iGaming 2023: Getting Social with Sportsbook, by Jack Smith from Sporting Tech

In recent years, the convergence of social media, sports betting, and influencers has revolutionized the iGaming industry. Collaborations with sports stars and brand ambassadors like Neymar are having huge impacts on audiences’ preferences. In light of this, we caught up with Jack Smith, Senior Director from Sporting Tech to learn how Sportingtech’s influencer-driven enhancements are changing the game, as the industry evolves to cater to younger, tech-savvy bettors.

There has been a burgeoning relationship between social media, sports betting and iGaming as a whole, and this is certainly taking the industry to a new level. The latest development of this is the role of the influencer and how they are boosting brand recognition.

We’ve seen industry heavyweights utilize these avenues in the past, creating sports star related casino content or maximising reach through brand ambassador deals as seen already with Neymar’s partnership with Blaze casino. Audiences can be swayed by these partnerships, and many will base their decision to use a brand that utilises one of these influencers.

The effectiveness of this tactic in other industries is there for all to see. Take clothing for example, where it’s estimated that Kanye Wests’ relationship with Adidas generates roughly $1-2 billion in annual sales and Michael Jordan’s long-standing partnership with Nike has seen it become the second highest revenue generating shoe line globally. This in large part is down to the followings that these individuals have amassed for themselves. Influencer marketing in sports betting and iGaming as a whole is no different.

In all industries, brand recognition is king, and engaging with a younger, tech-savvier audience is seeing more companies add further credibility to their brand by turning to these influencers and harnessing their following into your business strategy. This has seen a boom in the last few years with new verticals and products popping up.

Some sites now look more like social feeds, leaning into the trend of conversing with one another and sharing content. Streaming is now common, with Twitch being home to popular gamers and esports enthusiasts that generate millions of views per stream. This trend of creating a buzz and conversation, whether that be good, bad, or indifferent will only continue to evolve.

Of course, there is only so much collaborating with an influencer can do. Yes, they may give your company more credibility, but this needs to be partnered with the right technology to really maximise the audiences brought to your product via this activation.

Share-a-bet is one of Sportingtech’s features that syncs incredibly well with the advent of influencer marketing, and we have seen great traction in Africa and Latin America, where the latter region is a hotbed for influencer activity.

Share-a-bet has seen great engagement with WhatsApp and there is an interesting reason for this. Unlike its’ European counterparts, where mobile plans are rich with unlimited minutes, texts and data, in Brazil the cost of an SMS can be up to 50 times more expensive and therefore not accessible to large parts of the population. Since its inception Whatsapp has created a seamless low-cost alternative to allow Brazilians to converse freely at a fraction of the cost.

You may be surprised to hear that in LatAm, 90% of people who have a mobile phone use an Android as opposed to an iPhone, so it is imperative that our products are functional across both, despite the disparity. As a result, we launched with what we felt were the most prominent social media platforms and apps that have the largest reach to boost acquisition and retention.

X, which of course was Twitter, is very influencer focused, as is Facebook. Share-a-bet is simply integrated with these platforms and enables operators and affiliates to easily track activity through number of clicks, number of people who have placed the same bet and more. This was the most efficient way for us to track how operators can reward its affiliates with proof of this features performance.

There has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to ensure we are in line with the mindset of present and future bettors. Share-a-bet was displayed at ICE earlier this year in its MVP stage as we look at new ways to adapt to the changing landscapes in LatAm and Africa, where operators are gradually converting retail players to online. With the increase in influencer driven marketing and affiliates within those regions we realised we had a key product full of diversification that could help us enhance this area of the player value chain. In essence, we had the base of the vehicle and we’ve since enhanced its appearance to attract key audiences.

The same can be said for our ready-made coupon, which we have continued to develop and are seeing great engagement with. This is also a feature we’ve had for some time, but again, we looked at ways to diversify its capabilities and drive additional engagement and revenue.

To take this to the next level, we have leveraged influencers here too. In most cases a “ready-made coupon” is exactly what it says it is. A no-frills, easy betting option. But through the use of brand power and influence this can be revised to your favourite sports star’s, youtuber’s, singer’s picks of the day, creating an affiliation tool that generates more traffic and activity.

Despite the significant progress we have made with our products, we aren’t resting on our laurels. Integrating with Instagram is a key focus for us given the size of its audience in LatAm, and Telegram is also becoming more prominent in the space, so they are two more platforms on our radar as we look to widen the audience and increase engagement within our platforms.

The great thing to look forward to is there is so much more that can and will be done. Player trends and habits continue to evolve, and it is exciting for us to be able to look at what is popular and tailor our offering to ensure seamless experiences, something that we pride ourselves on.

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