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The Betegy story: “With a click of a button, we enable marketing teams to create entire campaigns in just a few seconds”

George Miller

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The Betegy story: “With a click of a button, we enable marketing teams to create entire campaigns in just a few seconds”
Reading Time: 5 minutes

When it comes to the future of B2C marketing for sports betting and casino – personalisation and automation is going to be the name of the game. We caught up with Alex Kornilov, Founder and Managing Director of content and data specialists Betegy, to talk about his pioneering work in transforming the marketing operations for the likes of Parimatch, Sportsbet.io, ESPN and Yahoo Sports.

Congratulations on Betegy’s deal with Parimatch – can you take us through the agreement and what you’ll be doing for their teams?

It’s a relationship that has been in progress for some time, starting with us initially having a conversation about what we wanted to achieve. Parimatch was looking to optimise its offering to deliver a truly revolutionary style of marketing and this was something we were determined to deliver. Rather than being off-the-shelf, our discussions began with the premise of discovering the challenges Parimatch was facing and offering a bespoke solution.

Our Betegy product overcomes those pain points to engage their customers. Following the exploratory phase, we built a roadmap and a vision. It is vital that nothing is omitted at any stage, because all building blocks are essential in allowing us to create a unique product, vision and brand of the future –one that can truly resonate with players’ values.

With a click of a button, Parimatch’s marketing teams can now create compelling, personalised campaigns using Betegy’s proprietary automated content generation platform in a matter of seconds, rather than the old timeframe of two to three days.

Tell us about Betegy’s in-house technology – what was the development process behind it and how did you start out in 2012?

Back then, Betegy was working within data analytics and we had number-crunching algorithms that produced accurate predictions of football matches. We were coming up with predictions for media companies who wanted access to our feed, and this is how we ended up working with the likes of ESPN and Yahoo.

We subsequently realised that data and APIs were one thing, but that there was also a strong need for visualisation. From that starting point, we understood that we needed to create a variety of marketing tools out of that – including social, banners, landing pages and videos, for example – all driven by the APIs connected to our system. When we added odds to this mix, we realised that what we had produced could be very useful for betting operators.

Before we went live with sports betting in 2018, we had been working under the radar to help develop and hone our delivery with operator partners. This learning experience was invaluable as it allowed us to build the product in real time and only after two years of careful preparation, were we really ready to deploy with operators as a true product.

As well as the ‘revolutionary’ aspects mentioned for Parimatch, what other operators does Betegy work alongside? Does your delivery go beyond sports betting operators?

Every new client in our family benefits from our product and our growth strategy is based around continuous improvement. We work with various operators and each has their own unique pathway, allowing us to create a fully bespoke experience. Our online client Sportsbet.io has a very different strategy to German retail leader Tipico, for example.

We also work with casino products. It’s something we have been developing for a while behind the scenes but are only really starting to shout about just now. Out work with 22Bet is a great example of this – in many ways what we have created in this instance is a very similar style of visual generation, only in a new vertical, which shows that we are not simply all about sports betting.

On-air graphics, such as a Bloomberg-style trading experience from the world of finance, is also an area which we envisage as a major growth sector for us. Our platform is all about enhancing the visual experience and we believe that this is something we can certainly bring to the table for media companies in the future.

Looking globally and beyond Europe – what other key markets will you be targeting in the year ahead?

Our attention has already turned towards the Americas. This is definitely a big growth area for us with significant investment. It’s very different in scope to our home markets in Europe, which have proven to be highly valuable as learning grounds.

Asia is also a very interesting place for us, having worked closely with the China Sports Lottery previously. India as a market holds big potential too, which is understandable due to its sheer population size. When it comes to that all-famous national sport, cricket, there are some cracking creatives that can be produced to really make things look exciting. While LatAm is also on the horizon, we’re not there yet, Africa is interesting too – but we’re focusing on energies on other geographies first.

There’s a lot of talk about personalisation nowadays,but few companies aside from Betegy are bringing AI-based content personalisation to market. How do you see this changing through 2021 and beyond?  

Our product came about based on client feedback. It was built upon what is needed now and also, what will be required in the future. Naturally, we have a first-mover advantage and the more we publicise and grow, the more we know where the value creation lies going forward.

We expect competitors to arrive on the scene, but we are confident in our leadership within this sphere, in relation to the typical innovation and adoption curve. We are still three to five years of creation ahead of mass market adoption, so there is plenty of time to capture more market share. Given the expertise we’ve been able to deploy already, as well as the relationships we have built and the understanding we have forged in what engages customers, we are happy to welcome additional players on the field.

What’s the case for automated content personalisation being a true gamechanger aside form cost savings? What can it enable your partners to do beyond efficiency?

Automated content personalisation allows for specialisation – bonuses and big events, for example – which can then be segmented by country. Additionally, and more pertinently, it allows for the quick testing of what is effective and what is not, with improvements deployed immediately wherever needed. This allows us to constantly test with creative teams and analyse, together, in real-time to see the effects of certain campaigns, making the tweaks needed.

