Daniel Kustelski: Touchdown – winning NFL acquisition tactics

Image source: Chalkline

Daniel Kustelski, CEO of Chalkline, offers examples of successful acquisition campaigns in the lead-up and first weeks of football season.

With football season officially underway, operators and affiliates are working overtime to attract new bettors and engage existing players. It’s still early, but we’ve already seen innovative, ground-breaking acquisition campaigns from betting companies of all sizes. From localized free play games to powerhouse partnerships, there are tons of valuable lessons that operators and affiliates can take away from these early-season campaigns. 

If you aren’t running football-focused acquisition campaigns, it’s time to get started. Football fans represent a significant portion of bettors, driving the most betting activity and the highest television audiences of all sports. Plus, as more states introduce legalized sports betting, the pool of potential customers is larger than ever.

Here’s how some of the most innovative operators and affiliates are setting their brand apart in terms of customer acquisition.

Delivering customized betting experiences

Crafting your campaigns to your audience is nothing new — but we’ve seen it done exceptionally well so far this year. Many operators and affiliates recognize that bettors are more inclined to put down money when they have an emotional connection to a particular team or athlete, so they’ve begun to weave deeper localization and personalization into their offering.

For instance, BetRivers has teamed up with the Chicago Bears to give Illinoisans a chance to back their team. On the college football side, Illinois-based operator Accel Entertainment kicked off the season with a weekly Big Ten Pick’ Em Challenge. Not only are these games easy to play and understand, but they’re designed to appeal to a targeted market of sports fans who are passionate about their teams. 

But what about bettors who support non-local teams? In these instances, some operators and affiliates have seen success by asking players to self-select their favorite teams and using that data to offer personalized betting experiences. 

As an example, Chalkline’s technology encourages bettors to pick from a list of teams (such as SEC football programs or NFL teams) that they are most interested in. From there, players can see odds and games related to their favorite (sometimes non-local) team, while betting organizations can use this valuable information to inform their marketing strategy for the rest of the season.

Thinking beyond your typical betting base

As an operator, you already have a loyal base of educated bettors that regularly place wagers with you. But outside of that group, there’s also plenty of untapped potential, especially with casual gamblers.

Infrequent bettors represent a massive opportunity for operators and affiliates. You already know that they enjoy sports betting (even just occasionally), and they’re savvy enough to understand the basics. So how do you generate more engagement from them? The key is to keep it fun and easy.

Companies like Barstool Sports understand this. This year, Barstool is hosting an incredibly simple contest called Dave and Dan’s $1.5m Overs Tournament, which lets bettors earn points by betting the over in NFL and NCAA football games. It’s already generated tons of attention, in large part due to the exciting – yet straightforward – premise of the game.

Outside of engaging casual bettors, there are also several other ways that operators and affiliates can earn attention outside of their typical player base. For example, companies like TwinSpires are going beyond their traditional areas of expertise to create cross-sell opportunities with new gamblers. 

Although TwinSpires is best known as the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby, the company has branched out to offer freeplay and real money games for other sporting events including professional and college football.

Sharpening your strategy with data

At every point of the customer journey, there are countless opportunities to collect actionable data about your bettors – not just about who they are and what they like, but also about how often they bet, which leagues they follow, and how often they win.

By prioritizing data collection and analysis, you can develop more effective acquisition campaigns that truly speak to the needs and interests of your audience. And once they’re on board, you can use these insights to power your marketing efforts and convince bettors to place their next wager.

Data collection can be done in many ways, including loyalty program registrations, free play games and contests, and analytics tools. Each of these tactics offers a different type of insight into your customers’ demographics and behavior, helping you create more authentic connections.

There are many operators and affiliates using data to their advantage this football season, including NESN. The New England media company has created a basic Pick & Win game for football fans, giving players the chance to win prizes for correctly choosing the winners of NFL games. In return, NESN is generating valuable data to expand its database.

These are just some of the early strategies that operators and affiliates have used to great effect to engage and entertain fans and bettors in the early days of this year’s football season and will undoubtedly allow them to emerge victorious when it comes to an end.