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Thought Leadership/Q&A with Thomas Aigner head of business development at Ibex.ai discussing the future of CRM

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Are your CRM tactics World Cup Ready?
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Thomas Aigner, Head of Business Development at Ibex.ai discusses the changing landscape of CRM processes and how the development of artificial intelligence is altering the future of CRM.

How does Ibex see the future of iGaming CRM developing in relation to AI and how will this benefit operators? 

 

What does the current landscape of iGaming CRM look like- what changes are you expecting over the next few years?

Currently, we are seeing more and more investment in AI solutions as operators and suppliers look to gain an edge in the increasingly competitive iGaming market, however, I think as an industry we have only just begun scratching the surface with significant changes to CRM forthcoming. There are some obvious, well-known CRM suppliers in the market, such as Optimove and Fasttrack as well as a lot of promising rising stars entering the space. We have already seen examples of acquisitions of these newer companies through recent deals involving Optimove acquiring Graphyte, and I’m expecting to see more of these types of partnerships moving forward.

Most of the ongoing innovation has been structured in a traditional linear way, to optimise the current CRM processes and how those teams work, essentially helping them better segment players or create rule-based systems (gamification or customer journeys). Once built, they send automated communications, but much in the same way as the term personalisation is often misused, automation is also because businesses still need someone to constantly create new target groups, campaigns and rules for new journeys. This increases overheads through the cost of labour to manage these systems whereas using an AI that offers true automation reduces these costs. The future of CRM is AI – creating full automation and developing a self-driving system is paramount, and this process is at the core of what Ibex.AI stands for.

As AI becomes increasingly integrated into the CRM process, we will see fundamental differences in how companies operate daily. CRM teams will begin moving away from segmentation and average campaigns for target groups and pivot towards 100% personalisation. We will see less human error through data analytics, and close to perfectly accurate execution.

 

What does the advancement in AI technology mean for jobs going forward?

There’s always a sense of fear of the unknown when it comes to innovations, especially surrounding Artificial Intelligence. The real aim here is for AI to assist companies by automating the process, reducing the amount of legwork that is currently done by humans, with these job roles adapting to focus increasingly on creativity, strategy and giving more commercial responsibility to people. It could mean that CRM and Retention Managers can grow more into the role of Brand Managers, gaining more responsibility and taking care of bigger markets. AI also creates the opportunity to help start-ups without the budget for their CRM team, as well as those brands looking to enter new markets.

 

How will changes to CRM affect issues surrounding bonus abuse and player retention?

Bonus abuse and player retention have been a cause for concern within the industry and AI can solve many of these issues through the use of deep learning algorithms. AI can predict the LTV of each player under many different scenarios, only executing an action if it will return a profit. As a result, those models can also identify bonus abusers and would limit or even stop bonusing these players because it has become unprofitable for the business.

Real personalisation will play an important role in player retention moving forward – albeit not in the way it is currently used – all companies say they personalise but in fact, just get more granular when setting up target groups or building more and more rule based customer journeys. This relates heavily to retention, with players receiving a far greater personalised experience from campaigns and activities that are aimed specifically towards them, as opposed to an average group of people, further connecting customers to the brand.

 

How does AI allow operators to affect player behaviour- does it differ from the standard CRM approach?

AI can fundamentally change the standard CRM approach and how it functions as it reduces the workload of marketing teams and the CRM process. A practice that can in many cases have six major steps to it can be shortened to one or two, those being checking on the performance of the machine and coming up with new and creative ideas that AI can then execute and optimize. This focus on new creative ideas goes on to change players’ behaviour by diversifying how operators are reaching out to players. Additionally, AI is affecting each player by analysing them as individuals and constantly improving what is best for them, a process which would take far too much time using the standard CRM approach.

 

Are there any specific markets you believe will get an added benefit from advancement in iGaming CRM?

Obviously, the majority of innovative ideas originate in mature markets in Europe and the US, but I think that, especially in LATAM and Africa, there is a great opportunity to grow and help operators there to make a difference and to scale more quickly while developing the overall market. This can only be a positive. If we can raise the overall betting experience for players in these markets and allow the companies to free up time and focus on other areas of business as they grow, then I think that is a great outcome.

