Engaging the Esports Audience: GG.BET’s Comprehensive Approach

The global esports betting market is currently valued at US$12.8 billion (£10.8 billion). The industry serves over 500 million bettors annually, and with a predicted compound annual growth rate of 13.7 percent between 2023 and 2030, it is one of the fastest-growing gambling sectors.

Betting on esports offers greater and richer potential outcomes than gambling on many traditional sports, which are limited, for example, by factors such as total game time.

Today a lot of betting companies are trying to get their place in the betting esports market. The number of competitors is growing in this surging market. But few of them have a good product for esports wagering.

Dmytro Voshkarin,               CEO at GGBET UA

GG.BET is a notable exception. The UK-based company is making giant strides in the market, leading the way, providing authenticity, quality product and a high-quality customer journey.

To learn more about GG.BET’s unique offering and their winning approach to capturing and retaining esports bettors, iGF’s Head of Content, Curtis Roach, sat down with Dmytro Voshkarin, CEO at GGBET UA, in an exclusive tête-a-tête.

Curtis began by asking Dmytro:

GG.BET has made great progress in being able to sustainably engage with the esports community. Why do you think so many other operators have struggled to be viewed as authentic esports brands? What can be done to improve this going forward?

“Being an authentic esports brand means thinking like an esports player. No amount of external research will achieve the kind of in-depth understanding of the industry that you get from having actual gamers on your staff. A lot of our team members play games, as well as follow and bet on esports, so when it comes to product and brand development, we’re really doing it for ourselves.

“We organise multiple online and offline events for our customers. As the sponsor of a tournament operator, we don’t stop at logo placement and video ads in streams. We work proactively with our ambassadors, our partners NAVI and Team Vitality, and top esports media outlets to produce a huge amount of creative content. For example, we partnered with HLTV during the first CS2 Major to generate more than 400 posts on social media that got more than 5 million views, even though we weren’t actually officially sponsoring the tournament.

“The esports industry would develop faster if more industry players took a creative approach to partnerships. It makes sense for bookmaker brands to further their cooperation with esports organisations and tournament operators. They need to find new ways to interact with audiences, not just by relying on their partners’ media presence, but actually using them to bring real benefits to the community. At the same time, esports teams need to work on promoting themselves like athletes in more “traditional” sports, who have long since mastered the art of establishing a personal brand.

“Audiences need media personalities. There are plenty of impressive esports athletes who could fill this role. Take our partners NAVI, for example – specifically, Justinas Lekavičius, aka jL, named MVP at the first CS2 Major in history. After he won the tournament, his emotional reaction went viral in the media and on social networks, and fans have already started actively buying merchandise featuring what he said. When players achieve this kind of media presence, it presents opportunities for partner projects and attracts new investment to esports.”

How important are brand partnerships when attempting to engage the esports audience? What sort of media deals and projects has GG.BET got involved in, and how have they helped you better reach this audience?

“Industry partners are essential for any bookmaker brand. They help build brand awareness and an association with esports. It’s not just about product placement, but about finding professionals and like-minded individuals who can help take esports to the next level, creating great content and projects for the audience. For example, we’re already looking forward to the upcoming BLAST Premier: Spring Final in London, where the GG.BET brand has a number of activities planned. Every year, our BLAST Premier partners take their tournaments up a notch. The show these guys put on never fails to surprise and amaze even the most exacting Counter-Strike fans.

“As well as top teams and tournament operators, the GG.BET brand partners with leading esports media outlets. In 2023, Dot Esports helped us create 50 CS:GO World Records, an online project dedicated to the most significant achievements in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The project captured the attention of the esports community, and the record holders shared the records they had achieved on their social media.

“We partnered with the aforementioned HLTV – the most well-known Counter-Strike media resource – to produce coverage of PGL Major Copenhagen 2024 in video format, including daily recaps, best game moments, analysis of previous stages of the major, forecasts, and tournament results. We like to work with media outlets that are as passionate about esports as we are.”

Gamification is synonymous with the social gaming sector and has been very successful in keeping players engaged without any financial incentive. How can the esports betting sector learn from this and leverage gamification tools to increase customer engagement?

“The gamification of GG.BET platforms has been led by a close understanding of the customer journey and patterns of gameplay. Customers are now automatically included in GG.Leagues. Everyone can customise their profile, choose an avatar, and compete with other customers for a place in the top league. For every bet on esports, traditional sports, and casino games, the bettor receives Fame Points. The customer accumulates points to increase their level and goes through five different GG.Leagues, each of which unlocks unique bonuses.

“When done right, gamification can be a powerful tool for the growth and success of a platform, but it must be used correctly in order to be effective. If gamification is too complex or confusing, customers may lose interest. If it’s too simple or not rewarding enough, then the customer is unlikely to come back for more. GG.BET is only just starting out on its global gamification journey, so there are still a lot of cool new features for customers to look forward to.”

Esports inherently has a very strong online audience. How can brands better engage with this audience offline?

“Yes, you’re absolutely right: esports are primarily online-oriented. Fans are used to playing on cloud gaming services, communicating on Discord, watching Twitch streams, and chatting within games. But even digital audiences appreciate offline events and meet-ups. It’s always fun to meet your idols and like-minded people in person.

“GG.BET is perfectly positioned to organise this kind of event with our partners. For example, in Rio de Janeiro, we organised GG.Gathering with NAVI, where fans could meet and chat with players and get their autographs, and the team could feel the support of their followers. Before that, we organised a similar event with Team Vitality.

“We also like to set up personal meetings between fans and their idols. As part of NAVI and United 24’s “BORN TO BE BRAVE” charity initiative, GG.BET organised a private trip to the CS:GO Major in Paris as a reward for the largest donation. The trip included a VIP ticket to the arena, backstage access, a personal meeting with NAVI and Team Vitality team members, autographed merchandise, first-class plane tickets, accommodation in a 5-star hotel, a personal driver for the duration of the tournament, and a walk and dinner with a GG.BET ambassador. I’m sure many fans would have loved to be that person.

“In March 2024, GG.BET became the organiser of Community Watch for NAVI fans in their homeland, based in Kyiv. Fans got to watch NAVI’s game at PGL Major Copenhagen 2024 on the big screen, right in their office! There’s no doubt that NAVI’s supportive fan base is one of the keys to its success.

“Through this kind of offline encounter, GG.BET is helping to strengthen community ties and bring esports to life.”

Editor’s Note:

GG.BET is a fast-moving betting brand that has cornered the market through successful positioning, partnerships, and promotion.

The brand is driving online and offline esports market visibility, speaking to players in their language and creatively engaging in ways only an authentic brand can.

How have they achieved this? According to Dmytro, their success lies in their ability to think and act like players, a strategy that has proven to be a game-changer in the market.

Can this in-depth understanding of the market be gained in other ways? Not in Dmytro’s eyes. He believes there’s no substitute for the passion and insight being a player provides.

Authenticity aside, why are other brands struggling to hit the right note with esports bettors?

According to Dmytro, the key lies in creative partnerships and innovative interaction methods that offer tangible benefits: “It’s not just about product placement but about finding professionals and like-minded individuals who can elevate the esports experience.”

Gamification is one strategy that can be applied to achieve greater engagement, but only when done right and informed by the player’s journey and patterns of play.

Lastly, what opportunities does Dmytro believe are underutilised by the sector? Offline engagement, events and leveraging the power of esports personalities.

 

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