How operators can encourage engagement during major sporting events
21 May 2021
Now almost in the middle of 2021, sports fans are finally able to start watching their favourite sports in person! With the sporting calendar updated for this year, we have a lot to look forward to, such as The Euros, NBA finals and Wimbledon to start with a few!
March Madness, the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National have already taken place earlier this year. These types of events are very popular and draw a significant number of viewers over multiple days, live on TV and across streaming services.
Every year, we’re spoilt for choice with major sporting tournaments. Many of them last up to a week or longer. There are hundreds of different events for fans to watch, such as the Open, ICC World Test Championship and the playoffs across major US sports.
These events are particularly important for sports betting operators as they can bring lots of interaction to their products. Sportsbooks experience increased activity during these events as more customers come to place bets.
To keep the momentum going and make the most of the customer interactions, operators need to be constantly driving engagement on their products. In order to achieve positive results, operators need to ensure their websites and apps meet customer needs and offer a great betting experience. Moreover, they need to be adding value by offering fun and engaging features to keep the fans entertained.
In this blog, we review what operators can do to offer an excellent user experience and create lots of engagement during major tournaments on their website or app.
Create an eye-catching homepage
It is important that these big events stand out on the home page. Operators need to draw the customer’s attention to them as there’s a high chance they attract new punters that have not yet learnt where these opportunities live within the navigation. They will rely on the homepage to find the content they came to the site for. The event promotion needs to be clearly visible from landing on the home page.
Operators must include the basic UX features that are required for a customer to successfully place a bet. This means ensuring that every person that visits an operator’s website or app expects to clearly see the following: Sign in/Register, Deposit/Wallet, Navigation bar or Menu, and clear Calls To Action. Having a clear navigation, labelling, as well as offering intuitive UX and UI will ensure customers find their favourite event in no time which can help to retain existing customers and convert new ones.
Also, it’s important to use eye-catching imagery. It is a simple yet effective way to promote big events. Operators should showcase a relevant, clear image of the sport, event or tournament with prominent CTAs. This would inform fans where they can find any sports betting content within the operator’s product.
A step up from imagery would be to use animation or video to create interaction and grow engagement. Creating content that has moving elements draws the customer in and creates a fun, interactive experience. It is something extra that adds to the excitement of following an event and enhances the overall betting experience.
It is important to note that player props and price boosts (e.g. American, special markets) can be really popular. Having bespoke bet options on a homepage is a great way for customers to find engaging, unique and time relevant content to bet on. It’s also an opportunity for a bookmaker to show how they differentiate from the rest, offering better value, more variety in the markets or unusual betting opportunities. These might also entice new customers to return to the sportsbook for more events in the future.
Be creative with a dedicated event site or app
Another way of creating lots of great engagement and offering something fun for the customers is creating a separate microsite or app dedicated to one of these big events.
Operators can get creative with the design and the features it could offer without being limited to their standard product or platform. These could not only display all the key event information, live scores, odds, markets, promotions and so on, but they could offer customers more interaction to bring this event to life.
However, it is essential that operators bear in mind that customers still want to feel connected to the operator’s site. The user experience needs to flow and make sense when switching between the main site and the external one. Branding also needs to be in line with the operator’s visual style, however, there is an opportunity to be more creative and feel fresh, utilising the event’s branding too.
Using interactive content is a good way to do this. Customers enjoy engaging with brackets, wall charts and prediction content that they can review against their peers and track through the competition. Similarly, sweepstake generators or other content that punters can share among their friends or colleagues would offer additional value, as well as creating more interaction with the operator and awareness of their brand.
In fact, we have experienced engagement from creating a sweepstake generator. In 2020, we created a Virtual Grand National Sweepstake that was aimed at bringing together teams that were working remotely during this period. We created an opportunity for everyone to get together in the event and raise funds for the NHS.
Another positive outcome to creating a separate microsite or app is the fact it is a good way to expose customers to other products. Operators have the opportunity to cross-sell different sports, products or games to their customers. As a result, this will drive their lifetime value whilst improving the customer experience at the same time.
Provide integrated live content
Another way of bringing a tournament or event to life is offering customers to follow it as it unfolds. Lots of operators offer live statistics, data feeds and streaming services for in-play matches which have been proven to be very successful in boosting customer engagement, as well as offering a fun betting experience.
These integrated services or regularly curated content can offer lots of value for the operators to create more action on their product pages. For example, LiveScore, a real-time score provider, has a new section on their app for streamed content. This is a great way to encourage customers to watch the game and place bets from the same product. Live streaming has grown explosively over the years and it will continue to rise, so bookmakers need to keep this in mind. This is especially useful during the times when fan attendance in person might be limited.
Overall, there are many different factors that operators should consider to encourage engagement during major tournaments and sporting events. The UX and design of the homepage should be eye-catching and draw customers in, especially for new customers that only join a sportsbook for a specific event. Imagery and video content is a great way to draw extra attention to an event page and live content should be available throughout the tournament to provide a dynamic experience.
In addition to best practice UX and UI, operators should consider tournament specific products or microsites that allow more interaction than just a bet placement journey, this gives fans a reason to return and share content amongst friends and family.
Major tournaments and sporting events give operators a chance to be creative for short intense periods and when executed well, can have a huge impact on acquisition and retention.
At Degree 53, we understand the importance of a well-designed sportsbook and the significance of the user experience. We have worked on a number of projects to improve the UX and UI for our clients, thus creating a more fun experience for their customers.
Get in touch if you have any questions or if you want to do something creative for an upcoming tournament or sporting event!