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New report highlights how online gambling marketers need more effective targeting tools.

Two thirds of the British public are concerned about the amount of advertising for online gambling companies, while just one in five think advertising for these companies targets the right audience.

Those are some of the key findings from the new ‘Betting on Digital’ report, released today by digital marketing firm IgnitionOne and polling organisation ComRes. The report looks at the British public’s perception of online gambling, what drives them to visit online gambling sites and if brands’ efforts to behave ethically affects the reputation of the industry. ComRes polled over 2,000 members of the British public – 604 of which are active or previous online gamblers - and conducted in-depth interviews with 11 senior marketers across the sector.
Many of the marketers interviewed place great emphasis on the need to target the right audience, while the perceived success of this among the British public is limited, with just 21% saying that they think advertising for online gambling targets the right audience.

Marketers consistently recognise the importance of using their digital strategies to attract not only a high volume of traffic, but to genuinely identify and convert potential players of high quality and value. While digital marketers currently employ strategies with this aim in mind, they also recognise the challenge they face to continually keep up with new technology in relation to the changing digital marketing environment. This suggests there is an opportunity for marketers to engage more effective targeting solutions to optimise the results offered by digital platforms.
The public’s views also relate to those of many of the marketers interviewed who say they still place great value on TV advertising as it is a strong means of driving brand awareness and web traffic.

However, marketers also feel that TV is competitive and expensive, and that it is more difficult to measure traffic originating from this medium than from digital. Survey respondents who are active or previous online gamblers say online and TV marketing channels are equally important as factors in driving them to use an online gambling site.
Other important drivers that influence where people gamble online is the quality of the product; in particular, an easy user experience (73%), the quality of the game (69%) and being offered regular discounts (65%) are important factors in driving current or previous online gamblers to use an online gaming website.

On top of advertising influence and usability, corporate responsibility also weighs heavily on the minds of the British public. Nearly half of current online gamblers (45%) say they’d be likely to place a bet with an gambling website if they knew that the brand behind it was contributing financially to the research, education and treatment of problem gambling. 61% of the British public think this would be likely to increase public awareness of problem gambling.

It’s not just charitable initiatives that resonate with the British public, but tax practises too. 77% think online gambling companies should pay tax in all the countries in which they operate, not only in the country in which they are registered. Half (52%) of those who have ever gambled online said that knowing this is an important factor in driving them to visit the site of an online gambling brand.

Alongside charitable investments towards problem gambling, 50% of those who have ever gambled online also say that imposing limitations on spending is an important factor in driving them to use an online gambling website. This is almost as much of a factor as the name of the brand itself, which is important for 46% of those who have ever gambled online.

Other important factors driving usage of online gambling websites among those who are current or previous online gamblers are word of mouth in the form of recommendations from friends (either in person, which is important for 46%, or via social media, which is important for 26%) as well as the brand name - this, is considered a key usage driver almost half of British adults (46%) who say that they are active or previous online gamblers. Arguably, a range of issues, including tax, regulation, responsibility as well as advertising reach and effectiveness, all link back to brand reputation.

Simon Haynes, managing director of IgnitionOne, comments: “We recognise the challenges that online gambling marketers face and how difficult it is to reach the right audience through digital and traditional channels, amidst a minefield of issues related to regulation, reputation and responsibility. We believe that online gambling marketers have only scratched the surface of what can be achieved with innovative digital marketing and that ROI from online channels can be achieved by using the right technology.

“Our report highlights where marketers’ strategies are in sync with the views of the public, and where they could be more in tune with the minds of their audience. ‘Betting on Digital’ provides valuable insights into the experiences of marketers’ peers and what the public thinks of online gambling and advertising – and the results provide us all food for thought.”

A quarter (23%) of the British public say they currently gamble online. While men are more likely than women to say that they currently gamble online - 28% compared with 18% - women are more likely than men to be loyal to one online gaming website. Of those that have ever gambled online, 41% of British women say they use or have used only one provider, compared with 30% of British men saying the same.

IgnitionOne and ComRes’ ‘Betting on Digital’ report is available to download at http://pages.ignitionone.com/betting-on-digital.

BETTING ON DIGITAL REPORT – CONSUMER VIEWS COMPARED WITH MARKETERS’

• Online Effectiveness: Consumers think ad targeting could be more effective since only 21% of the British public say that advertising for online gambling in the UK targets the right audience. This suggests there is an opportunity for marketers to engage more effective targeting solutions.

• Regulation Concerns: Both consumers and marketers have concerns about regulation—72% of the British public agree that there should be greater government regulation to ensure that companies act responsibly towards customers. While marketers are generally content with the level of regulation in the UK some would favour more stringent regulation, however, the unpredictability of future regulation is a concern for marketers.

• Brand Responsibility: The view that responsibility is not a driver to purchase but a hygiene factor –more than half of the British public (58%) say gambling companies have some responsibility to ensure that customers gamble safely and 70% agree that online gambling companies should financially contribute towards research, education and treatment of online gambling. However, 72% of the British public also agree that individuals themselves must also ensure they gamble safely.

• Brand Reputation: A strong brand is an important driver to usage of online gambling websites – 46% of those that have ever gambled online say brand name is an important factor in driving them to use an online gambling website. This is likely to incorporate a range of broader reputational impressions.

• Views on Tax: An ethical tax approach is important to a majority of consumers – 77% of the British public say that online gambling companies should pay tax in all markets within which they operate, not just where they are registered. However, marketers don’t always consider tax practices a high priority message for consumers.

• Brand Identity: Marketers feel that having a strong brand identity is key when it comes to retention. Among those who have ever gambled online the name of the brand (46%) and their knowledge of a brand’s commitment to payment of taxes in the UK (52%) and its corporate responsibility in contributing financially to research, education and treatment of online gambling (44%) were all more important drivers in determining whether or not they would use that brand than advertisements.

• Loyalty: In the online betting sphere, customers tend to say they use a reasonably small number of different sites (3 sites on average among those that currently or used to gamble online), indicating some degree of loyalty. Marketers still emphasise working on brand identity and messaging to ensure customer loyalty.

• Current Users More Likely to Be Loyal: Current online gamblers tend to have less conservative views on regulation and responsibility – a lower proportion of British consumers who currently gamble online (63%) say that there is a need for increased government regulation of the industry in the UK to ensure that gambling companies act responsibly towards their customers compared to those who have never gambled online (74%). Deriving loyalty from an existing base may prove a strong marketing approach over trying to acquire new users. Marketers also highlight the cost effectiveness of retaining existing customers versus attracting new ones.

• Online Gaming Contribution to the UK Economy: The public tend not to think of the online gambling industry as making a positive contribution to UK economy (just 26% of the British public believe this to be the case). This suggests there is potential here for a PR/marketing drive with messages around how the industry contributes in terms of jobs and income.

• Problem Gaming: Is considered by consumers as more difficult to manage and avoid online than in store - 65% of the British public say that it is more difficult to ensure the safety of online gamblers than those gambling in person in betting shops and casino. A greater visibility of protection may help to reassure the public of online gambling safety.

Published on: 8:51AM on 11th June 2014