Delasport: Is your sports betting operation ready for the 2022 World Cup?

Sports betting tech solutions provider Delasport looks ahead to the 2022 World Cup and shares some useful insights on how to acquire new recreational bettors, while retaining them throughout the tournament and beyond.

To say that the world cup is a major sporting event would be an understatement. More than 3.5 billion people (or about half of the world’s population) watched the competition in 2018, with a staggering 1.1 billion people watching the final match. 

In terms of global betting turnover, FIFA reported an estimated 136 billion Euros were wagered, with a 2.1 billion Euro average per match, and 7.2 billion Euro for the final.

This year things will be a little different as the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be taking place in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December, making it the first time that the event will be held in the northern hemisphere’s winter months to avoid the scorching temperatures of the Middle East. 

As the hype machine begins to gear up, operators are now faced with several unique challenges and opportunities to leverage the incredibly high traffic periods and maximize player acquisition, engagement, retention at all stages of the competition.  

Not a typical world cup

The first World Cup to be staged in the Middle East will be held in Qatar (time zone: +3 GMT) in 2022. It won’t last a month as normal; it will last merely 28 days. The greatest obstacle, though, will likely be because it will take place in November, therefore interrupting national leagues.  Operators won’t have much breathing room between events because the last Premier League games before the World Cup are scheduled for November 12–13 and the opening World Cup game is scheduled for November 21.

With all the above to consider, operators can expect to see a more casual and wide-reaching player base during the tournament, with many new and reactivating players becoming available for acquisition. It’s also expected that a large chunk of these will churn after the tournament and most of them will most likely only wager on their home team.

Sportsbooks that run during the World Cup for the first time will mostly make the effort to attract new recreational bettors and strive to retain them during and after. They will also strive to retain existing bettors by incentivising them with special offers, using data to personalize and localize the betting experience. Matured Sportsbooks can use historical data to engage with their loyal bettors according to their previous World Cup actions. 

Before the competition

The months leading up to the World Cup are especially important for operators as it gives them the chance to hit the ground running for when the first kick-off whistle finally blows. As an operator, building your player base is the top priority ahead of the world cup competition, especially with new and reactivated bettors. Of course, the aim is to convert them into high lifetime value players. Some other things to keep in mind are:

  • Casual players may have a low lifetime value, but can make up revenue in sheer numbers
  • Start early. It’s crucial to have a strong pre-match with a broad market offering. Turnover is always higher on the pre-match side when it comes to high-profile events or matches. And, this makes sense when promoting a multi-month window for major events, when bookies strongly promote the pre-match offering rather than the live window, which is only open for match duration.
  • Put together robust reactivation plans to bring back as many players as possible
  • Reach out to previous years’ casual players with special offers
  • Begin your marketing campaign up to six months in advance to gain traction, both with players and search engines
  • Reactivated players are likely to be casual players from prior major tournaments, or, when the World Cup is hosted in the summer, players whose national leagues have already completed their seasons. Just like with new players, a large pool of prospective reactivated players will be available
  • During special events, VIP players are likely to spend more, bet more and make higher deposits. Special attention is required to monitor and stop players from overdoing it.
  • Crucially, operators must ensure the stability and the scalability of their sportsbook platform, and that all their cross-selling strategies are where they should be. 

During the competition

The games have begun – and so has the competition between operators. All of them will be working overtime to make sure that their offerings are as optimized as possible to get the right content in front of the right players. As well as incorporating elements from the runup campaigns, operators must:

Fine-tune engagement with personalized content – Including tailored offers, dynamic messaging, loyalty campaigns and incentives. Operators that ran during the previous competitions can tune successful offerings and localize them to bettors’ favorite players and country of origin. 

Add gamification elements – there are going to be more casual players in the mix, gamification elements are likely to be powerful retention tools for them. By incorporating features such as missions, tournaments and other mini games, an extra level of entertainment can be added.

Employ intelligent localization – players are highly likely to place bets on their own national teams, so your marketing activities must align accordingly. For instance, if Brazil was playing Germany, focus your promotions on those two countries. Just remember to have contingency plans in place for when one of those two teams loses. You can have special consolation offers to bettors of the losing nationality, such as free bets on the next game to keep them engaged.

