This is a guest contribution by Andrew Morgan. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
The World Cup will be the betting event of the year and provides operators and affiliates with a huge opportunity to engage new and existing consumers. Most will now be putting the finishing touches to their battle plans as they look to leverage the global nature of the tournament and deliver high-value content to bettors in markets all over the world.
To succeed, they will have to overcome many hurdles, including creating unique content that spans both desktop and mobile, as well as translating said content, all while fending off stiff competition. It’s a tough task, but with such a huge prize on the table, operators and affiliates will want to rise to the occasion and get their hands on the trophy.
The World Cup will have an adverse effect on usual content production as the entire tournament will be broadcast across television, radio and online. This means users are more likely to consume information in real-time, and operators and affiliates must be able to compete with other media outlets. In short, it will be a very crowded marketplace.
To compete, they should look to launch a dedicated betting service which appeals to both the established punter and novice bettor.
There are many ways to do this, but a combination of written, audio and video content is often the most effective. As well as the usual news, previews and reports, engaging match commentary with a betting perspective can be used to draw potential customers to an affiliate, while Soccer Saturday style TV broadcasts can point people towards good value bets based on the action as it unfolds.
There should also be a good mix of evergreen and real-time content – with the former helping to build brand awareness in the weeks leading up to the event and the latter making it the go-to place for the latest information on the tournament once the evergreen content has built a positive reputation.
A wide variety of content alone is not enough, however. The quality of the content must be high, which is why it should be created by professionals. We always recommended working with experienced writers and journalists who are highly knowledgeable when it comes to sport and in particular football.
This is because they have the skills required to deliver well-written copy that is packed full of the information that readers are seeking. There is a marked difference between the copy produced by a professional compared with someone who writes in their spare time. Journalists may charge more for their services, but it is a price worth paying.
This content must also be accurately translated; the World Cup is global in nature and there is a known demand for content across multiple territories and in multiple languages. For those looking to leverage the World Cup and expand into new markets, good quality translation must be a top priority if they are to engage punters.
This is because the key to success lies in their ability to drive trust among bettors. Established operators and affiliates are often trusted by consumers, but when entering new markets this is not a given. People are naturally suspicious of online sports betting sites and content that is poorly translated – spelling mistakes, poor grammar, etc – deters engagement.
That is why you should always work with native translators, but also those who understand the betting industry. It is often the case that specific betting terminology simply doesn’t translate from one language to another, but knowledgeable native translators will know the correct vocabulary to help overcome this. They can also ensure any message is not lost in translation.
That said, operators and affiliates must recognise that what works in one market may not work in another and that direct translations of certain content simply won’t work.
This is particularly pertinent when it comes to the World Cup, as thinking outside the box can create more opportunities. Using the UK market as an example, games involving the Egyptian national team may not be of high interest, but if the focus is switched to Egypt and Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah then interest around these games can be significantly piqued.
Again, this is why it is so important to work with native translators who understand the market in their territories. Not only are they best placed to translate content accurately, but they also know what works in each market and to maximise the opportunities at hand.
Content must also be mobile-optimised. Most people now have access to the internet and we have seen a boom in smartphone penetration across the world. This is particularly true across key demographics and in high-growth markets such as Latin America and Africa.
In these regions, content must be created with a mobile first approach. I am talking about short, punchy articles that are easy to digest and don’t require excessive scrolling on behalf of the reader. Images and illustrations are great, but file sizes must be as small as possible, particularly as mobile data can be patchy in some countries.
It is also important to display as much content on the opening screen as possible, hooking people in with a strong headline and opening paragraph in a way that’s arguably less important on desktop.
Translation is just as important on mobile, particularly as this is the means through which the majority of people now consume content.
Take South Africa, for example, where mobile is becoming an increasingly dominant betting channel. The country has 11 official languages, Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
Those wanting to create a fully personalised service in this region must translate content into each language, a huge feat in itself.
A helping hand:
For those looking for a helping hand, translation memory tools are a good start.
These are databases that store segments – sentences, paragraphs, phrases – that have previously been translated. This can be useful but they must not be over-relied upon.
Translation software often creates poor translations that are out of context and grammatically incorrect, particularly in terms of that all-important localisation. Checking is therefore a must.
Of course, operators and affiliates will need to consider the risk/reward, cost/benefit analysis when it comes to how they approach translation, particularly during the World Cup. But with the opportunity to engage new punters and readers across high growth markets through an event that occurs just once every four years, it really should be a priority.
Andrew Morgan, International Director at Independent Content Services, says translation should be a key consideration for operators and affiliates looking to capitalise on the World Cup.