Cipher Sports creating a collaborative route to successful sportsbook partnerships

Cipher Sports Convertr
Adam Fiske of Cipher Sports Technology Group
Adam Fiske

With so many MarTech products already available and new, but seemingly familiar, tools being pitched to them on an almost weekly basis, sportsbook marketing teams could be forgiven for assuming there is nothing innovative left for them to try. But Adam Fiske, CEO of Cipher Sports Technology Group, has news for those who believe they’ve seen everything.

The company is best known as an affiliate, thanks to brands such as the US-facing and the Australian platform Stats Insider, but it is far more than a simple clicks for CPAs operation. Both Hypometer Technologies and iRival Media – the two companies that merged to form Cipher Sports Technology Group last year – had always had a real tech focus and that is becoming even more evident in 2023.

Cipher’s latest big news is the launch of the Convertr marketing platform, which opens up a host of new possibilities by enabling secure data matching collaborations between companies working in partnership – such as licensed sportsbooks and their many media, team, and league partners. 

The platform provides betting operators with the ability to connect and securely collaborate with data outside of their own organization, including customer profiles held by their partners. That matched information can then be used to create customized campaigns for active, dormant, and potential new players.

Explaining the thinking behind Convertr, Fiske said: “There are so many great partnerships in our space happening at the moment, especially in the US, with the way that leagues, operators, and media companies are working together. But what they haven’t been able to do is work out a way to actually use the customer data together to get more out of those partnerships. 

“We’ve been able to build a platform that allows two businesses to upload their data without customer data ever being shared, because it’s double encrypted using the best standards worldwide.”

While an individual’s data is not shared between the partner organizations, it can be matched to inform the messaging that is delivered to them. A sort of CRM, but for customers you don’t yet have. 

“An example could be FanDuel and MLS,” Fiske continued. “We can match their data and find out which customers do and don’t have a FanDuel account, and MLS can then send out some communication on their behalf. If they’ve got an account already, maybe they get a personalized offer, perhaps a retention or reactivation offer – to come back and bet again.

“There are other things that can be shared, such as a fan’s favorite team, because MLS has a level of data about who you support. So how do we focus a message based on that team? Perhaps we can categorize them even better – if, for example, the fan is a small-time bettor, they can be sent an offer with a value that makes sense for them around their favorite team. That’s the concept behind it.” 

Other possible uses include the ability for operators to reach dormant customers, who are probably sick of seeing the standard CRM emails, with targeted reactivation messages via a partner. The chance to communicate with those customers using “the independent authority of a partner, whether that’s with ESPN or with us at” is something that Fiske is particularly excited by. 

“Let’s look at segmentation and some level of personalization outside of the operator’s current assets – we think that can be really interesting,” he said. “It just wouldn’t be possible without the incredible SaaS-type platform that our developers have built to utilize data from both partners’ subscriptions and registrations, and to make it really simple to use for marketers.”

The Convertr platform, which was built utilizing technology from h Australian tech company IXUP, is currently being piloted by a number of organizations. Cipher anticipates a full launch later this year. 

Turning data into player engagement

The Convertr app won’t take Cipher’s entire focus though, as the company will continue to run and further develop its range of statistics-based products for consumers, operators, media companies, and sports leagues. Its own affiliate sites are a great example of how those products deliver real value to users. 

“Simply speaking, Cipher Sports Technology Group develops data-lead fan engagement products. We do that by taking machine learning, AI, and predictive analytics to develop predictions, projections, and probabilities,” explained Fiske.

“That all sounds really complex, right? But we take that and make it really easy for a user to consume, transforming it into relatable content using beautiful products, beautiful design, graphics, and things like that.

“Complex data is what we do in our own products, including and Stats Insider, and then we partner with other companies that have similar audiences of sports fans.”

Among them are a number of US sportsbook operators, who embed Cipher’s projections and probability data into their apps. This independent information is designed to give players the reassurance of feeling informed before they place a wager, while it also makes the whole user experience more engaging.  

Fiske said: “Players know the information is coming from an independent source rather than the operator and we’ve found that having predictive betting action content increases the size of people’s bets. 

“You’re talking to an audience here that’s still pretty new to betting. US sports fans understand stats and data alright, they’re miles ahead of most markets on that front. But how do we provide them with information that can help to make them a follower or potentially even make a bet as well, data that helps them to make a decision?

“Data can be scary, with predictions, projections etc – what does all that mean? So we focus on making it really easy to understand. Nice visuals and graphics, nice user experience, all very clean.”

Taking on America

While the company remains Australian at heart, with its global headquarters in Melbourne, Cipher has a major focus on sports betting states in the US. In addition to established working relationships with large US operators, it recently announced a partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS) to publish content on the organization’s new online betting hub.

“The MLS deal is hopefully the first of many for us,” said Fiske. “We’ve helped them build out an online betting hub, which is something we are aligned on. We both identified the opportunity to use betting content to grow fandom, grow membership, and grow the TV audience. 

“They understood the importance of that content coming from somewhere other than MLS and needed someone independent to provide it. We are able to do that for them. We already covered MLS on other platforms, and are now using that experience to produce deeper, richer, more engaging content that is published in more places. 

“We’re starting with a website, but really we want to talk about how this data, this content makes its way into our podcasts, videos, and things like that.”

The idea of sports wagering to boost fan engagement levels and grow audience numbers has been talked about extensively by everyone from the big four leagues through to competitions such as NASCAR, the PGA Tour, and the UFC, as well as some college sports. Fiske believes there is plenty of mileage in the concept. 

“When we work with the leagues, we’re looking at two things to create fandom. The first is existing customers of, for example, MLS and how do we get them to become recreational bettors, because once they have skin in the game they are more engaged,” he said.

“With people who aren’t following MLS, how do we get someone who is already betting on the NBA, the NFL, the MLB, and get them to follow MLS as well? How do we create a new fan?” 

Fiske does not claim to have the perfect answers just yet, but with Convertr and its selection of data-powered betting content, Cipher Sports Technology Group certainly has the tools to tackle those questions more effectively than most.