Online gambling is one of the most competitive markets in the world. Even though the number of players runs into the millions worldwide, there is still a tremendous amount of money invested by the online sites to win a slice of the action.
There are thousands of online gambling sites, from casinos and sportsbooks to poker and bingo platforms, and it’s quite common for a gambler to be a member of many of them at once.
But how does the player come to make his choice of an online casino? It can’t be down to blind luck. The answer is a combination of good, old-fashioned marketing, individual player research, loyalty, and personal recommendation.
First up is the plethora of online communities related to gambling. Here, players might read reviews of betting and casino sites to see which might suit their preference. For example, some gamblers prefer online casinos with more of an emphasis on online slots. Review sites help because the good ones will only deal with licensed casinos, protecting players by ensuring they are fair and securely treat personal and financial data.
One of the most significant factors for a player looking to join a new casino is search engines. It’s why gambling companies usually invest heavily in casino SEO – a way to make sure their sites appear higher in the Google search rankings than their competitors. So, when the gambler types in something like “best online casinos” into Google, he is more likely to click on and join one of the results close to the top of the first page.
Another factor that will sway gamblers is brand loyalty and recognition. The old gambler in markets like the UK, for instance, will have used High Street bookies to place sports bets for years. All of these, such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, and Coral, now have online sportsbook operations together with online casino sites. The brick and mortar customer might sign up online simply because they trust the brand from a live experience.
A personal recommendation from friends is a significant positive when it comes to selecting new online gambling destinations. Friends will chat about their gaming experiences, and it’s common for one’s curiosity about a pal’s preferred platform to get too much.
There can be no doubt that the biggest influencing factor of all for gambling destinations is marketing. Online gambling companies will employ all the channels available to them to introduce their products to new customers, often with tempting sign-up promotional offers. Every trick in the digital and traditional marketing book will be employed.
We’ve already seen how players will be exposed to SEM (search engine marketing) without realizing it. There will also be pay per click ads online, banner advertising, television advertising, big sporting sponsorships (notice how so many gambling companies sponsor sport teams?), and influencer marketing.
A significant area that massively boosts the number of clicks an online site will receive comes from affiliate marketing. All those review sites and news portals we mentioned earlier will likely have affiliate deals with multiple online casinos, sportsbooks, bingo, and poker sites.
The affiliate sites then do the job of promoting gambling companies. When one of their readers clicks through to a gambling site and joins up, playing for real money, the affiliate site makes money in the form of shared revenue or a one-off acquisition fee. To be successful, affiliates have to provide interesting and useful content for players, so it’s a win-win situation for all.
You can see this all in action for yourself by heading over to a search engine like Google and typing in an online gambling-related keyword to see what comes up. Let’s say we try ‘fun online slot games’, which, after all, is something a potential customer might well do. Up comes the list of affiliate sites as long as your arm. So, that’s why so many online gamblers end up playing on a particular casino site – because they were recommended by an affiliate portal.
Of course, the gambling sites’ main objective now is to keep the player happy and on-site with some sort of loyalty program and laying on the best games. Gamblers want a top selection of slots, table games, and live dealer action, where blackjack, roulette, James Bond favorite baccarat, and more are played with a real dealer.
Otherwise, the player will be off again, looking for the next best online gambling site to join. And the whole process starts again.