It’s tough to move into a new market. Whether sector or geographical, there will be barriers, competitors, and a race to catch up on everything you need to know. This was very true of an online gambling brand who were looking at new locations in which to do business, as the regulation surrounding this market change and shift in various nations and states. By tapping into social data, however, they were able to better understand their potential customers in each location: the poker players and gamblers there, and then to gain insights, through analysing what such players are talking about and their interests, into how best to appeal to them.
Poker Players: Who are they?
Firstly, we can look at the players themselves. We can see demographic information such as location (important in a market with geographic differences in regulation) and gender, but also detect the key influencers within a market. By using general scores such as Klout, or by looking at how much impact an individual has with his/her online posts within a certain community (such as Poker players), companies can develop word-of-mouth marketing and affiliate schemes, knowing the reach and prominence of their prospective partners.
Next, by profiling individuals taking part in conversations around the industry, we can establish what such audiences are interested in. Look at what community members are saying, sure, but also who they are following, and what those influencers are saying. In this way, we can develop a clear view of the interests, or ‘psychographics’, rather than demographics of potential customers. We can identify the main interests that have an affinity with our products or services, and compare them to those of competitors or other markets.
For example, above we see the interests and affinities of people in two major online gambling markets in the US: the established ‘home of gambling’ in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a newly regulated internet market of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The New Jersey conversation is dominated by people with an affinity to sports and video game playing, while the Vegas players are more focused on casinos, gambling, and poker playing. We can surmise that the more established market (in terms of online gambling, at least) attracts more committed players: they know about, and talk about, gambling, and its traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, more than the ‘casual players’ of New Jersey, despite that state’s history in casinos, too.
Talking a Good Game: What aspects of poker are hot topics?
Next, we can look more deeply into what the people interested in poker in the target market, are talking about. What are the themes of their conversations? By understanding these themes, perhaps our new online poker brand could factor them into their launch strategy, their promotions, even their product itself.
Below we see this conversation (people discussing poker in the New Jersey market) broken down into themes: one key observation is that socialising with others, and the ‘casino’ experience is important to poker players in this market: very interesting to an online poker brand.
So, our insights show that brick-and-mortar casinos are a widely discussed form of gambling in our new target market. This is a more established, traditional industry of course, so perhaps our new-entrant online-only brand needs to look at what specific aspects of the casino experience, or the social side of poker playing, most appeal. With the right software, we can look at what’s talked about surrounding a casino visit: is it the games themselves? Wins and losses? The ‘night out’? The food, drink, and facilities? All of these pieces help illustrate the social appearance of online gambling for potential business.
Also clear from the above analysis was that sharing tips, tactics, and stories with one another is highly prevalent among players. A large portion of poker-related conversations was about such sharing and information. Understanding this desire among players, surely closely related to the focus on social elements of playing poker, could be important and useful when approaching potential players in a new market.
Actions: Making the insights pay
Lastly, it’s over to the poker brand to act on these insights. It’s clear that the newer industry (online gambling) can and should learn from the more established one (casinos) to gain a foothold in the market. But what can they actually do?
Subtle but important changes to marketing communications may be all that’s needed, with a greater focus on the sociability of playing online. It may be a more drastic overhaul of the product, that’s required: perhaps a concentration on an immersive casino-like experience, where the site is made to feel more like a ‘destination’ for the players it attracts. It may even be that a strategic decision not to attempt to enter that market after all (or perhaps to delay entry) has to be made: much better to base such decisions on insights and knowledge rather than jumping in with both feet!
A few examples of tactical actions that could lead the way:
- Word-of Mouth marketing: By identifying the key people in the market, in terms of their influence, the poker brand can try to focus on these people, incentivising them to become brand ambassadors and spread the word about their games and service.
- Community Building: After noting that storytelling and socialising are so important to poker players in our new market, how can the online brand improve its players’ ability to share information, and generally converse with others, to aid player satisfaction and retention?
- User Generated Content: Finding the messages that appeal. One way in which social media insights can continue to help here is to identify the trending topics, language, images, and videos within a certain community. By integrating this into marketing communications, brands can stop ‘doing social like a brand’, and start ‘being social, like a person’.
- Pay-Per Click and SEO Strategy: Monitoring and identifying naturally-occurring trends in language, phrases, hashtags and so on, related to a topic such as poker can reveal interesting and surprising words to build into SEO and pay-per-click strategy.
Whatever course of action they choose, armed with insights from social media such as this, companies can feel much better equipped for the challenges of penetrating a new market. For more insight into how to use social data analysis to determine market penetration strategy, we invite you to schedule a demo with us today.