32Red: How marketing communications fuelled an online casino's hot streak

32Red, a multi-product gambling business, was able to grow its business and achieve its targets by improving the efficacy of its TV and search channels.

Campaign details

Brand: 32Red Advertiser: Kindred Group Agency: M.i. Media

Summary

32Red is a multi-product gambling business built on online casino. In 2013 it appointed M.i. Media and developed a 2014–2017 accelerated growth plan (AGP) in which marketing communications would play a crucial role.

The promiscuous nature of online casino has one positive, high-value customers are often on the lookout for a new place to play. These seasoned players know the specific games they want and search out casinos offering them. This is especially evident with online slots which make up around 80% of the online casino market. Which brand these fickle customers ended up with was a bit of a lottery. Games content providers release new slot titles to hundreds of operators simultaneously with stock packs of content including pre-written game descriptions and imagery. On the day of release, identical web pages would suddenly appear from a multitude of operators with no differentiation for Google to know which page should legitimately rank highest. With 500+ slots on site and 2–3 new releases per month, there was ample opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. We created a standardised programme for new game releases. Existing title content was given a unique 32Red rewrite and affiliates incentivised to generate game play video reviews. Our new game launch programme included blog pieces detailing each imminent release, video teasers on social channels and unique descriptions on the day the titles went live. These simple but labour-intensive changes, paid back handsomely over the following three years with substantial jumps in new players from organic search traffic. While affiliate and organic traffic reflected search's acquisition potential, traffic from 32Red's own paid search traffic lagged well behind. In a high-cost channel, having average deposit levels 40% below average was not sustainable. In March 2016, 32Red appointed M.i. Media to manage their paid search and we completely overhauled their pay-per-click (PPC) structure and strategy. First we stopped the use of 'no deposit' bonus offers for generic traffic. Giving away £10 free with no commitment did drive volume, but meant too much money was being spent acquiring the wrong type of customer. Second we aligned PPC with the reporting structure rolled out across other acquisition channels. Player deposit and activity measures were automated and fed into bidding systems to allow our search team to optimise spend to keywords driving customers with valuable traits not misleading initial revenue figures. With slots delivering 80% of casino revenue, we prioritised game specific keywords to acquire valuable customers. If we didn't have the specific game (such as Starburst, the UK's most popular online slot), we made sure we had a close look-a-like landing page to acquire customers with a similar game. The huge expansion of 32Red's long-tail search terms allowed the business to work more actively alongside the dominant search affiliates. These partners were utilised to compete for high volume 'head terms' like online casino, while we used our own search account to target searches more specific to 32Red. Paid search performance improved markedly. Across 2016 we delivered 40% increases in Year 1 revenue from a lower spend. In 2017, the first full year of M.i. managing the account, new customer volumes increased by 150% while revenue increased by a similar level.

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