Tailor-made offers and conversion tools for every single customer also allows us to generate content based on individuals. Machine generated content is another very significant growth area, which I look forward to speaking plenty more about soon enough.

Last but not least, looking ahead at 2021, and especially with the Euros on the horizon, how do you see sports betting playing out this year?

Retail is likely to be open again as we get closer to summer, and this will be welcomed by players – especially those who value the social element of betting. I also expect plenty of co-operation between media and betting companies, working together for mutual benefit and engaging players.

Taking a wider look at the market, I expect popularity of football to drop slightly, just as we saw at the start of the pandemic. When we talk about the younger generation, football has less of a passionate following. This is partially due to a changing mentality, where content is all about swipe-and-scroll and bitesize chunks– quicker gratification for driving higher engagement, rather than sitting to watch a match for 90 minutes.

Other sports offer a far faster format that appeals to younger players. Esports for example, offers lightning-fast gameplay and results and younger generations love this speed and fast action. While football can seem sterile right now, being played out as it is in front of empty stadiums, esports offers interactivity and engagement. This is where betting comes into play, enhancing the overall experience.

Interviews

Exclusive Q&A with Andrey Vajdyuk, Head of Business Development for NetGame Entertainment

George Miller

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Exclusive Q&A with Andrey Vajdyuk, Head of Business Development for NetGame Entertainment
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

How has 2021 begun for NetGame Entertainment?

We’re incredibly pleased with how the year has begun as it’s seen us deliver on our key growth targets in Q1. Against the backdrop of an unforgettable 2020 for the industry, we worked tirelessly to set the perfect foundation and it’s allowed us to seamlessly focus on new jurisdictions, promotions, aggregator and platform partnerships.

Our creative games studio has been busy with several hugely popular releases that included the latest in our Book of Nile series and Fruit Cash Hold ‘N’ Link. Another milestone for the business since the turn of the year was the launch of crypto currency and it means we now work with all world currencies.

NetGame Entertainment’s creative studio continues to release a wave of successful slots, what makes these titles standout from the crowd?

Our creative team and studio is second-to-none and deserves all the plaudits for the positive reception of NetGame’s titles. The team has been curated over time and is perfectly positioned to drive the business forward through designing exceptional iGaming experiences.

Supporting the innovative thinking are outstanding graphics, fair and trusted math and a combination of interesting features that each help deliver the best experience to players. Particular attention is paid to our bonus games and multiplayer elements that both have positive impacts on player engagement and retention.

Engaging bonuses feature heavily within NetGame Entertainment’s slots, what impact do these have?

Bonuses add to the fun for players and make games more exciting as we constantly strive to make every user’s experience interesting and enjoyable. NetGame’s bonus games are synonymous with our brand and there are various levels to the in-game features. One component that players love that’s present in some of our titles is the option to buy different starting levels within the bonus game to give a greater chance of success.

We are proud of our Progressive Jackpot Series Game and these have really added to player engagement and therefore life-tme-value. Other NetGame features include Free Spins, Buy bonus feature, Gamble feature, Tumbling reels, Hold N’ Link, Pick’em Game, Fortune Wheel, Super Laser, Multiplayer Mode, Totalizer, Pay-any Symbol and Quick cash.

The Fishing Kingdom slot has a multiplayer element, is this something that NetGame Entertainment will introduce more?

Fishing Kingdom has been incredibly well received and the results have been beyond encouraging. The game has been beautifully designed, but the standout feature is the multiplayer element. Given the results thus far, we plan to develop these styles of games and there will be another three launched during the remainder of the year.

How do slot series, such as Book of Nile, perform when compared to standalone titles?

We’ve been thrilled with how warmly the public has taken to the Book of Nile series. Magic Choice launched in February as the third installment following Revenge and the Lost Chapter. The Egyptian series is packed full of fun features and builds a narrative across the three games that players have really engaged with. Book of Nile is one of our most volatile games and that really adds to the breathtaking experience on the reels. Our series games and standalone titles perform equally well with our partners and that’s thanks to the creative team’s commitment to fun, thrilling and rewarding experiences. The key for us is having a diverse library of games to suit all our partners’ demands.

What are your business expectations over the next 12 months?

The next 12 months promise plenty for NetGame Entertainment and we have high expectations on delivering on our action-packed roadmap. One core element of that strategy is that we’re close to obtaining our MGA license and you are the first publication we have shared this information with.

Later in the year we’ll also be revealing some more details on some major arrangements with big aggregators and operators. These significant deals will allow us to expand NetGame’s reach in the market and give more players the opportunity to fall in love with our proprietary titles.

