iGaming Industry in the Time of COVID-19

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Whilst the sporting world falls silent, the Esports world has seen a surge in activity due to social distancing mandates.

As you are reading this, In the United States stadiums have been dormant for over two weeks, effectively silenced by Covid-19. The same thing is happening in Europe, with a vast number of sporting events cancelled, or postponed until further notice.

But don’t underestimate the ability of the industry to adapt to the new world we live in. The online gaming world has seen record surges in activity. Thomas Wilde, of GeekWire reported that Steam, the online gaming distribution and community service run by Valve, had an all-time peak number of users online during the weekend of March 14, hitting a high of 20.3 million simultaneous players on the afternoon of March 15. Impressive numbers for this sector.

For Sports betting operators this surge in online gaming represents an opportunity to satisfy the needs of their customers, who are, in many cases stuck at home as a result of social distancing directives.

The Opportunity Is Esports

There are some quick wins for those operators that already have an Esports offering on their websites and mobile applications.  For those that do not, there is an opportunity to add that offering.   

Here are some ideas worth considering:

  • Make your Esports offering more prominent. This could be a simple as moving the Esports link in the navigation higher up in the pecking order, swapping places with a sport that has little or no events scheduled in the near future.  Quite a few sites have Esports links hidden ‘below the fold’.  Change that. Do it quickly. 
  • Consider adding a separate section or ‘page’ for Esports.  Many would have done this for large sports events that have now been cancelled. Pivot quickly and do it for Esports.  It is almost its own ‘event’ right now, it is that big. 
  • Add more content.  Feed providers offer engaging content, statistics, game results and more.  All of this will drive both acquisition and engagement metrics.  
  • Digital marketing. Revisit your organic and paid media strategy to see if you can optimize your Esports initiatives. 
  • Content.  There will be an upsurge in ‘newbies’, add some helpful content that helps users who are new to the Esports thing. 
  • Socialize it within the organization and get all your product, marketing and content teams involved as you would for a large sporting event.  
  • Cross-sell Esports from your casino lobbies, poker lobbies, etc. (both directions of course) 
  • Act. Don’t fall into the trap of turning this into a month-long, big bang project.  Prioritize your work around what gives you the greatest value quickly.  Think about the cost of delay when prioritizing your work, that usually helps when deciding what to do first. 
  • Reach out to a supplier that can help you with development, data integrations, UX/UI and performance marketing to supplement your own resources.  The quicker you can do that, the faster you will create value for your customers. 
  • Don’t forget – “When you can’t change the direction of the wind – adjust your sails,” H. Jackson Brown, Jr 
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