5 Customer Retention Strategies For Bookmakers

| News

Let’s say you’ve followed the process, opened your first betting platform, and acquired a healthy customer base. Congratulations! You’ve officially entered the second phase — how to retain those customers.

While there are many ways to go about this, one surefire way to retain customers is to offer them precisely what they want – and achieving this seemingly impossible goal comes down to strategizing smartly and implementing the right kind of technology. OddsMatrix offers tools and solutions for bookmakers to create engaging betting products and boost customer engagement through powerful risk management tools, comprehensive sports data APIs, and data and odds feeds. 

In this article, we will explore the intricacies of customer retention as applied to the gambling industry and a few key strategies to keep players engaged and happy. 

Why does customer retention matter in sports betting?

Like any business, betting platforms, too, need a steady flow of customers to keep the lights on. While acquiring and retaining customers can be done in many different ways, most of these initiatives (marketing, advertising, promotions, customer success initiatives, customer surveys, and so on) cost money. Despite the whirlwind of business and industry-adjacent literature covering this issue in fancy words and terminology, all it comes down to is making more money than you’d invested.  

According to research, “acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one“. This line of thinking makes sense even before crunching any numbers. Retaining customers is inherently cheaper because you’re essentially building customer retention flows and processes on top of existing infrastructure, whereas acquiring customers involves marketing and advertising costs that will most likely require outside help. To give a possibly reductive example, it’s the difference between an email activation campaign sent out to registered users and putting up billboards in the city centre. Or turning a few knobs to keep your current customers happy versus hiring an advertising agency to promote your platform on TikTok. 

To fully understand the importance of customer retention, we need to look at the churn rate.

Churn rate, also known as the rate of attrition or customer churn, describes the rate at which customers end their relationship with a product in a particular period. It is often expressed as the percentage of users who cancel their subscriptions within a specific timeframe. In essence, churn rate is the opposite of customer retention. Businesses (particularly in the SaaS niche) look at churn rates by month or quarter to figure out if their customer retention tactics are working. A high churn rate typically heralds disaster for the business because it indicates that more people are choosing to end their relationship with the business in favour of the competition rather than subscribing. 

The kicker is that the gambling industry is, by design, subject to enormous churn rates. For example, online gaming services experience around 40% churn rate “in the first week of their deposits or just after submitting a registration form, i.e., even before placing their first bet. These are the customers who only make one bet and never come back”. This is why the majority of marketing efforts within these betting platforms focus on contacting these customers by adopting holistic, metrics-based approaches. For example, they may look at a customer’s win-loss ratio and form an intervention strategy around it in the form of bonuses, free spins, free credits, free bets, and so on. 

Plus, keeping the right customers within your business’s gravitational pull can have positive spillover effects on your customer acquisition efforts, too. Of course, we’re talking about word-of-mouth marketing, but that’s a discussion for another article. 

Key customer retention challenges faced by bookmakers

Within an increasingly competitive landscape, bookmakers face several challenges when it comes to keeping customers engaged and loyal. Generally, the main challenge is of a technological nature. Established, legacy bookmakers are less willing to invest heavily in new technologies and infrastructure out of fear of alienating legacy, high-paying customers who are used to things a certain way. This results in clunky interfaces and byzantine onboarding processes that can drive newcomers away. On the other side of the spectrum, upcoming bookmakers have the opportunity to build everything from scratch using the latest technologies but lack the industry “clout” of their more established counterparts. 

