Ladbrokes: “Mobile Has Touched Everything We've Done”
Ladbrokes has been around for over 125 years, but recently things have been changing for the gambling firm. Its demographic increasingly get younger, and according to Andy Letting, head of new channels at Ladbrokes, that's because mobile is helping bring new blood into the business.
“These customers aren't the same ones who come into our shops,” said Letting, speaking at the IAB's Future Proofing Your Mobile Strategy event yesterday. “I think sports betting is becoming a bit more socially acceptable, and people are doing that on mobile because its personal, and because it's private – no one else needs to knows what they're doing – plus the convenience of it.”
With that in mind, you'd imagine that Ladbrokes would be putting all its got into the channel, and that seems to be at least partially true.
“Mobile has touched literally everything we've done, whether it's TV ads to push downloads of our app, or working to improve the customer experience for mobile users,” said Letting. “It's not all necessarily pointing at mobile, but mobile is always there, so people know we've got an app, for example. The key is tying up your advertising with what you want customers to do on the app.”
Apparently TV performs better in this regard than online advertising, with Ladbrokes seeing a “significant spike” in downloads of its apps on a daily basis whenever it runs TV campaigns. This then increases the app's position in the store, which in turn drives organic growth.
iPhone customers worth more than Android
So where are Ladbrokes putting their money? Into apps, apparently – “I believe that for any betting organisation, an app store has got to be the best way” – and mobile search advertising.
“Why do we spend so much money on Google, when we could sort it by working on mobile SEO? Partially because we don't have the SEO capabilities and technology at the moment,” Letting said. “But also because, if you search on a mobile device, you're going to see one or maybe two sponsored links, and that's probably the whole of your screen. Those ads are really important because of the real estate, so we can't afford not to.”
In terms of platform, meanwhile, the focus seems to be firmly on iOS: “Despite the greater volume of Android users, iPhone customers are worth more to us, so that's our starting point. I put that down to the fact that iPhone users have generally had smartphones for longer, whereas with Android these devices have often been put in the hands of customers who come from a feature phone background.”
That's not necessarily a slight to the value of Android gamblers, mind – Letting also pointed out that iOS customers are worth more to Ladbrokes than its desktop customers, even though there are far more of the latter.
“We know that the value of a customer who is both digital and retail,” he said. “Ultimately, if they're on all three of our channels, that's less time they're spending with our competitors.”
From the past and into the future
As a company with such a long history – never mind that its business is so driven by hard numbers and ROI – it's not hard to see Ladbrokes suffering to sell mobile as a worthwhile channel, something which Letting freely acknowledged.
“Digital as a whole has been a bit of an afterthought, as it all accelerates, and we've just been trying to keep up,” he said. “By comparison, look at Paddy Power, which has been primarily digital and is now starting to increase its retail presence. We've gone the other way, and so we're perhaps not as agile as we'd like to be. However, being in such a fiercely competitive market actually makes it easier to get on board with mobile, because we look at our competitors, and see how much they're spending.”
With the theme of the event being looking to the future, it was inevitable that the question of what's next in terms of mobile would come up. Ladbrokes is apparently considering utilising NFC – Letting gave the example of using Barclaycard PayTag-style stickers for its Odds On loyalty scheme – but it's still a little way down the road, and well as branching out with its app offerings.
“Looking forward, personalisation is going to become very important. Ideally, I think everyone's app would be different,” he said, drawing the comparison with Amazon's customised recommendations. “Also, I don't think there's necessarily a tablet product out there that is tailored to the the sofa gambler, and I think that's a real opportunity.
“At the end of the day, what sells it to consumers is the product. The brand's important – our heritage, and trust we've built up – but for me it's just got to work. If it doesn't, you can be assured the customer won't be coming back.”
- Betway, Plumbee and Betfuze Sign Up to Speak at Mobile Gaming & Gambling Summit
- Nine Weeks Left to Enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards
- Get Your Early Bird Ticket Now for Our Autumn Events
- Closed for Bank Holiday
- Mobile Marketing Live and Mobile Gambling & Gaming Summit Early Bird Offer Ends in One Week