 

What is the future for AI?

I believe in the future we will reflect and struggle to understand how we could have lived without the support of AI to be able to offer the best entertainment to each player. AI will be integral to the iGaming market and it is only going to continue to grow and develop as more people within the industry come to understand how machine learning is now proving an invaluable asset to retention teams. Everybody will use at least some and in some cases a greater number of AI tools and will be developing their teams to understand and work effectively alongside this innovative technology.

 

Interviews

RubyPlay and BetConstruct interview: delivering bespoke content for Mr. First

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RubyPlay and BetConstruct interview: delivering bespoke content for Mr. First
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

The launch of Mr. First by BetConstruct 12 months ago saw the creation of an iconic character that has proven to push the boundaries and deliver increased engagement within the iGaming and crypto industries.

As Mr. First celebrates his first birthday, we spoke with Dr Eyal Loz, Chief Product Officer at RubyPlay, and Ruzanna Elchyan, Head of Gaming at BetConstruct, to reflect on how both organisations have worked together to build unique gaming experiences around the popular brand ambassador.

 

May marks the one-year milestone of Mr First. Dr. Eyal, what positive impact has this fun and creative character had within iGaming? What do you like most about the character?

Dr. Eyal Loz: Mr. First is a relatable, fun character that can easily deliver complex initiatives. Seeing Mr. First post online, and also, meeting a larger-than-life Mr. First in gaming shows, really connected us to the fun narrative of this brand ambassador. Mr. First is successful and confident, but also very relatable, not too serious or intimidating. The overall impression is – if “Mr. First can do it, so can I”!

 

Ruzanna, what was the inspiration behind Mr First, and what sort of impact has it had on the iGaming sector?

Ruzanna Elchyan: Mr. First was inspired by the need for a charismatic and relatable character who could serve as an advertising agent and an expert in the crypto and iGaming industries. His impact on the iGaming sector has been profound, bringing a fresh and engaging narrative that resonates with players. Mr. First’s presence has not only made gaming experiences more enjoyable and memorable but has also increased engagement and interest in iGaming, particularly among younger audiences. This has significantly contributed to the sector’s growth and evolution, establishing Mr. First as a symbol of innovation and excitement in the industry.

 

How does BetConstruct envision the incorporation of Mr. First and other games into future collaborative projects with studios like RubyPlay, considering the positive reception and engagement witnessed at the BFTH Arena Awards?

Ruzanna Elchyan: BetConstruct is looking to integrate Mr. First and other games into future collaborative projects with studios like RubyPlay, utilising innovative strategies to enhance player experiences. The enthusiastic reception and high engagement levels at the B.F.T.H. Arena Awards highlight the potential of these partnerships. This positive feedback motivates BetConstruct to push the boundaries of iGaming creativity, ensuring that upcoming projects are not only entertaining but also transformative in their impact on the industry.

 

Dr. Eyal, Immortal Ways: Mr First was a big success and was crowned ‘Best Online Casino Game’ at the BFTH Arena Awards. What has been the key behind this game’s triumph?

Dr. Eyal Loz: We wanted to connect with the authenticity of the Mr First character. Wouldn’t it be fun to get a shirtless Mr. First travel back in time to ancient Egypt? We combined this art narrative with our strongest performing mechanic, Immortal Ways, to create an appealing immersive gaming experience.

 

With the increasing demand for innovative gaming experiences, what role does BetConstruct see collaborative events like the BFTH Arena Awards playing in driving industry innovation?

Ruzanna Elchyan: BetConstruct recognises the growing demand for innovative gaming experiences and sees collaborative events like the B.F.T.H. Arena Awards as instrumental in driving industry innovation. These events serve as platforms for companies to showcase their latest creations, exchange ideas, and inspire one another to push the boundaries of what’s possible in iGaming. BetConstruct is dedicated to supporting and participating in such events to foster industry-wide innovation and growth.

 

Dr. Eyal, talk us through the development of RubyPlay’s Mad Hit Olympic First, what differentiates this title from previous games within the ‘Mad Hit’ series?