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Interviews

Exclusive interview with Petra Maria Poola, Head of Business Development and Operations at OneTouch

George Miller

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Exclusive interview with Petra Maria Poola, Head of Business Development and Operations at OneTouch
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

We sat down with Petra Maria Poola, Head of Business Development and Operations at the mobile-first casino game developer OneTouch, to discuss how suppliers should adapt their products to the geographic regions which they are targeting.

Is content localisation a myth?

No – for those who get it right, it’s an invaluable acquisition and retention strategy. What do we mean when we talk about localised games? Put simply, it’s a title that’s tailored to a specific geographic audience.

And it takes a lot more than just changing the language to do that. From both a visual and technical perspective, adapting your content to individual target markets can do wonders for engagement.

For example, there are obviously still places lacking in internet coverage, particularly in growth regions such as Latin America. For suppliers trying to enter those territories, that makes it all the more important to ensure that your games don’t take up too much storage, and can be easily downloaded by those with an older smartphone model or a slower internet connection.

Do you localise your games? If so, how? And which regions are they tailored to?

Here at OneTouch, we think it’s all about striking the right balance between creating international hits with cross-cultural appeal, while also producing content for specific local audiences.

Our recent release, Ganbaruto Battle, draws inspiration from the great Japanese tradition of sumo-wrestling. It features a renowned Estonian wrestler called Baruto Kaito, so its appeal is likely to include, without being limited to, players from that country.

Equally, classic casino themes such as Ancient Egypt and Vegas-style fruit symbols often generate global popularity. Our timeless slot title, Forgotten Pharaoh, has achieved tremendous and widespread success by drawing on the former theme.

One might expect that our basketball-based slot MVP Hoops performs especially well in markets where that sport is popular, but it’s actually proved a hit in regions where basketball is not generally followed by the wider population.
Finally, we expect our upcoming title Live Crash to reach a transnational audience, because it is a crash-style title similar to those enjoyed in the crypto-gambling space – which is rapidly gaining followers from around the world.

We research every market diligently to understand what its players want in precise detail. Localisation has proved a successful strategy for OneTouch!

Are there any aspects of game development which are internationally uniform, and do not vary based on where you are in the world?

Some aspects of content development require more localisation than others. Failing to geographically adapt your game from a visual perspective might mean that customers might not want to play it. Failing to do so from a technical perspective, meanwhile, could mean that they are not able to play it.

However, there are other stages of the game development process which are not subject to regional variation. With the exception of a game’s volatility, mechanics do not tend to vary all that much on the basis of geography, unlike technical and visual effects.

Similarly, sometimes localisation isn’t just about adapting to cultural or infrastructural differences, it’s simply a case of knowing the ratio of land-based to online players within the market you are targeting. It’s all about creating an enjoyable entertainment experience for the end user by paying heed to their specific cultural context. Get that right, and you could be onto a winner.

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Cryptocurrency

‘What is the role of social media within real-money gaming, and how will this change in the years to come?’

George Miller

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'What is the role of social media within real-money gaming, and how will this change in the years to come?'
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

We sat down with Tom Leadbetter, Head of Marketing at multiplayer casino game developer FunFair Games, to discuss the increasingly important role played by social media within the modern-day gambling industry.

The casino industry’s use of social media is fundamentally outdated. Specifically, the world of iGaming has yet to understand the true value of community engagement.

The crypto space, by contrast, has long been ahead of the curve. That includes crypto-gambling, which places community at the heart of its acquisition strategy. Yes, many in the real-money gaming sector post about their activity, but that’s rarely followed up with a conversation.

That’s why FunFair Games uses social media to start a two-way dialogue with its community, stimulating discussions on platforms such as Discord, Reddit and Telegram, as well as more conventional social channels like Twitter, where we’ve got more than 35,000 followers.

I doubt there are many companies in the real-money space who use Reddit, but we’re proud to call ourselves pioneers in the gambling industry’s use of social media. And with a current membership count of nearly 17,000, as well as 72,000 page views in January alone, we’ve found the platform to be a fantastic engagement tool.

Keeping your community engaged takes more than just emailing a newsletter without response. We live stream our games at the prototype stage, and ask for community feedback on the names of the characters found in our titles.

In that regard, social media is a great way to garner instant feedback on your content. The crypto index is much younger, boasting a higher level of popularity among Gen Y and Z players than the mainstream casino sector.

Crypto is therefore a useful predictor of things to come. If the emerging generation of player wants more community-driven experiences, it’s likely that social media will prove key to the gambling industry’s future.

There’s a tendency for the real-money sector to fear community engagement. In some ways, that’s understandable: scroll through Twitter these days, and most of the stories you find about gambling tend to be negative.

That negativity, though, stems from a lack of trust. That’s a word you wouldn’t normally associate with the world of gambling, but social engagement allows you to cultivate it. Most of the feedback we get is positive, but our community often flags potential problems too. We don’t shy away from spirited discussions and debates with them – it’s not that everyone agrees, but that everyone cares.

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