Sports betting data comes in many forms. There are statistics, so integral in proposition bets like the number of shots blocked in basketball or who hits the first home run in a baseball game. Other data serve to drive retention of customers and defining business analytics. The latter is where companies like Tealium come in.
In the betting industry, acquisition costs are significantly higher than the retention cost per customer, so most data strategies are targeted towards retention, said Sav Khetan, vice president of product at the San Diego-based company, whose clients include Rank, William Hill and Gamesys. “Sportsbooks do better by focusing on existing customers than new ones.”
Sportsbooks invest a lot of time and labor to get current patrons to re-engage, said Khetan. “For first-time customers, the goal is to get them to place the first bet. For returning customers, it’s to figure out what type of offers or events they’re interested in, and then personalizing offers based on that.”
The sports betting industry runs on SKUs, or stock-keeping units. In simple terms, SKUs represent each unique wager that is available to bettors. In a sport like football, every single unique match for every team is a separate SKU, because fans can bet on each one. Extrapolate that against all sports, leagues and teams, and it becomes a very large number of possible bets or products that the gaming company sells.
The value is in understanding individual bettors and their interests. “This single-customer view allows sportsbooks to create audiences based on several attributes like frequency of bets, value of bets, interest in sports, teams, time of day, type of offers, etc.,” Khetan said.
Sportsbooks combine data from all their customer-related channels into a single CDP, or customer data platform, Khetan said. CDPs help aggregate data across online and mobile applications, allowing organizations to create a complete picture of their customer base. “The CDP is a service to capture, correlate and activate customer data across multiple channels, devices, and technologies.”
With data collected from CDPs, businesses can understand and forecast customer behavior. Real-time data can also reveal which bets are considered but not placed—an invaluable tool in helping operators understand and promote bet completion. It allows for enablement across multiple teams, tools, skill sets and features. CDPs create centralized data to be used by all facets of an organization in real time. This includes offline data like the value of a bet, so they can make real-time calculations at many levels.
Personalization is based on look-alike models—customers with similar attributes—combined with relevant sports, which leads to choosing the next best offer.
Based on this data, sportsbooks can trigger the right experience and offer at the right time on the website, mobile apps, email and paid media, all primarily targeting existing customers for re-engagement. Sportsbooks “calculate their offers and strategies based on this information: bet value, number of bets times days, opportunity, price, event, time of day, day of week, season, category, teams are all factored in,” said Khetan.
Analyzing and collecting this kind of data can also help decrease problem gaming. For example, in Australia, where Tealium works with Sportsbet, the law requires all betting companies to maintain a database of people considered at risk.
Legally, companies are not allowed to offer deals or promos to drive engagement for this audience. Data analysis allows operators to validate vulnerable customers and exclude them from marketing campaigns, and keeps that data in a separate secure environment.
This is a national database and is highly sensitive. “Our customers are legally required to maintain that. We enable ways for them to leverage that information so they can figure out who is eligible to receive marketing and who should not be getting deals and offers,” Khetan said.
Well before the Covid-19 outbreak, the gaming industry had begun to shift online. The virus accelerated that trend, and online gaming and mobile sports betting proved a boon to operators during the shutdowns of 2020 and the reduced capacity mandates of early 2021.
The viral crisis has significantly accelerated the adoption of digital technologies across all industries. And businesses that were traditionally analog have seen the returns of having a deeper understanding of their customer, which can only be unlocked by collecting and analyzing customer data, Khetan said.
“We’re expecting the trend to grow in the coming years and see a great combination of online and offline behaviors and data.”