In a streamlining move that is set to rival London’s ICE Totally Gaming as the biggest event in the industry, the iGaming Super Show, EiG and the Amsterdam Affiliate Conference have merged together for what the organisers intend to make the ultimate gaming conference; iGB Live. In an online industry defined by innovation and fierce competition; everything rests on being ahead of the game and the products that are to be showcased in Amsterdam this week will provide us with a valuable glimpse into what’s next in iGaming.
The event’s attendee list has surpassed well over 5,000 delegates, with a diverse number of key speakers scheduled for presentations. This is a four-day action-packed conference for which the biggest and most innovative names in iGaming across Europe are currently gearing up, preparing for the event’s commencement in Amsterdam on Tuesday the 17th of July. We’ll take a look at the digital trends and cutting-edge product that will be unveiled at the upcoming event, to see what they tell us about the future of the multi-billion dollar iGaming industry.
Divisive and unpredictable in nature, cryptocurrencies can be said to have a lot in common with betting. The topic of blockchain solutions has certainly proved a hot topic within iGaming which is evidenced at this year’s iGB Live, where several keynote speakers are set to discuss the relationship between cryptocurrencies and online gambling. There’s even a side-conference, ‘Crypto Live’, which offers networking opportunities and presentations specifically for blockchain businesses.
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Good to be in #Amsterdam checking out some innovative ideas in gaming at #igblive pic.twitter.com/GlVGasdQh0
— CKR Media Consulting (@CKRConsulting) July 18, 2018
Lars Lien, CEO of betting platform Luckbox, reveals what he finds most promising about the industry’s current debate around cryptocurrencies; “What gets me excited is decentralised digital assets such as CryptoKitties, and digital playing cards living on the blockchain which enables consumer confidence in the assets “realness” – in contrast to publisher-controlled virtual goods. We see big opportunities to break ground by incorporating tokens and other new types of assets into gambling offerings, though it may take some time to become mainstream.”
Affiliates, online casinos and game providers are continuously looking to improve each stage of the player journey experience. In 2018, the focus is on offering more value to the player and on developing alternative and more interesting means of attracting players which are not purely based around traditional bonuses. One approach to this has been grounded in gamification; a topic that has been making waves in the iGaming industry for a long time in relation to player retention.
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“We’re looking for game providers who genuinely seek to add more value with each game, developing them into something unique that will see players want to return; elements like tournaments, gamification and player personalisation,” says Sam Smit, from the online casino PlayFrank. “Online casinos, in general, want to see game developers offer titles that are compatible with a levelling system, whereby players are rewarded for loyalty through progressive bonuses, free spins and jackpots, and can even choose what types of rewards they want.”
In any industry where historical data is relevant for predicting future outcomes, companies will benefit from incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence into their business. A number of start-ups in iGaming are seeking to provide companies with tools that do precisely that, thereby enabling betting brands to acquire more accurate odds for increased revenue.
Technologies that incorporate artificial intelligence as a means of automating data interpretation and the customisation of player experiences will be a focal point at iGB. “Player retention and customer experience have always been hotly discussed topics, however with new regulations fast approaching and new market entrants joining all the time, the buzz seems louder than ever,” says Hampus Lindberg, Commercial Director at Wiraya, one of the companies focused on player retention and lapsed-player activation solutions at the conference.
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Wiraya offer a Mobile Customer Activation Software which runs automatically with the help of AI and integrates with any existing CRM or Martech Stack, to help with the entire player retention process from channel choice, timing and content creation. “One of the most common challenges operators face is a conversion of newly registered customers to first deposit. So many businesses spend significant resources on acquiring new customers yet fail with longer-term retention, resulting in millions in revenue simply going to waste,” explains Lindberg.
Whilst tournament viewing numbers and global popularity are still on the increase for eSports, no betting brand has yet to establish itself as the absolute authority within the competitive gaming industry. As such, the opportunity to seize this title and capitalise on the new market’s potential has led to companies scrambling to produce and market their own eSport betting products. One presentation at iGB will explore how esports could eventually gain a larger fan base than football, so it’s no surprise to see that the market is attracting a great deal of attention from businesses in iGaming.