Dr. Eyal Loz: The Summer Olympic games are coinciding with the BFTH Arena Awards. This gave us an idea, connecting the narrative of Mr. First taking on big challenges with style, in a fun way. We thought “Wouldn’t it be fun if Mr First represented BetConstruct in the Olympics?”. So, this time, our Mr. First is an Olympic cycling champion, who will bring home some gold medals! The Mad Hit mechanic is a 5X5 reel array with 25 independent reels, and 3,125 ways to win. I’m sure players will love it!

 

And Ruzanna, what do you like most about RubyPlay’s latest bespoke title Mad Hit Olympic First?

Ruzanna Elchyan: Mad Hit Olympic First stands out for its innovative fusion of the Olympic spirit with the excitement of online gaming. This unique approach creates an immersive experience that transports players into the world of competitive sports. The game’s storyline is rich and captivating, drawing players in with its narrative depth and attention to detail. Combined with its engaging gameplay mechanics, Mad Hit Olympic First offers a truly distinctive gaming experience that sets it apart from other titles in the market.

Could you elaborate on the collaborative efforts between RubyPlay and BetConstruct that contributed to the game’s success and how this collaboration might evolve for future projects?

Dr. Eyal Loz: Our partnership with BetConstruct is based on a lot of mutual respect. We both see each other as tenacious innovators, never afraid trying new original business and design directions. For example, both companies celebrate creative fine arts, and try to bring that appreciation into our core business values. When two successful organisations share core elements in their vision, successful collaborations and opportunities are inevitable.

 

How important is BetConstruct’s partnership with RubyPlay? What do they offer differently to other game studios?

Ruzanna Elchyan: BetConstruct’s collaboration with RubyPlay holds immense importance, as it facilitates the delivery of a diverse and captivating selection of games to players, effectively distinguishing them in the fiercely competitive iGaming market. RubyPlay’s distinctiveness among game studios stems from its unique development approach and unwavering dedication to innovation. This commitment makes RubyPlay an invaluable partner for BetConstruct, enriching our offerings and enhancing the overall gaming experience for our players.

 

What does the future hold for the RubyPlay / BetConstruct partnership?

Dr. Eyal Loz: We will continue working together in multiple markets. I’m really looking forward to seeing our new innovative product and promotional initiatives rolled out for the BetConstruct players. As always, when we all row together in the same direction, the sky is the limit.

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Affiliate Industry

Interview w/ Andre Machado, Head of Publishers Relations and Affiliation at Sportradar

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Interview w/ Andre Machado, Head of Publishers Relations and Affiliation at Sportradar
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Before taking the stage at EEGS’ upcoming Free Webinar, ‘The Relevance of Media Buying Activity in the Affiliate Space’, Sportradar’s Head of Publishers Relations and Affiliation, Andre Machado, sat down with EEGS for an exclusive interview. In this in-depth conversation, Andre shares his expertise on the importance of media buying, affiliate marketing, and navigating the complex compliance landscape. Get a sneak peek at his insights and expert advice before he shares his knowledge with attendees at the free webinar.

Can you share some key insights into the evolution of digital marketing within the iGaming industry over the past decade, and how it has influenced affiliate marketing strategies?

Operators are subsequently turning to automation technology to scale their campaigns and streamline their marketing processes. Automation has been the key and is being used within programmatic advertising technology to efficiently acquire new bettors at this critical time. Programmatic automates the buying of online advertising in realtime to serve highly targeted adverts to the most relevant audiences, which is highly efficient and limits ad wastage. In fact, our proprietary ads programmatic marketing service has enabled our global operator clients to increase click-through-rates by up to 60%, while increasing net gaming revenue by as much as 110%. We estimate that reducing the manual inputs in this process saves our clients up to two months’ worth of productivity annually.

Automation is similarly enhancing operators’ advertising performance across publisher sites, such as high-profile sports and media news websites, and for their sponsorships. By using data to understand fans’ most consumed online content, Sportradar’s Engagement Tool, the adtech we are using in our Affiliate Project, uses automation to display contextually relevant betting ads across both premium publishers and rights holders’ websites. The range of these adverts and the speed at which they are delivered increase click-through-rates by up to 2,2X which would be impossible to replicate manually. The affiliate space is following these macro trends and we are seeing a more sensible vision from the Operators to new ways of cooperation, and Media Buying is one of them.

