thinking beyond classic affiliate user journey

thinking beyond classic affiliate user journey

by 29.10.2020 0 comments

In this month’s Better Collective Spotlight we had a chat with Edward Fowler (pictured), Marketing Technology Lead at Better Collective, to discuss the future of omnichannel marketing, and to gain a better understanding of how the company utilises it for US facing sports betting information site VegasInsider.com.

SBC: Better Collective has developed massively in recent years. Can you give a brief introduction to how that affects your marketing efforts?

EF: As Better Collective shifts from our historic iGaming affiliate background towards a sports betting media group, this has allowed us to spend some time thinking about what this means as a business and more specifically on how we view and treat users. 

With our acquisitions, our revenue streams have diversified (from mainly affiliate marketing) to US assets now including SaaS and subscription models (RotoGrinders.com), an approach you typically see from more traditional news media and products with premium, gated content to purchase (as for VegasInsider.com) to enhance the sports betting experience.

The shift allowed us to take a step back and think beyond the classic affiliate user journey that promotes partners and build up customer data which we can use to improve the entire experience, build loyalty and retain users across our brands. 

As we value users beyond a one-time visit, we are increasingly building our products and marketing strategies around providing them with great experiences to ultimately increase engagement and retention.

SBC: Okay, so how does this work in practice? Particularly for the US facing sites that you mention?

EF: VegasInsider.com is a prime example of this, it’s a leader in the US for sports betting and gambling news and media. After the acquisition last year, we spent time diving into our historical 1st party data to try and uncover a better understanding of our users. 

In turn, this gave us the insights to better leverage data to improve the customer experience. We then started to look at how we could open up VegasInsider to focus on retention and diversify the ways in which we engage and attract users across other channels.

One of our successful campaigns has been focused on new user acquisition, with a simple lead generation initiative offering a free daily pick upon email sign up served via an exit modal. This is served on content where we identified user intent or context that matched an interest in sports picks, and therefore this value exchange we knew would convert. 

This simple value exchange has allowed us to get that initial hook from our customers, which in turn we then use to continuously profile and better understand their betting interests and behaviour through preference collection and continuous feedback loops. This then allows us to further understand how we can best engage with our audience.

From here, this branches out well beyond a free pick, and allows us to serve intelligent alerts and notifications personalised to the users’ profile and preferences. The results have been great, with conversion rate being well above average site traffic numbers – and it is all simply down to ensuring we understand our users and serve users with contextual, relevant content and use customer data to provide a personalised experience.

SBC: How are you serving this contextual data across various digital touchpoints? And what makes this omnichannel approach so beneficial for the users?

EF: The biggest benefit for our users is that they’re no longer limited to a one-dimensional experience. Beyond us covering different channels, I think the value comes down to how we’re using our data to personalise content. And we are providing users information and content they truly want.

Obviously, it’s more expensive to spend on acquisition than it is to retain an existing customer. The smallest increase in retention on our larger sites can, therefore, play a significant role in driving revenue. 

We’re aware that customer expectations change, and it is imperative our offering suits users in whichever way they want to digest content. As we continue to collect this data, we’re able to provide streamlined, relevant product recommendations and great editorial content to complement this to give the customer an enhanced experience.

Importantly, this needs to be available on whatever channel preferred by the users, e.g. emails, push notifications, SMS and chatbots.

SBC: And finally, how does all this shape the future of marketing? Both for Better Collective and the wider industry?

EF: I’d say the change of consumers and their expectations is what’s leading to the biggest changes in marketing, and more specifically all departments in a business needing to have a focus around customer experience. 

It’s far from new, but yet to be adopted well. For our industry – and more specifically for Better Collective – this comes down to understanding the wealth of customer data we have, and structuring it in a way where we can use it to offer personalisation and behaviour based experiences, which in the end will give the users the best experience possible. 

This year particularly has seen such shifts in user behaviour and interactions, with brands adapting as the customer expects all interactions to be effortless. This is why we’re focused on better using our data to provide better CX across our channels, which will undoubtedly drive loyalty in the long term.

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