But this is just one facet of the problem, as it often branches out into multiple, interconnected issues that bookmakers, whether new or established, have to tackle simultaneously:

  • Staying on top of customer preferences. Simply put, it’s a matter of what you offer versus the competition. To gauge customer expectations and adapt, bookmakers (and any SaaS business, for that matter) worth their salt invest in effective customer support contact funnels. This is one of the best ways to determine what players want regarding unique features and personalized promotions. 
  • Meeting technological expectations. As mentioned above, players generally expect a seamless betting experience. The less (bad kind of) friction players experience, the likelier they are to stick with you. In other words, a clean, intuitive UI with a digital infrastructure that supports innovative gaming features will do wonders for your customer retention metrics. 
  • Competing with the entire media landscape. Movies, video games, TV shows, and social media are literally a tap on the screen away – so it can be quite difficult to keep players interested in betting. But the true challenge here is to attract customers while keeping the inherent risks of gambling addiction in mind. In other words, the marketing and the “hooking” mechanisms that every betting platform has in place to attract and retain customers should strike a balance between retention as a goal and the customers’ mental health. 
  • 5 customer retention examples & strategies that you can implement right now

As we previously mentioned, the existing literature on customer engagement is quite dense and can be hard to parse. It essentially revolves around the “science” of spotting patterns within the highly unpredictable domain of human behaviour and capitalizing on them. However, there are processes and flows meant to “predict the unpredictable,” so to speak. 

Invest in A Reliable Sports Data Provider

A sports data provider is a company or service that aggregates, analyzes, and provides sports-related data to betting platforms, sports news sites, media organizations, and other entities operating in adjacent fields.

Sports data providers have become a crucial part of the sports betting ecosystem, and for a good reason. They provide sports betting businesses with valuable intel to help them streamline their operations and create engaging products. More specifically, they are in the business of data – odds data, data feeds, data APIs, tools and solutions designed to sort and contextualise said data, and so on. There’s more to sports data providers than this, but to summarise. If you want to boost customer engagement and retention, purchasing the services of a reliable sports data provider is a must. 

Enter OddsMatrix, the leading sports betting data provider used by thousands of bookmakers and sports betting platform developers. OddsMatrix provides bookmakers with valuable data and tools to help them manage their operations efficiently. 

Here’s a brief overview of OddsMatrix’s key features: 

  • In-live betting (alternatively known as in-play betting): A feature that adds an exciting dimension to sports betting because it allows bettors to place wagers on games as events unfold. OddsMatrix’s in-live betting is possible thanks to our powerful sports data APIs, which aggregate and provide data for a wide range of sports leagues and events – from NFL, NBA to UEFA Champions League and all the major tennis tournaments (Rolland Garros, Australian Open, and so on). 
  • Live sports data: Live scores and schedules, team and individual player performance metrics, and everything in between.
  • Event creation and scheduling: OddsMatrix automates this entire process by generating event listings, assigning market types, and setting opening and closing times for bets. 
  • Live and pre-live odds: Access OddsMatrix’s Odds Feed to quickly strategize and adapt your odds as game events unfold. 
  • Powerful risk management tools: These tools help bookmakers create an engaging, safe, and fair betting environment for customers by providing tools and solutions to proactively address fraudulent behavior and weed out the bad actors. Bookmakers can profile players, monitor betting patterns, and use various activity metrics to spot potentially fraudulent patterns. 

More relevant to this article, OddsMatrix has a suite of tools to help bookmakers optimize their customer retention efforts. Take our sports data widgets, which are suitable for brands with a more content-centric approach to customer acquisition. 

Easy to embed and customisable, OddsMatrix’s sports data widgets provide intuitive and eye-catching data visualisations and stats for a wide variety of sports, leagues, and events, such as live scores, stats, and match events.

Not only do they work across multiple platforms and devices, but we ensure data accuracy by pulling data from multiple pools. Bookmakers using OddsMatrix’s sports data widgets also get highly granular and holistic stats categorised by sport and event. 

Create a tight, intuitive onboarding process

When you open a mobile app, you will often be greeted by a series of introductory screens that explain how the product works. If you’re like most people, you will probably tap Skip when you see it. That introduction process is called onboarding, which is vital for boosting user retention. After all, if you can’t clearly communicate what your product is about and how it differentiates itself from the competition, why should the user stick with you and not take their business elsewhere? 

However, more and more betting app designers abandon this solution for one simple reason: the large majority of betting apps look and behave almost identically. The betting app landscape has become so uniformized in terms of design and functionality that any user with some betting experience will instinctively know where to tap to find their sport of choice and place a bet. 

