With the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament about to kick-off, sportsbooks will look to a variety of outbound and inbound channels to engage with fans and generate excitement.
But according to Ross O’Connor, Director of Account Management at engagement specialists Xtremepush, it’s the old workhorse SMS that may yet prove to be the not-so secret weapon.
He told SBC that at every major football tournament, you always see the same favourites, reliables like France, Spain and Italy. And in terms of customer engagement, operators have their favourite channels too, however he believes that there are fewer channels that have performed as consistently well as SMS.
SBC: Why does SMS perform so well?
RO: It’s the high-visibility factor of SMS that means it performs so well. Consumers read their SMS messages, and that’s true for brands in every vertical, not just sports betting and gaming. In terms of jostling for real-estate on a consumer’s device, an SMS inbox is far less competitive than email is, for example.
Because there is a hard, fixed-cost to SMS, fewer brands actually use it. When you factor all of this in, open rates of 90% and above aren’t uncommon”.
SBC: What kinds of SMS campaigns are sportsbooks sending out?
RO: The tournament may only last 4 weeks, but of course, the preparation and the build-up, for fans and operators alike, starts a good bit earlier. Right now, we’re seeing lots of pre-tournament boosts and offers going out via SMS, which are proving very effective. This period, the week before it starts, is the sweet spot for engaging fans and promoting odds on overall winner, top scorer and so on.
As we get closer to the opening fixture, you’ll start to see more campaigns around specific games and first to score. The big winner for sportsbooks will be the in-play stuff. So we’re expecting to see a lot of real-time and in-game event-driven campaigns sent through our platform, in addition to the half-time sends which are now almost standard fare.
SBC: Do you have any other engagement tips for sportsbooks over the coming weeks?
RO: We’re vocal advocates of push messaging, no surprises there, and actually the very best results typically come when both push and SMS are used in conjunction with one another. We always recommend a multichannel approach, with any campaign. So that’s something we’ve been working on with sportsbooks as they’ve built out their strategy for the tournament.
Amongst our own clients, the anticipation around this tournament has been massive. I think everyone in the industry appreciates how important it is, and what a huge loss it was last year. We’re just delighted that it’s been able to happen and we trust that it will be a huge success for all involved.