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.
How level five AI can help operators superscale efficiency and profitability in 2023
With Markor Technology recently partnering with Ibex.ai to strengthen the range of solutions it can supply to partners, we sat down with Thomas Aigner and Melissa Summerfield to discuss the benefits the tool offers CRM teams and the impacts of AI and machine learning in the wider iGaming industry
Before we get into how Markor will utilise Ibex.ai to strengthen its client offering, can you tell us a bit more about the company’s core concept and how it differs from other rule-based AI systems?
TA: When Ibex was started, our core focus was to really look at each player individually and come up with ways to maximise their lifetime value. We weren’t happy with the level of personalisation and automation that existing technology could deliver, so we set about re-thinking the process of a CRM campaign from the bottom up. With the machine learning models that Ibex utilises, it’s able to create a full profit/loss calculation for individual players that takes into account everything from the payment method they use to the costs of sending a bonus via SMS or email. From these calculations, the system is able to implement the action that has the highest impact for each player while also learning and optimising its models based on the previous outcomes. In this respect, Ibex differs from some of the more traditional, rule-based systems – where CRM teams usually still have to build a customer journey to trigger their desired action – as it provides a true level of automation by constantly A/B testing its approaches and evaluating their performance without the need for manual prompting from the user.
Last year, Ibex.ai was involved in a ground-breaking trial where it was pitted against a human CRM team and delivered some pretty convincing results – what factors helped contribute to its success?
TA: Over the course of that study, Ibex delivered a 20% increase in NGR and a 17% decrease in bonus spend when tested against what a human CRM team was doing. One of the keys to this success was the fact that our technology doesn’t need to create and target customer segments in the way that a traditional CRM team does. Instead, we looked to fundamentally overhaul the approach taken by CRM teams and place a greater emphasis on targeting each individual player, meaning that the bonuses Ibex offers are 100% personalised. Additionally, Ibex can look at how each player reacts to its offers and use this data to automatically decide and trigger the next best action specifically for them. This is known as level five automation and means it can build optimal models by itself, with CRM teams then being able to look at its choices, understand the actions and use them to come up with new campaigns.
Another perk of Ibex’s approach is that the system is able to quickly identify bonus abusers, who obviously have a big impact on a CRM team’s overall profit/loss figures during each campaign. Whereas manually rooting out bonus abusers and segmenting them accordingly is a costly and time-consuming process, Ibex’s personalised, player-by-player approach means the technology can easily spot signs of bonus abuse and decide that the best action in these cases is often not to issue any offer.
The increased use of AI in traditionally human operations is something of a hot topic at the moment – is Ibex.ai intended to replace CRM teams entirely or merely supplement what they currently do?
TA: This is a really important question and one we get asked a lot because of the high level of automation Ibex can deliver. Our AI is not at all intended to replace CRM teams or take away human jobs, but rather to enhance their current capabilities by removing some of the day-to-day legwork. This gives them more time to focus on building creative campaigns and optimising their overall strategy, which can in turn help them increase profits without taking on further costs. With this in mind, CRM teams shouldn’t be fearful about AI replacing them, but should instead be experimenting with it and learning its capabilities so they can better understand how to work alongside it in future.
How will automated technology such as Ibex.ai enable online operators to better structure their CRM teams going forward and will it allow for a more efficient distribution of resources in future?
TA: We’re already starting to see this with our current partners. By using an AI like Ibex, it’s possible to take some of the manual legwork out of the CRM process – i.e. defining a target group and then scheduling/executing a campaign – which in turn gives executives more time to focus on the creative side of things and how they refine their top-level strategy. One of the important things to remember about Ibex is that it’s not a content generating AI, but rather one takes all of the templates and bonuses that are already in place and combines them to get the most optimal results. As such, removing a lot of the manual admin can give CRM more freedom to focus on creating better content.
From Markor Technology’s point of view, how does partnering with highly-specialised companies such as Ibex.ai enable you to enhance the service that you’re currently able to offer your partners?
MS: Markor has always been focused on providing innovative solutions for our clients – and one of the value propositions that we pride ourselves on is that our iGaming technology is powered by AI and machine learning. The role of this technology is to make people’s lives easier, so by onboarding specialised partners such as Ibex, we can automate more, decrease human error and track data so it can drive informed, real-time business decisions. By streamlining operations in this way, we save our clients’ time so they can focus more on high level topics such as branding and business development.
Can you tell us a little bit about some of the advantages that Ibex.ai gives to your online casino partners and how the technology has been incorporated into your current PAM platform offering?
MS: One of the main benefits that Ibex has delivered for us is that it intelligently targets customers and increases their lifetime value – two things that have already been backed up by the company’s reports. By constantly A/B testing its actions and learning from the results, Ibex is able to consistently choose the optimal offer or reward based on the projected value of each player, meaning once a network of campaigns has been set up, CRM teams will be free to focus on their overall user strategy.
ALTENAR: OUTSTANDING 2022 PROVIDES SPRINGBOARD TO 2023
Last year proved to be a breakthrough one for Altenar. Growth in all parts of the business has epitomised the incredible work that continues at the world-leading sportsbook provider.
With the keys to success being attributed to a number of different factors, we sat down with Altenar’s Sales Manager, Alejandro Cazorla, to discuss why 2022 was such a landmark year for the business and what 2023 could hold. Read on to find out more…
To kick things off – Altenar had an outstanding 2022, can you talk us through last year’s highlights?
