Mobile casino gaming is an industry that draws upon knowledge and techniques from all manner of different related sectors. After all, behind the spinning reels they are all real businesses and need to adopt conventional business strategies in order to succeed. One such area that is absolutely key is marketing, as no mobile casino would ever get to a point where they feel that they have too many customers and the competition for acquiring new members is fierce.
When compared to mobile gaming, online casino marketing could be considered to be something of a walk in the park. Standard online marketing techniques do apply, such as search engine optimisation and pay per click marketing, but casinos operate in such a niche that they rely more heavily than other industries on financial incentives for players and customer acquisition through word of mouth and reviews. There is almost a standard marketing template in use by all online casinos that rarely ventures outside the comfort zone into more traditional marketing such as television advertising.
The mobile casino industry is significantly different in this regard, and in many ways provides new and existing operators with something of a fresh start to acquire mobile gamers. Some players will have undying brand loyalty and their mobile casino of choice will be the same as the online operator that they have used for many years. However, there is an untapped market out there using smartphones and tablets that, while happy to gamble in general, have never considered playing at an online casino. It is up to the mobile casino marketing teams to get their brand in front of those potential players.
While smartphones and desktop computers have a lot in common, the way in which smartphones are used to access information is markedly different and it is this fact that mobile casino teams are actively looking to capitalise on.
One such manner in which they differ is the use of location services. Few marketers had ever considered the impact that locations have on desktop users aside from targeting different campaigns at different areas based on IP addresses. Smartphones give advertisers, operators and app developers the opportunity to physically locate their target audience every time they access information, offering a tailored experience. This makes it easier for mobile casinos to carry out campaigns in certain countries, or stick to their licencing agreements when it comes to accepting new players. Paddy Power Mobile Casino, for example, uses the location feature on smartphones to ensure that players are accessing their mobile casino from a physical location within the UK as per their Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission licence.
The word of mouth nature of the industry has also taken another twist with mobile casino gaming, in that many potential players receive such recommendations through their favourite social media site. Facebook, for example, has a reported one billion users, with more than 60% primarily accessing the site through a smartphone. It therefore makes sense for mobile casinos to have their own pages on such sites, and the likes of All Slots and Platinum Play have done just that.
A study by Robinson & Associates, a consulting firm to the gambling industry, also pointed out the need for casinos to adapt their entire strategy to mobile platforms, rather than just games. For example, some sites still continue the traditional online process of large advertising images on their main page, which do not render at all well on smartphones. Indeed, the same study goes on to suggest that of the world’s mobile users, 75% will have smartphones by 2016, meaning that many casino operators need to begin work on their mobile acquisition strategies immediately if they have not already.
Of course, some casino operators already have first class mobile gaming in place. Jackpot City Mobile and Royal Vegas Mobile, for example, have been accepting and actively marketing to mobile casino players for a number of years. Traditional welcome bonuses have been replaced by free, no deposit cash to try out the games and delivering bonus codes via the live chat platform is increasingly becoming a thing of the past, with SMS straight to a smartphone becoming the delivery method of choice among mobile operators.
The battle for new customers will no doubt enhance the experience for existing players. iPhone apps are a great example. From a strategic point of view for the operator, it gives them a prominent position within the App Store to target keywords to attract new players in what is effectively its own search economy. For players, it provides the added convenience and reliability that an app brings, even if they are already a member. Mobile promotions also regularly extend to existing customers, as mobile casinos are just as keen to get their existing online members playing on their mobiles, meaning even more free cash for players to take the house edge away.
2013 will undoubtedly be a defining year for mobile casinos, and those that pick up the largest market share in the early part of the year will naturally be the best positioned to capitalise on their member base for years to come.