Still, there is some value in investing time and resources into creating a tight onboarding process precisely because many platforms have abandoned this practice. Here are a few good practices to set up an adequate onboarding flow for your sports betting app:

  • Strike a balance between graphical and text content. Avoid overloading users with information – teach them exactly what they need to know to get started, and build up from this point by presenting “hidden” features.
  • Keep the messaging simple. Don’t reveal everything there is to reveal about your product in one go – reduce the information to the necessary minimum and focus on how betting is simpler and more intuitive on your app. 
  • Data safety. Sports betting, in particular, and the gambling industry, in general, are still marked by negative historical connotations. Emphasize right from the get-go that your app provides a safe, controlled environment for betting and that you take a responsible approach to collecting data. More importantly, explain to users why you are collecting said data. 
  • Reward users for completing the onboarding steps. This is pretty straightforward – users took time out of their busy lives to try out your app, so why not show gratitude through small benefits and rewards? This will demonstrate to users that their effort has been noticed and appreciated.

Introduce new bet types, markets, and tournaments

The sports world is more vast and diverse than ever. Still, most bettors (and betting platforms, too) barely scratch the surface, resorting to “the usual suspects”—popular sports like football, basketball, and hockey. This makes introducing more bet types and markets (and promoting them accordingly) all the more important. 

This is where a sports data provider such as OddsMatrix could be tremendously helpful in providing the kind of diversity and granularity in betting that customers seek. 

OddsMatrix Sports Data APIs give access to thousands of sports events and competitions on a monthly basis, complete with pre-match and live odds updates, real-time score updates, and a wealth of data around which bookmakers can optimize their betting platforms.

OddsMatrix provides coverage for all popular sports and esports competitions, including NFL, NBA, NHL, Formula 1, Snooker, FIFA World Cup, and less popular competitions as well. Our offer includes both pre-live and live events.

On a more macro level, OddsMatrix allows bookmakers to enhance their betting offer with accurate and continuously updated fixtures across thousands of sports, esports leagues, and tournaments. As such, you can expect the following features: 

  • Cross-checked data. We pull score and event data from multiple sources, which is then fact-checked manually by our team of leading trading experts.
  • Fast settlement with minimal bet suspension. Bets are settled automatically, with outcomes offered as early as possible.
  • Aggregate data feeds. We provide bookmakers with the freedom to combine data feeds from multiple sources to generate their odds. 
  • Tweak odds and manage payouts by following your competition and adjusting them to the market level. 
  • Customize your content feed with our widgets by selecting only the data feeds, sports, esport, and tournaments you need.  

Introduce loyalty rewards systems

Loyalty systems are all the rage in the modern app landscape for one simple reason – they’re the cornerstone of customer retention strategies from which nearly all initiatives of this type branch out. These loyalty programs often take the form of point systems, wherein players earn in-app currency the more they play. 

With those points, players could unlock various rewards, such as cashback offers or free bets. You can take it a step further and implement VIP tiers, similar to how competitive multiplayer video games do it. This gives betting an allure of prestige and makes players feel seen and rewarded for their engagement. 

Harness the power of social gaming

The concept of “social gaming” (closely related to online gaming or multiplayer gaming) has existed for a while. At its core, it describes a type of gaming that allows for interactivity between players. 

In sports betting specifically, social gaming is part of a larger trend concerned with gamification. Players not only play with their own odds but can also play with others. They can compare results, compete in public leaderboards, and even play with each other. 

It’s easy to understand why social gaming can boost both in-app engagement and retention and acquisition. By design, social gaming incentivizes organic interaction by virtue of having leaderboards and features through which players can compare their results – not to mention that most betting apps offer easy integration with social media.

Boost your customer engagement & retention metrics with OddsMatrix

OddsMatrix is the leading sports betting data provider for bookmakers and operators looking to retain customers through creative, engaging betting products. If you’re looking for solutions specifically designed to retain customers, look no further than our vast selection of sports data APIs and powerful risk management tools.