2022 was an amazing year. Our achievements came through hard work, staying dynamic, employing a growing team, overcoming challenges, and keeping the quality in everything we do.
An example of this is experiencing company-wide certification, new office spaces and global regions. With new clients and new hires, Altenar grew the company (employees) by 38% throughout the year, increasing sales by 70% at the same time, and a 75% increase in new users on our platforms. This was all achieved alongside launching new features and products.
What do you believe has been key to 2022’s success?
Our people! It’s undeniable that the results we’ve experienced have been the direct measure of their dedication, not only to Altenar but to their progression and interests in new projects, builds and new territories to delve into.
A great success example of this has been the full migration of our clients to our SB2 platform, which has doubled the number of bets placed. Thanks to this, we created a new department that monitors and builds the Altenar Data Feed where we can consume official scouting data and price betting markets accordingly.
Our native mobile app is also a project that was a proof of concept at the beginning of 2022, and the creation of the Altenar Intelligence Platform (AIP) will deliver high-impact analytics and insights. Altenar also released its new front end which is designed/built from widget technology and this is merely the tip of the iceberg for us this year.
Looking to 2023 – where have you got your eye on and which markets do you believe will be key to sports betting’s continued expansion?
We will be looking to expand our footprint across the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Romania, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Canada.
So, Europe is a key focus for us over the next 12 months, but we believe giant strides will be made across Canada, so we are excited about the prospect of accessing that region.
On the subject of the Balkans – the market has plenty of factors that can make it a success, what are the main drivers for this?
There’s a lot of appeal for iGaming, especially as many countries throughout the Balkans allow reputable companies to enter the space with the correct licensing that is often the same as other European countries. This regulation and call for gaming are two of the main drivers for success in this region.
Last but not least in the Netherlands, how do you see the latest regulatory measures shaping up and how will that affect operators’ approach?
Operators will need a very flexible approach for the Netherlands, but this changing regulatory scape is a positive as it enables greater attention to safer gaming and players. It also offers providers like us the opportunity to grow as we adapt to the market requirements, whether that’s through the technology in our solutions or what features/content we can offer.
Exclusive Pre-ICE interview with Nadiya Attard, CCO at Relax Gaming
Having been promoted to Chief Commercial Officer this time last year, European Gaming took the time to sit down with Nadiya Attard to take a look back at the record-breaking year enjoyed by Relax Gaming.
We also discussed her own philosophy as CCO of a major iGaming powerhouse and looked ahead to what Relax has in store for ICE 2023 and the rest of the year!
Relax has had a record-breaking 2022, before we get started, can you talk us through the secrets behind such fantastic success and some highlights, namely Relax Rush, Dream Drop and Money Train 3?
Relax Gaming has been fortunate to enjoy a phenomenal year in 2022 and exceed expectations on all fronts. If I had to boil it down to a few key qualities that lead to this success they would be – solid technical foundations that help us provide a stable platform, meeting key deadlines and bringing our unique ideas to life, integrity in our service, incredible quality standards, and the fantastic team behind it all. Each one of these forms a foundation block for our business.
Onto Relax and the team – I’m sure plenty of our European Gaming readers know you already, but for those who don’t, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you lead as CCO?
I’d describe myself as very energetic and ambitious, throughout my 20 years of experience in the industry I’ve built up an extensive portfolio of deal closures and professional achievements. On a more personal level, I tend to do things differently and swim against the current in all aspects of my life, but especially in my management style.
I like to lead as a manager and operate as a teammate, ensuring that my colleagues are motivated, growing in their field and being rewarded effectively. In our sales team, you’ll notice some re-shuffling from time to time as I believe in letting people adjust their roles to their passions and investing in our current superstars before hiring externally.
Looking to ICE, which we’re sure Relax is very excited about, what’s in store for the show and what can visitors look forward to seeing at the Relax stand?
This will be the first ICE expo where Relax is physically present with a pop-up hub (N4-300) rather than meeting rooms, and we’re so excited to welcome new and existing customers throughout the 3 days. Our schedules are already almost full, and we can’t wait to give clients an exclusive sneak peek at what’s coming up in 2023.
On 2023 – we’re sure you’ve got plenty of exciting games lined up to delight players, without giving too much away, can you give us any hints or tips as to what we can expect to see this year?
There’s a lot to look forward to in 2023 including our star of the quarter Book of Power, which was produced in collaboration with CasinoGrounds and is piquing the interest of many operators at the moment.
We also have big plans to strengthen our foothold in regulated markets such as Ontario, Spain, Italy and Greece. Elsewhere Dream Drop Jackpots will be leveraging its strengths this year with a huge release over the Summer – We won’t give anything away here but pop by our stand for some juicy details!
Last but not least, Dream Drop has been absolutely revolutionary for players, how much of a difference do you see the Relax style of Jackpots making when it comes to inspiring future creations?
Our Dream Drop Jackpots product has been a great success since its debut in May 2022. Operators who integrated the promo tools and the famous Dream Drop Ticker (in-lobby jackpot status) have had recorded particularly positive results, and we’ll be boosting this further throughout the year with new promo tools that will be available across the Relax portfolio and P2P partners.
We’ve had jackpots dropping continuously and the numbers climb higher up the ranks each month. Emulating this level of success will prove tricky, as any supplier would require a vast distribution network combined with a secure and robust system of operation that extends well beyond the pure game mechanic and flow, there’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to a mechanic of this kind!
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