But eSports betting will look different to sports and casino betting; not just because of the unique nature of eSports gameplay and how this will create a vast array of different betting options, but because the profile of eSport betters differs drastically to that of any other traditional type of gambling. Insight into one’s consumer base will determine everything from product offering to brand design to market forecasting, thus brands will have to get comfortable with the demographics of the esports betting market and adjust their product and approach accordingly. Esports is, for the most part, unfamiliar ground; which is perhaps why no traditional betting brand has yet to dominate the market.
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Keynote speakers will focus on eSports betting demographics at iGB, while the conference will also allow iGaming businesses to establish connections with those who can provide the necessary components for eSport betting success, from localised expansion into Asia’s enormous eSport market, to the recruitment of eSport experts that will largely come from a younger generation of passionate gamers.
Search engine optimisation
Just as online gambling regulations are changing across Europe, search engine optimisation trends are ever prone to developments and updates, with a number of new Google features and algorithm enhancements having come into play over the past year. As in any online-based industry, this will have a direct effect on the online marketing and SEO strategy of iGaming companies.
“iGaming is uniquely competitive from an SEO-perspective, in that immediate responses to algorithm updates is absolutely essential to outrank competitors. Last year, Google increased the word limit on meta descriptions and it follows that there are expectations on longer content pages as well. On top of that, the long list of technical onsite tweaks, that can translate quite dramatically in the SERPs, continues to grow,” says Sophie Jackson, link building specialist at the gaming content agency All-In Translations. “The key lies in ensuring quality with quantity in content, developing increasingly sophisticated link building techniques, and incorporating an SEO strategy which comprehensively takes into account as many long-term ranking factors as possible.”
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The iGaming industry has long been associated with black hat SEO tactics, however, a prevalence of agencies offering multilingual SEO content and translations at iGB might suggest that the biggest names in the industry are looking to shift away from the manipulative methods exploited in the past and align themselves instead with cleaner strategies for stabilised rankings. “Keyword and content localisation are becoming increasingly valued by brands that might have previously opted for machine translations,” says Sophie Jackson. “We’re seeing an all-around shift in attitude, whereby more and more companies are seeing the value of consulting localisation experts, investing in top-notch content, and utilising cutting-edge SEO tool for more legitimate and creative strategies.”
A central theme to many new products that are to be promoted and discussed at this year’s iGB is ‘simplification’. More specifically, a simplification which minimises the most arduous aspects of running an online casino, sportsbook or affiliate site, without compromising efficiency or revenue. One solutions provider, in particular, has put this principle of simplification at the heart of their product, offering businesses a comprehensive affiliate platform called MediaMirror.io.
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“Affiliates can quickly create sites with pre-made SEO-friendly designs, benefit from pre-negotiated and highly competitive deals with different casinos, and monitor all commission payouts in one single place. Almost every aspect of running an affiliate site is thereby simplified and made a lot more accessible for newcomers in the industry,” says Pontus Magnusson, CEO at MediaMirror.
“The affiliate platform drastically simplifies things for online casinos as well, as they’ll be dealing with one affiliate manager as opposed to thousands of different affiliate sites. It’s a win-win, whereby affiliates maintain control over their product but do not have to suffer through the often over-complicated process of running an affiliate site the traditional way.”
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MediaMirror.io, which is scheduled to launch at the end of summer, will be free to use, as the platform will be funded through MediaMirror’s commission on affiliate revenue. “Our hope is that this product encourages more people to go into the affiliate business and create wider competition at a time when most of the iGaming giants are buying independent affiliates at an incredible rate,” says Magnusson.
Speaking on behalf of the event’s organisers at Clarion Gaming, Portfolio Director Shona O’Donnell says, “It’s a really exciting time in iGaming, and this will definitely be reflected in the programme – we have revolutionised the conference agenda and have a large number of curated and niche networking opportunities. iGB Live! HQ will seek out the latest innovation in these areas from experts in and outside the industry…the internationalisation of iGaming, leaps and bounds made in AI development and the opening of the US sports betting industry, are all things, to name but a few, to be very excited about.”
iGB Live 2018 will take place in Amsterdam between the 17th and 20th of July at RAI Exhibition and Conference Center. Read more at the iGB Live website.