It’s around that time of year when every man and his dog are forecasting the next big thing and how the impending twelve months will pan out.
This is the case in pretty much all walks of life. From sport to stocks and just about everything in-between, it seems that we can’t help but take a punt at what’s going to happen in the future. The iGaming industry is no different and there’s never any shortage of industry professionals, visionaries and gurus lining up to have their say.
But while it’s all a nice exercise for the predictor, after all it provides you with the motivation to actually think about these subjects in depth yourself and make plans accordingly, are they worth viewing for the average industry-involved reader?
First off, it’s worth considering what said reader would be looking for when reading up on predictions for the following year. The first reason that springs to mind is so that they can act on what they see to make better business decisions. However, in order to do so you have to be sure that the source of the information is reliable – simply put, you have to determine whether the predictor knows what they’re talking about.
Fortunately most people in iGaming that make predictions are able to do so because they have a platform – a criteria that tends to weed most out. After all, if a black hat SEO wannabe posts some predictions on their blog, the chances are that you’re not going to see it. On the other hand, someone in a high profile position will most likely be there for a reason and it’s bound to be far easier to chance across their musings than those of the former.
The next part of providing the reader with valuable information is to actually stick your neck out there and make specific predictions. There’s little worse than wishy-washy paragraphs about how mobile use is going to increase or that the challenge of social gaming will be to monetise. We know that. In fact, it would probably be more of a feat not to know those things.
If you actually care about the idea behind what you’re doing, be more specific; tell us something we don’t know. Perhaps bring our attention to some software or a tool that will make lives easier, a B2B company that we should be working with or marketing technique that’s going to rise to prominence.
In an ideal world, these predictions would be based on solid evidence too. This doesn’t necessarily need to be hoards of data sets but some logical reasoning behind the statement would be nice. Having said that, it’s fair to say that even if it’s just a gut feeling, that would be of interest to most if the predictor is a credible source. For example, if Matt Cutts told us all that he thought mobile-specific sites will rank better in mobile searches, you’d better listen.
The Current Crop
The most recent set of iGaming New Year/2013 predictions meet these rough guidelines with varying success. Most that you’ll come across are from a credible source and there’s often some form of reasoning behind them. However, specific predictions that can provide instant help are a bit thin on the ground – it’s all a bit holistic.
The sort of stuff we’re looking for would be things like:
“PPC keywords such as ‘online casino’ aren’t what they used to be. The quality of traffic isn’t great and definitely doesn’t justify the high CPA’s that we see for these type of keywords. A slightly cheaper and more effective alternative is likely to be more longtail keywords such as ‘best casino bonuses’, ‘best blackjack games’ and so on.”
And rather than saying ‘mobile is going to be big’, a bit of statistics would be greatly appreciated by anyone looking for a helping hand. Who knows, it could even specify the initial prediction – thus making it even more helpful. For example:
“Focus on iPhones before you get started on Android. Statistics from Affiliate Window showed that in the first three weeks of December 2012 a third of traffic across their network came from iPhones. This coupled with the proportion of transactions being made on mobiles increasing to above 10% for the first time makes the iPhone scream for attention in 2013.”
A redeeming fact for those in the iGaming industry who have been guilty of these faults is that they’re certainly not alone. These criticisms could be put equally across most predictions that are made in any walk of life bar perhaps sport (where objectivity is the name of the game).
Overall, there is plenty to be learnt for those in the iGaming industry when sifting through the thoughts various industry visionaries. The challenge is to determine the wheat from the chaff and to have the vision to be able to adapt predictions that may not be specific to your to suit your needs. When done successfully, it’s amazing what ideas you can garner from listening to the thoughts of others, regardless of their motivation.
Predictions worth Paying Attention To
Calvin Ayre –The man who lends his name to this very site, but that isn’t the only reason that he’s included here. Ayre certainly knows his way around the iGaming industry and his track record speaks for itself. Calvin is always the first port of call for iGaming predictions and it’s not hard to see why – after all, when it comes to looking at the industry as a whole no one really comes close.
This year’s predictions take in just about all the major issues and are, commendably, very specific in parts – definitely worth a look.
Dave Naylor – the first stop for SEO. He did a webinar this week in which he briefly looked back at predictions from last year and he wasn’t far wrong in some cases, particularly regarding Google SERPs. Always interesting but you do have to dig in order to get some action points.
Global Betting and Gaming Consultants – Warwick Bartlett, Lorien Pilling and more recently Jana Sedlakova are always providing extremely well researched articles. The latter recently had an in-depth chat with Sigrid Ligne and Clive Hawkswood on the regulatory developments acrossEuropewhich will make for very interesting reading to those concerned.
Simon Burridge – The CEO of Virgin Games doesn’t always come to the fore too regularly with lengthy pieces but when he does they’re certainly worth a browse. As well as using broader statistics, Burridge often draws on his own company’s experiences. Hopefully he’ll continue to offer his thoughts following the purchase of Virgin Games by Gamesys.