 

With your extensive experience in digital marketing, what do you believe are the most critical factors for success in affiliate media buying specifically within the iGaming sector?

If operators can better understand their fans’ interests and browsing habits, they can more effectively target and engage them with personalised content. This is key to acquiring new customers, re-engaging existing players and building brand awareness. Marketing solutions that would enable them to fully understand where and how bettors were interacting with their brand. These customer insights power digital marketing technologies, which decide the most relevant bets to serve to players, on the right platform at the right time. This personalised approach engages fans more deeply, delivers greater conversions, customer loyalty and revenue growth, while limiting advertising waste and compensating the right partners/affiliates.

 

How do you see the role of data analytics shaping the future of affiliate marketing, and what tools or methodologies do you find most effective in optimizing media buying campaigns?

AI’s role cannot be understated, but it needs data to deliver marketing efficiency. Similarly, data is a resource that is only as useful as how effectively you use it. Therefore, the real game changer is when the two are combined. Operators possess deep pools of anonymised customer data, which offer valuable insights into fan behaviours and interests, such as previously bet-on teams or most frequented digital channels. AI algorithms within digital marketing technologies process this data to create personalised dynamic football adverts that can be delivered on fan-favourite channels. For instance, a FCPorto fan who regularly uses Instagram might receive dynamic ads containing the odds for their team’s next fixture across the platform’s story’s function. With this data readily available, the AI capabilities within marketing services allow operators to truly create highly targeted and customised fan experiences that achieve greater acquisition and brand awareness.

 

Given the dynamic regulatory landscape surrounding iGaming advertising, how do you advise affiliates to navigate compliance risks effectively while still maximizing their efforts?

By focusing on the content that fans care most about, AI-driven personalisation tools can drive efficiency and limit advertising waste, everything aligned with the current local regulation. This is essential at this moment, when operators must supply advertising creative for the hundreds of weekly matches played across football’s biggest competitions, as an example. While this was previously a protracted, manual process for creative teams, AI and automation technologies are powering Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) solutions to address this operational challenge quickly and at scale. We use DCO in our industry-specific Dynamic Display solution to engineer an unlimited supply of personalised betting advertising creative, based on fan content preferences and the most popular pages on operators’ websites. The customised content within these creatives engages end users more deeply and improves click-through-rates, while automation saves valuable time and money to achieve more effective budget spend and higher ROI.

 

Given the ever-changing landscape of digital advertising, what emerging trends do you foresee shaping the future of affiliate media buying, and how should marketers adapt to stay ahead?

In the same way that football clubs allocate their transfer budgets effectively to deliver the best performance on the pitch, operators who execute efficient marketing strategies are most likely to succeed in the marketplace. By leveraging data and AI within the latest advertising technologies, operators can better understand their customers, find their audience quickly and serve them with the content that’s most relevant to them. As with player scouting, to find a hidden gem, you often need to search where others aren’t looking. Similarly, with betting customer acquisition it pays to have exclusive access to audiences. With our Engagement Tool, we work with a single operator in each geographic market to gain visibility on premium publishers in the region, while using our unique adtech to deliver automated, contextually relevant ads that subsequently delivers strong acquisition performance. This might be a trend, it would help to balance the competitiveness within the markets.

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Interviews

Exclusive Interview w/ Mr. Hayk Sargsyan Chief Executive Officer of Galaxsys

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Exclusive Interview w/ Mr. Hayk Sargsyan Chief Executive Officer of Galaxsys
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

European Gaming caught up with Hayk Sargsyan, the visionary CEO of gaming studio Galaxsys, one of the leaders in fast and crash games, which are capturing the attention of online casino players across Europe and Latin America. Hayk’s leadership and strategic vision have been instrumental in Galaxsys’s rapid growth and success.

 

Tell us about Galaxsys and why Fast and Crash Games are becoming popular with casino players. 

