Data and the Human Factor

Analyzing Data

Collection, interpretation, and execution for a more successful operation

Casinos rely on their ability to harness information and execute strategies based on quantifiable resources. Thanks to player tracking systems, gaming is an industry that is decades ahead of other industries in data collection and understanding our customers’ behavioral patterns. But no matter how “big” your data is, a solid strategy requires the human factor to interpret the data and gain actionable insights.

In addition to social media and web analytics, casinos today have access to the data points for every behavioral decision the guest makes. From every slot and table games wager to dining and retail preferences, you probably have your customer base completely figured out. Or do you?

With the latest in technological advancement, the speed of data collection has surpassed our ability to interpret data in real time. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just feed all of our data into a “big data” machine that would spit out the “answers” and insights for us in a nice, neat marketing plan? Ah, but big data relies on the human factor to understand and interpret the information, create a plan of action, and execute for success. Here are examples of where key components can fall short and affect your overall success.

Data Interpretation

One of our favorite examples of interpreting data is website analytics. All too often we hear that “something is happening with our web traffic and it’s bad.” Well, that may or may not be the case. Let’s say you are running a digital display campaign that lands users on your promotions page. After reviewing the website traffic data, you note that the average session duration time gets shorter and bounce rates go up! Don’t panic. Since your call-to-action is targeted, this is an acceptable and expected response to your campaign. Sure, your average session duration could drop to 25 seconds, but 55% of people spend fewer than 15 seconds on a webpage to take in the information they sought out. And anytime you deep link from digital advertising, it’s normal to see your bounce rate change, and this is okay. Users get the information they were looking for, and leave the site once it’s been read.

When interpreting data, focus on the objectives of your campaign. Was your digital ad compelling enough to spike your click-through rate? Do your session duration times tell you that your event is in fact appealing to your target audience? Sounds like a successful effort.

Media Planning

Make sure that you completely understand your market research before applying it to media planning efforts.  Sometimes third-party research identifies audience behavior to be one way, when it is really another. For instance, third-party data often indicates that a local casino-goer skews male. However, a review of your player data indicates that it is really female. Always apply what you already know to be true and unique for your property before relying on research data as gospel. When looking to define the media mix that your audience may be using, TV and digital usage can be under-reported. People taking a survey may not be accurate in estimating the time they spend with a medium. Survey subjects may not want to state how many hours they watch TV or spend on their mobile device. That’s why it’s important to look at multiple questions in a survey to get the full picture. 

Management/Staff Execution

Digital communication has become a more predominant source of information for many demographics, so chances are that your casino’s outbound communication has campaigns that are concentrated in interactive mediums. Having a clean database of your players’ email addresses is critical. Ensure that everyone on the front line of the club booth understands that they are an important data collection point.

A healthy relationship with data strikes a balance between collection, interpretation, and execution. The way data is collected, and how it is interpreted and applied can have a major impact on success. The insights that are learned by us humans with our experience, observation and intuition combine with big data so that we can make better and more effective decisions. Data and technology remain reliant upon the human factor to integrate for success.

Mark Astone