Have tech teams on standby – make sure your provider has staff ready to handle any problems within the betting ecosystem. Imagine that you experience technical problems, or your sportsbook doesn’t function as intended during peak times. Bettors who find it difficult to bet on their games for any reason will quickly leave and will be unlikely to come back if they miss out on the action at any time.

Facilitate more betting opportunities – the stacking of matches, which allows participants to gamble on three or more events per match day, is a crucial aspect of large tournaments. Consider that the World Cup this year has a shorter schedule, which implies that several games will be played simultaneously.

Fill the gaps – bookmakers must target the spaces between the events themselves to properly provide a full World Cup offering, especially by utilizing the regional markets provided by player props, special bets and stats betting.

Cross-sell – with so many active players at once, it’s never been a better time to cross-sell products and services to those who are not currently betting on a game. If you have a casino product as well, send them an invite to play a few spins with special bonuses while they wait. A lot of casino players bet recreationally on sports, and usually when their favorite sport player or national team are playing. Casino brands that do not have sports at all are risking losing these players, as they may move to competitors that provide sport and may never come back.

After the competition has ended

Even though the games may be over, it doesn’t mean that it’s time to move on. The World Cup is a fantastic introduction to any betting site offering a great product, so you’re going to want to hang on to as many of those players as possible.

It’s likely that many of the bettors visiting your operation during the world cup will churn, so it’s certainly worthwhile to present them with special incentives and offers to stay in your ecosystem after the main event is over with. Let them know about other tournaments that are going on, or which ones are just around the corner. Casual players are not likely to be too interested in other events, but you can create a logical bridge between the international tournament and their local ones. 

The English Premier League will be happening hot off the heels of the World Cup with just an eight-day gap. Create campaigns and offers to keep them interested.

Marketing matters

Having a fantastic sportsbook offering is only half the battle – ensuring that players know about it is just as important. Your marketing efforts will play a large part of this, and with the World Cup around the corner, it’s crucial to get your messaging on point. 

Start early

With so many competitors out there, it’s important to get your foot in the door before they start their campaigns. This is especially important for SEO reasons as you will be able to build more authority with Google’s algorithm. However, it’s never a bad idea to get your name in the minds of global football fans well in advance. Do countdowns, generate content around the leagues and make a real effort to show that your operation is the one to choose.

Be patient

Nowadays, there are a ton of different ways to market, especially online. Some take more time, while others need more money. Planning ahead and determining what works and what doesn’t for each case in a reasonable amount of time is the best approach. The gaming audience is becoming more specialized and diversified by the day, meaning that you’re really going to have to work hard for your results.

Plan for the long term

Starting early and having patience for results means that you’re going to need to plan your entire marketing campaign to last up to six months. And, of course, this means having your marketing people stay on the case, with the appropriate budget to keep the fires burning. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to set aside huge budgets as digital marketing lets you organize spend in efficient ways. 

You’ll need SEO and PPC

Organic and paid traffic are two sides of the same coin. To get the most from your digital marketing and to have the best chance of owning some space in search results you’ll need to use both. While SEO will bring in organic traffic, PPC will give you the edge you need. Bear in mind that improving organic rankings will take months, whereas PPC can be instant – but far more expensive.

Respect the creative

Strategy and budget are one thing, but execution can turn a good campaign into a great one. Make sure that you have some great creatives in place, either through your in-house marketing team or freelancers. Create exciting video content, engaging social media posts, striking images and let your brand and passion shine.

Is your sportsbook up to scratch?

The quality of your sportsbook needs to be top-notch ahead of the leagues, and with Delasport you can get the very best. Running a casino brand and don’t have a sportsbook yet? You are risking losing your casino players who like to bet recreationally on the World Cup. With Delasport’s sportsbook Plug & Play iFrame you can get all the benefits of adding a sports product to your brand, without having to build it yourself. Secure the highest margin with access to one of the industry’s most powerful sportsbooks in the industry, boosted by experienced traders and full features stack, including unique player engagement tools. And, with so many casual players entering the fray, our gamification features that include missions, tournaments and various mini games will add an extra level of entertainment.

For more on our sportsbook, visit us at https://www.delasport.com/sportsbook-solution/.

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