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[UPDATE]: COVID-19’s Impact on Online Gaming: Cross-Selling is Key

Part 2: With no major sports to bet on, our analysts have found the right cross-sell. For now. Read, try it out, and adapt

The gaming industry is less vulnerable to the kind of crisis that makes people stay at home. Still, in this unstable, turbulent new reality, we are seeing a lot of changes in this segment too.

Last week we spoke about the early trends we saw since the lockdown in Italy started, mostly around the decline in sports betting – a direct result of the fact almost all major sports around the world have been canceled or postponed.

But, since people still want to play something, the next best thing to ask right now is: what’s the right cross-sell?

Why should we focus on other products?

For companies centered around sports betting – and even multi-product, but sport-oriented companies – the results have been both tragic and complicated. As we enter arguably the darkest hour of sport, with almost zero games, online gaming companies search for the right solution to retain and engage their players.

In darkness and times of uncertainty, we turn to data. Granular, in-depth, and clever analyses will allow operators to develop evidence-based strategies to tackle the most challenging objective: Cross-Sell.

Is it possible to cross-sell these days? Is it worth it
(yes and yes)

All online sport betting companies have seen a decline, no exception. The number of players dropped dramatically, and the churn rates are already increasing, as it is much harder to retain players these days.

In the analysis below, based on 20 different multi-product gaming operators in Europe in the past weeks, we can see the decrease in number of unique depositors, compared to the period average:

Average depositors went down in the past week by a whopping 24%. And could it be that the lack of sport events and the current unusual and complicated situation, impact casino players as well? The analysis below presents the number of depositors compare the period average based on their product preference:

So yes, as we expected, the most significant impact occurred for sport preference players, yet, a decrease in the number of depositors also occurred for players who prefer casino as well. To make it clear – 100% of the examined operators, experienced a reduction of casino players in the past week, compare to its period average.

While observing the graph above, we might ask whether it is worthy of crossing players to casino games now? Will we be able to retain these players? To answer this question, we needed to analyze the retention rate of players, week by week, since players who played during the first week after lockdown, might have different traits compare to players who played before.

From the graphs above, we can conclude that sport players retention rate doesn’t get any better as we go deeper into this chaotic period. On the other hand, casino players who played lately have a 28% higher retention rate.

Another exciting and encouraging fact to see is that even ‘mostly sport’ preference players had a higher retention rate compared to previous weeks.

In other words, while we can now see a lower number of casino players, the ones who do play, remain playing.

So, what is different between the “old” casino player to the current one? How could it be that their traits have changed, and can we use it for better communication?

The bar chart below presents the distribution of casino players, before and after we entered the COVID-19 period.

This chart may help understanding the differences between previous and current casino players. Most of the casino players (before and after) are former casino players, but now we can see a significant increase in the number of sports bettors (only) who suddenly showed an interest in casino games (87% increase period over period).

Indeed, it seems safe to say that cross-selling is valuable and possible. As we want to understand the behavior of these sport preference players who migrated to online casino, we investigated the specific games they played.

This kind of examination allows us to understand what the most suitable communication with sport players can be, in case we would like to introduce them to a different product.

In the pie charts below, we can see each casino game players distribution by activity.

When looking at each game independently, we can see that live casino games contains a higher portion of sport migrated players. In fact, these players’ distribution is 2.6 times higher than to slots (the numeral number is different between brands, meaning it could be that the portion is higher, but the amount in total is lower).

When exploring several games, we can see the below differences:

It appears that sport players attracted less to slots and are more related to table games (live or regular). This information can now assist when trying to encourage sport players to play other games.

Main Takeaways

To conclude, cross-selling is super relevant for gaming these days, as many players want to play, even in the absence of sport events. Cross-selling is a great way to keep your engagement with players. But in order to do it properly, we must go really deep into behavior trends, and translate it into marketing tactics.

Here, we were able to find data that you can now base cross-selling cmapaigns on.

But analyzing this data on a weekly basis, especially when we are all now walking in uncharted territory, is also a must.

Good luck.

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Omer Liss

Omer Liss is Optimove's Director of Strategic Services, helping CRM executives of top online entertainment and e-commerce businesses optimize their customer retention strategy. Omer has vast experience consulting clients, analyzing their customer data and revealing actionable, data-driven marketing insights. Omer holds a BSc in Industrial Engineering and Management, specializing in Information Systems.

Shaked Mosseri

Shaked is a data Analyst, serving on Optimove's Strategic Services team. Shaked excels at identifying valuable trends and insights through the analysis of customer and campaign data for retail and gaming clients.