonate with them. When you tailor your messages and incentives so that they are the most…

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How to Optimize Your Affiliate Spend

Optimize Your Affiliate Spend

You’re spending a lot of money on acquiring traffic to your site from affiliates. The key to preventing over-spending on this traffic is to quickly determine the value of the customers arriving from each affiliate. The Conventional Approach Traditionally, operators collect data on customers from each affiliate channel over a period of weeks, months or even years to determine the average customer value delivered by each affiliate. This is a very costly approach, because during this lengthy measurement period, you are inevitably wasting a huge amount of money over-paying for customers from certain affiliates. The Modern Approach Recently-developed predictive customer modeling technologies are now able to accurately estimate the future lifetime value of new customers…

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The Right Way to Measure Retention Campaign Performance

The Right Way to Measure Retention Campaign Performance

In my last post, I detailed how to use control groups to treat every customer campaign as a marketing experiment. The goal of each experiment is to determine how much revenue is directly attributable to the campaign. We do this by calculating the monetary uplift evident after comparing the spending behavior of the test and control groups. Let’s revisit the example I used in my last post: a marketer selected 1,000 VIP customers for a campaign. The marketer actually sent the campaign to 900 of the customers (the test group) and did not send it to 100 of the selected customers (the control group). 20% of the test group customers (180) made a purchase (or…

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How to Treat Every Customer Campaign as a Marketing Experiment

Use Control Groups to Run Marketing Experiments

As a marketer or retention expert, you are spending plenty of time and money on your customer retention campaigns. This article will discuss how to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns – in monetary terms – in order to optimize future campaigns and maximize the revenues they generate. In other words, we’re going to explore how to treat every campaign as a “marketing experiment.” Many marketers use email open rates and click rates as their primary means of measuring campaign effectiveness. These metrics may provide important insight into brand strength and customer engagement, as well as aspects of the actual email campaign (e.g., the offer, the subject line and the template visuals). However, these metrics…

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Existing Customers versus New Customers: What’s Your Ideal Future Revenue Balance?

New vs Existing Customers

Will most of your future revenues come from existing customers or from new ones? This simple question is one that marketing analysts should consider carefully, because it can provide a unique perspective on the overall health of your business – and it can provide important input to long-term strategic planning. We asked ourselves this question regarding the many companies who rely on our software and expertise to plan and execute their customer marketing and retention efforts. What we found eventually led us to the conclusion that every business can gain important new insight into its strategic planning by investigating the expected source of its future revenues. Existing Customers versus New Customers: How to Make a…

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Customer Segmentation for Personalized Retention Marketing

This article takes a thorough, high-level look at how our iGaming and Forex clients perform customer segmentation to target their marketing efforts and thus increase spend and customer lifetime value. The strategies discussed here are applicable to any company or website with paying customers, with or without our software. In the old days, companies sent the same marketing campaigns to all of their customers. Later, marketers began to understand that even simple grouping of their customers allowed them to run more relevant, effective and profitable campaigns. More recently, sophisticated marketers and retention experts have discovered that applying the latest technologies to this challenge deliver far more targeted – and profitable – campaigns. The reason is…

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Online Casinos vs. Social Casino Games

Understanding the Differences between Online Casino Gamblers and Social Casino Game Players The explosive growth of the social gaming market – with 300 million active users per month at Facebook alone (source) – has put this domain on the radar of online casino operators interested in tapping into this trend. On the other hand, because only about 2% of social gamers are paying players, social gaming operators are looking towards the $30.3 billion online casino industry (source) to figure out how to better monetize their player base. In a sound bite: Social games have the reach, while online gambling has the money. We believe that there is extensive opportunity for these two domains to accelerate…

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Behavior-based Customer Segmentation for More Effective Retail Marketing

Retail marketers are constantly looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns. One way to do this is to target customers with the particular offers most likely to attract them back to the store and to spend more on their next visit. In other words, the marketer’s goal is to make the most relevant match between customer and offer. This article presents a highly-effective means of accomplishing this goal using shopping behavior-based customer segmentation. The Marketing Benefits of Customer Segmentation To get the most uplift from a marketing campaign, the campaign should be directed at the customers most likely to respond to it. By using customer segmentation to determine actionable “customer prototypes,” the…

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Maximize Customer Value by “Re-Incubating” your “Back from Churn” Customers

One of the foundations of our customer modeling technology is tracking the movements of customers among lifecycle stages over time. Years of experience has proven to us how valuable it is to compare current customers to others who have shared a similar pattern of lifecycle stage movements. In order to fully implement this approach, we monitor a lifecycle stage ignored by many marketers and analysts: the stage containing customers who have abandoned the business, and who later returned. We call this stage “Back from Churn” or “FromChurn” for short. Because our approach requires us to isolate this as a distinct lifecycle state, we have been able to glean fascinating insights into customer behavior that would…

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Improved Churn Prevention Driven by Human Behavior Modeling

Online casino operators generally launch retention efforts on a group of players when the activity levels of those players drop significantly. However, once a player has already reached the point of churning, promotional offers are often no longer effective. The obvious goal is to identify which players will churn before they actually do. Ideally, the operator will be able to make this determination even before the player himself realizes what he is going to do.   The Difficulty of Predicting Churn Churn prediction modeling techniques attempt to understand the precise customer behaviors and attributes which signal the risk and timing of customer churn. The accuracy of the technique used is obviously critical to the success…

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Proactive Customer Retention: The Next Growth Engine for Forex Sites

In any industry, customer retention starts with a great product and great customer service. Beyond these basic factors, which always encourage customers to return more frequently and spend more, marketers should also engage in “proactive retention” efforts. For example, offering relevant incentives and promotions to forex traders can dramatically increase trade volume and frequency. The key is successfully delivering the most relevant and effective offer to every trader, at the right time. Why engage in proactive retention efforts? Customer acquisition is very expensive and competitive, whereas people who have already made one or more deposits on your site represent low-hanging fruit for you to grow into long-term, high-volume traders. It is well-known that approximately 50%…

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