Galaxsys is young company, only a few years in iGaming B2B terms. We specialise in unique ‘fast and crash games’ for the iGaming and online casino market. These games are characterised by their fast-paced gameplay, and the thrill of the game theme. We design, create, and develop highly engaging and attractive games for casino players, offering them a unique and exciting gaming experience.

Casino and Slot players like to maximise their time to play without learning the complexities of characters, bonus conditions, and bonus rounds, which can confuse them, particularly when they have only a certain amount of free time for gameplay.  Galaxsys games are played across many different markets. Online casino players want to try something new and different, but they also like simple and easier-to-play games, which is why we provide these.

At Galaxsys, we understand that players value a streamlined experience with low friction and control over their gameplay. This is why our Crash and Fast Games are in high demand, as they cater to these player preferences. B2C operators are also keen to add our game portfolio to their casino lobby, further validating our player-centric approach. 

Ninja Crash has won several awards. What makes this such a great game?  

Ninja Crash performs strongly in our game portfolio across continental Europe and Latin America, where the game won the accolade of ‘Most Played Game 2024’ at the SiGMA Americas Summit. Recent upgrades include a mobile landscape, auto-play mode, freeze bonus feature, and advanced algorithms designed to captivate and retain players. These combinations of upgrades increase the player’s enjoyment of gaming, which leads to increased player satisfaction and revenue.

One of our flagship unique games, Ninja Crash, is very popular with operators. We added the Combo Bonus feature, and the multiplier can now reach up to 500x for each slice, and a new Ninja character has been introduced. Our design and product teams have taken this engaging and fan-favourite game to the next level to offer players an enhanced and immersive gaming experience.  

From an engagement, player experience standpoint, Galaxsys games are focused on providing the players with a straightforward gaming experience that delivers high-quality visuals, themes, and elements that the player can relate to and play with little effort.  

It’s the trade show season. What other games are you showcasing on your travels? 

Galaxsys’s game portfolio stands out with its accessibility to 150+ operators, 170 currency options, and the availability of 30+ games in a single game integration. These unique features and robust performance with our partner operators across all markets make them a compelling choice for potential new partners. Partnering with Galaxsys not only gives you access to our innovative games but also our extensive network and industry expertise, which can help you maximise your revenue and player engagement.

Our sales team is always excited to showcase our new games at industry events. ‘Dr. Shocker‘ offers a thrilling, fast-paced experience where players connect cables to win. ‘Tower Rush’ challenges players to create endless floors for maximum chances. ‘Limbo Crash’ introduces an exciting concept, with winnings dependent on chosen multipliers. ‘Bingo Star’ combines popular bingo elements with a surprising twist. ‘Hot Gear’ blends speed and fashion, requiring players to scratch their fingers and reveal matching odds or attractive symbols. ‘Cosmo Saga’ is a puzzle game that requires players to move colourful particles to create winning combinations. Each game is designed to provide casino players with a unique and engaging experience, and we are confident that they will be well-received by our audience. 

What are your plans for summer and the remainder of the year? 

We aim to continue improving, upgrading, and innovating across our game portfolio to deliver the best gaming experiences. In the coming months, we plan to expand our market presence in Europe and Latin America and explore potential partnerships with local operators. Doing so can drive player engagement and revenue opportunities for our partner operators, which is at the core of our business strategy.

Europe and Latin America are undoubtedly growing and dynamic markets for B2B gaming studios such as Galaxsys. We have seen strong market demand for our games in Brazil and Mexico, and the Baltics where players are particularly drawn to our unique game features and engaging gameplay. Therefore, it is essential to follow regulatory change and the requirements of those frameworks to ensure the optimal certifications and gambling responsibilities. We were also delighted to have our games certified recently in Peru and Colombia, further expanding our market reach in the region.

We will work with our partner operators to deliver more profound game experiences and localisations. We have commenced the development of our own slot games, which we are incredibly excited to introduce into the marketplace over the next two quarters of this year.   We shall be attending many summer expos such as iGB Live, G2E Asia, and SiGMA Asia to further showcase our games.

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