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World Cup Player Behavior: “Oh Yeah” to Mobile and Live Betting

The 2022 FIFA World Cup represents a huge opportunity for operators and marketing teams. To maximize value, it's critical to understand what makes different types of players tick. In the latest in our World Cup Prep series, we continue to crunch the numbers. This time, we look at what you should expect from these much-anticipated matchups: pre-match vs. In-play and web vs. mobile

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We’ll just come out and say it: we want you to win big at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.  

To that end, around 12 weeks before the first kick, we’re ramping up our World Cup Prep series, where we break down player behavior and betting patterns around major events. In case you missed it so far, we have discussed the following:

So next, we dove into a deep pool of player behavior data once more. What can we say, it’s hot and we love to swim in data. It was collected during last year’s Covid-postponed Euro 2021 and consists of some 8 million players. We chose to focus on two main factors this time which, if played right, can help you score big this tournament:

  • Pre-match and live betting around the event
  • Web and Mobile betting around the event

We expected to find more players using mobile, compared to web, and at an increasing frequency during a big event. We assumed we’d see more live bets during these events. But you know what they say about people who assume, don’t you? Let’s look at the figures:

Takeaway #1: mobile is hugely dominant during big events, but web holds its ground

First thing’s first, do players prefer mobile betting to web? Where should you expect to find them during the event?

Our data shows that a vastly more significant chunk of football bettors choose to bet via mobile during national leagues (we regularly see an 85-15 split in favor of mobile) and Euro 2021 did not affect that breakdown. To be fair to mobile, there’s little room for growth.

While mobile betting is easier, quicker, and on-hand, some players still prefer the web version, which could be perceived as more trustworthy early on.

It’s interesting to point out that during Euro 2021, only 10% of football bettors made both mobile and web bets. That means that most of your players pick a lane. When you realize their lane, whether mobile or web, you should be able to focus on communicating personalized betting promotions that should be right up their alley. Next, add that attribution to your audience segmentation, and you’re already a step closer to true personalization at scale for your players. 

Takeaway #2: deposit amount hikes more drastically on mobile

Unsurprisingly, total amounts deposited spike during a mega event like the FIFA World Cup. With all the excitement, global interest, and the flood of casual players, that makes complete sense. But the increase in mobile, which is the real driver of that overall growth, is more significant than the one on web.

For example, on average, during last year’s Euro 2021, the total bet amount rose by 137%. As we mentioned, mobile bets are responsible for most of that spike. When we looked at mobile average deposit amount, it grew by 142% compared to 117% on the web. Now that you know that mobile betting is worth more than others, it’s time to tweak your strategy to encourage more activity on that channel and reap the rewards.

Takeaway #3: live bets are worth more

For operators, like players, there are advantages and disadvantages to pre-match and in-play betting.

Pre-match bets are placed on an event before it has started. For example, betting on Real Madrid taking on Barcelona in the Spanish La Liga before the match begins. As the odds fluctuate less pre-match, players have more time to research and decide calmly.

Live betting, also known as in-play betting, happens when players place a bet on a match as it happens. To each their own. 

So once again, we dove into those millions of player touchpoints and came back with a result:

The average live bet amount per player is higher than the average pre-match bet amount per player during big events. This means it could be worth considering investing more in live betting promotions and gamification that could encourage more live betting.

Additionally, the average NGR per player for those with at least one live bet is 12.8 times higher than that of players with no live bets.

On the other hand, you can count on a certain regularity regarding pre-match bets, with over 90% of football bettors depositing on at least one pre-match bet around and during Euro21.

There’s till time to fine tune your World Cup marketing strategy

With this written piece, you gain another World Cup marketing puzzle piece. Even if your marketing strategy is already in place, you can still use these insights to fine-tune in the run-up to the event. Of course, those on their own aren’t going to cut it. You’d still have to practice what we preach daily and explained in detail in our previous World Cup posts: To segment your audience correctly and employ personalization at a scale, understand first-time players, how betting patterns change during a big event, and more.

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Guy Leshno

Guy Leshno, a seasoned PR and Communications professional, with a successful track record in leading PR strategies and projects in emerging startups. With over a decade of experience, his expertise lies in blending creative ideation, analytics, and expert writing capabilities, driving brand awareness, and improving sales.

Roni Sfadya

Roni is a Marketing Research Analyst serving on Optimove's Professional Services team. As the Marketing Research Analyst, Roni specializes in gathering actionable marketing insights through research and analysis of customer data for retail and gaming clients. Roni holds a dual degree in Psychology and Business from Reichman University (IDC Herzliya).