Flatiron Gaming: avoiding marketing pitfalls ahead of NFL 2023-2024

Source: Shutterstock
Max Barkoff, Flatiron Gaming

The NFL 2023-2024 season starts this week and US sportsbooks are hard at work preparing for another hyper-competitive season. What are they facing? 

More markets, more operators and a more competitive advertising landscape for marketers seeking to attract new players, retain last season’s players and win back lost players.

Writing for SBC Americas, Max Barkoff – Partner at Flatiron Gaming, the leading digital agency for US real money gaming – pinpoints the three big mistakes that US marketers have made in the run-up to the NFL season. He then gives his advice on how to make the most of your sportsbook marketing budget.

Go beyond cost per first-time-depositor, take into account projected player LTV

The vast majority of sportsbook marketers are focussed on spending marketing dollars towards cost per first-time-depositor targets (CPF). While this is an important metric that indicates short-term success, it’s merely a surface one that doesn’t indicate if a player even plays or what their future play value will be. 

When marketers solely focus on early funnel conversion events, they ignore player quality and retention – the latter of which is becoming an increasingly important point of focus for US sportsbooks.

These short-term decisions may give the impression of short-term success, but it ultimately leads to a player base with higher than expected value deterioration in year two and beyond, leading to decreased profitability in the long-term. 

To get around this, you need to take a long-term view on your player base and take projected lifetime value (LTV) into account.

Get creative! 

What we’ve seen over the last few years is that many sportsbook advertisers are rolling out ads which, quite frankly, are incredibly similar to one another. As a result, the end consumers feel somewhat fatigued which results in a lower conversion rate.

In this hyper-competitive landscape, a lack of differentiation when it comes to your advertising creatives will throttle your sportsbook marketing success. 

So how do you stand out? The answer to this question may be easier said than done. But you need to get creative with your ads. 

Test more creatives, each of which has a broader range of visual distinction. This will enable marketers to stand out from the crowd, capture more attention, and drive better results

Something to avoid is deploying the same adverts across multiple platforms too. Your adverts on Facebook shouldn’t be the same as the creatives you use on Twitter, Reels or TikTok. Localization has been a popular buzzword for 2023, and it’s very apt for this scenario.

Promo pitfalls

One pitfall that many advertisers fall into when looking to lower cost per acquisition (CPA) is increasing promo value to attract users. 

Whilst this may reduce CPA in the short term, it will have a drastic effect on your player profitability and leaves you more likely to attract low-value promo hunters. As we all know, these types of customers don’t bet on one site for too long.

Try experimenting with time-based promos. Test out campaigns that make promotions earned over time, which will encourage long-term retention. Experiential offers that don’t have individual costs for each new player are also an option – this not only helps build engagement but is likely to keep players coming back.

Marketers should also try to avoid promo complexity. Try not to introduce an offer where the player’s expectation greatly differs from the actual promo once you take into account all the rules and stipulation. 

Instead, make sure your offers are clear and easy to understand – this avoids any confusion and, by extension, means customers are less likely to add negative reviews and ratings to your mobile apps.

Retention, retention, retention 

As we approach the NFL 2023-24 season, marketers and sportsbooks really need to be placing retention strategies under the microscope. There isn’t much point in spending all that money acquiring players, only to then lose them after their first bet! To find out more, contact the Flatiron Gaming team.