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In real-money games, some players make their first deposit immediately upon registering, while others can take weeks or even months before depositing any money. What impact does this period—the length of time until their first deposit—have on the player’s subsequent lifecycle and spend patterns? Does it impact the amount of money they ultimately deposit or the frequency of their deposits? Does it make a difference to their retention? And if the answer to any of these questions is yes, how can marketers use this information to engage players more effectively?
We set out to answer these questions by studying data taken during a recent 12-month period from 20 real-money gaming (RMG) operators in a range of game types, including casino, bingo, and sports betting. We divided the players into three main groups: bold players (those who deposited money the same day as they registered), hesitant players (those who deposited within a week of registration), and very hesitant players (those who deposited more than a week after registering). Within these three player personas, we examined the behavior of both one-time depositors (OTDs) and multiple-time depositors, since the latter would be more likely to reflect a pattern of behavior over time.
Our research found that, across all the game types we looked at, 59% of iGaming players are bold, 16% are hesitant, and 25% are very hesitant.
Relative Number of Bold, Hesitant and Very Hesitant RMG Players
We started out by comparing the deposit behaviors of these three iGaming player personas, and found that bolder players exhibit both higher deposit amounts and greater numbers of deposits. For instance, over their player lifetime, bold players make, on average, 13% more deposits than hesitant players and 22% more than very hesitant players. At the same time, their deposits are, on average, 26% larger than hesitant players’ deposits and 32% larger than very hesitant players’, as shown in the following chart:
Our research also found that a player with a “bolder” playing position—whether comparing a bold player to a hesitant one, or a hesitant player to a very hesitant one—is more likely to become a VIP. As seen in the following chart, bold players are 21% more likely to become a VIP than hesitant players, and 25% more likely than very hesitant players. (There are many ways to define who is a VIP player; for the sake of simplicity, we defined VIP customers as the top 15% in terms of total deposit amounts.)
It should come as no surprise that bold players deposit more money than more hesitant ones. After all, they are quicker to pull the trigger in making a first deposit and it is only natural that they would also be more aggressive in the amount and frequency of their subsequent deposits. But do they maintain their deposit rates as long as their more hesitant counterparts? We decided to find out, by analyzing the survival rate of each player persona. (We defined the survival rate as the percentage of users still actively playing the game a certain period of time after making their first deposit.)
Our research found that the more hesitant the player, initially, the longer they survive. The following chart of multi-depositors (players who made more than one deposit) shows that the one-month survival rate for very hesitant players was 74%, which was about 9.5% higher than that of hesitant players, and 20.3% higher than that of bold players. The survival rate of multi-depositors two months after their initial deposit was also highest among very hesitant players, at 49%.
Survival Rates of Multi-Depositors
Survival rates of OTDs reflect a pattern similar to that of multiple depositors, although the rates are lower overall. As seen in the following chart, the one-month survival rate is 33% for very hesitant players, 23% for hesitant players, and 15% for bold players. Survival rates of OTDs after two months are 21% for very hesitant players, 14% for hesitant players, and 9% for bold players.
Survival Rates of One-Time Depositors
Our research found that while bold players are initially worth more than the more hesitant players, they also have a tendency to quit playing much more quickly. However, their survival rates increase if they’re able to make it through their first month. Therefore, marketers should consider targeting these bold players with campaigns that keep them playing long enough to give them a better chance of sticking around for the long term. Another benefit of getting bold players past the one-month milestone is the promise of growing the overall pool of potential VIP players, since bold players are more than twice as likely as other types of players to become VIPs.
In contrast, hesitant players and very hesitant players might contribute less revenue at the beginning of their lifecycle, but they compensate for their initial hesitancy with longer survival rates and steadier revenue over time. Marketers should initially focus on nurturing relationships with these players without pressuring them to deposit before they are ready, or they’ll risk losing them as customers completely. However, once they begin depositing, marketers should serve them with special offers and promotions that encourage them to do so more frequently and in larger amounts.
The length of time that it takes for real-money players to make their first deposit is one significant indicator of their future behaviors. While there may be other indicators which counteract this observed correlation, marketers should pay attention to the time-to-first-deposit factor and the impact on player behavior that it may indicate.