MODQs – Where will US iGaming traffic come from?

modqs-us-igaming-traffic-coming-fromAlthough online gambling is already up and running in Nevada it hasn’t had much of an impact on the wider iGaming world. A fluctuating population of around 2,750,000 people as well as the best selection of land-based gambling options in the country was never going to create a major market.

But with almost four times that number of people in New Jersey and plenty of operators champing at the bit to be ready for the November 26 launch date, the Garden State’s iGaming market appears to be a different market completely.

The market size of New Jersey makes it so much more significant than Nevada has been so far. The desire of Steve Wynn to buy his way into the state’s online gambling activities through 888 and Caesars while leaving the Nevada market untouched for the moment says volumes about where he sees the US iGaming industry setting up shop.

While the legal and technical teams have by no means finished their work, the time has now begun for the marketers of those who look set to launch in New Jersey in late November to start putting their acquisition plans into place. It appears that the great US iGaming traffic buy is about to begin. But for companies that have already established huge customer databases, will they see the need for a range of acquisition strategies? And if so, where might prove most profitable?

Offline activity

The way that New Jersey and Nevada have created licences means that in order to gain an iGaming license you have to have an offline presence and this looks to be a formula that most other states will follow in one way or another. By default this means all of them are existing business and should have existing customer bases that are keen on the type of gambling activities that are now or soon to be offered online.

These casinos that form all or part of licensed companies would be fools not to tap into such a targeted customer selection as their regular clients. But they certainly shouldn’t be thinking that this will provide them with all of the customers that they’ll need to be a success. Location, social comfort, level of interest and even a dislike of casino hospitality are just some of the potential reasons that people that stay away from land-based casinos may be encouraged to log in online.

As with pretty much any marketing mix, offline advertising should not be ignored. However, this is a pretty unexplored area in that online advertising is usually used to drive offline sales. In the case of iGaming it’s the other way around and television adverts that we tend to see in the UK and Europe may be considered too much of an expensive risk for US operators just starting out. The lack of sports betting will also make it harder to create offline adverts that really engage consumers.

Online Options

A traditional go-to source of traffic for new online gambling brands has always been affiliates – unfortunately for the new US operators, they’re going to be few and far between. Licensing is complex and expensive plus the licensed affiliates will be in a similar, if not even worse, situation to the operators in that they will be without a recognisable and trustworthy brand. Any affiliate that is already known to online gamblers within the US will have been working with operators in an unregulated environment so we can forget about them receiving a license any time soon.

Having already launched in Nevada, Caesars are among those expecting to be ready for the November 26 launch in New Jersey and are already working on putting online campaigns in place. Caesars have stressed the importance of brand awareness, which will obviously be meaning that a significant percentage of their advertising budget will be going on display ads in the near future.

Sensibly Caesars are treating knowledge as a goal with understanding and insight being among the aims for their initial campaigns. Data on location, behaviour, latency and creative among other aspects are all going to be of key importance.

Obviously, the places where these ads are going to be important and networks will provide impressions, they aren’t necessarily going to be seen by the right people. For this operators will have to look towards similar forms of gaming online. At times the links may be tenuous but free-play games, fantasy sports and lottery sites could all be big referral sites for operators and can expect to see plenty of direct ad buys over the next couple of months.

Of course without a license affiliate deals may be off the table but fixed CPMs, CPAs and even a form of revenue share (whereby each month’s payment is adjusted based unofficially on the previous month’s players and earnings) are all possibilities. Bearing this in mind, if you’re not one of the few giant corporations hoping to exploit a regulated US iGaming landscape, there’s still reason to get excited.