Truly Connect with Your Players on Their Mobile Devices

Diverse People Mobile

How to create a specific strategy and executed tactics to connect to your target audience

The phenomenal growth of mobile usage offers tremendous opportunity for gaming operations to stay connected to their players when they are outside the casino’s walls. The key word here is “connected.” If you are simply posting “ads” for your concert, promotion or buffet special, and the viewer glosses over it, you haven’t made a connection or engaged that person. You are missing an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between your casino and your players and potential players.

The digital experiences that your target audience has with your casino need to be exceptional – through all digital touchpoints, but especially mobile. In 2017, adults in the US spend 33% more time on mobile and with apps than they did in 2013. That’s an average of three hours and 17 minutes per day on mobile*. From checking email to time spent on Facebook and other social platforms, news outlets, shopping, blogs and online games, people are on their smartphones many times throughout the day. For example, 79% of Internet users ages 56-67 check their messages before leaving for work in the morning**.

Your players (like you) are bombarded with ads and messages from every business-product-service that we have shown interest in on the Interweb.

So how do you make sure that digital communication from your casino stands out, is sought out by your target audience online?

The key ingredient is the content. How you communicate your message is more important on mobile than what your message is. Here’s an example that may provide you with practical ideas that you can use to change your mobile strategy from straightforward advertising to a real engagement effort:

Casino A has a concert coming up and wants to sell tickets, of course. Their ad agency creates an ad with a picture, date, time, etc., and this ad is used for print, website, in-house signage, and a digital ad campaign. It’s all branded, consistent and done well. Let’s say that the concert is the Rolling Stones, so tickets sell out, and you’ve also reinforced your position in the market as the place with the best entertainment … great! But all that doesn’t engage your players and potential players through their digital universe.

Casino B is also selling tickets to a concert. In order to connect to and engage people where they spend the most time – on their phones – the following digital marketing efforts are executed:

  • Video greeting from a band member inviting people to come to the show.
  • Links to the band’s videos and articles are used as curated content.
  • Online contests to win tickets to the show, and people post pictures of themselves in the band’s T-shirt or answer trivia questions.
  • Time-lapse video is shown of your venue being set up for the show.
  • Behind-the-scenes video and photos are posted to bring the guest “inside” what’s going on.
  • Interview with the chef talking about preparing items from the contract rider and showing the green room set-up.
  • Sweeping video of the crowd during the show as they are on their feet dancing and singing all the words to a song.
  • Out-the-door interviews of people heading to the casino after the show, still aglow in the excitement.
  • Next-morning videos over coffee of guests who stayed in the hotel, talking about how it was the best night ever.
  • Candid photos posted over the next few days with fun facts about how much beer was consumed or who won the big blackjack hand that night.

In this example, both casinos sold their tickets and had good nights on the floor. But Casino B maximized player engagement by digitally connecting to people countless times, getting them involved in the event and drawing them in with content that evoked an emotional reaction of some kind – from nostalgia to amusement to excitement to “wish-I-was-there-that-looks-like-a-blast.”

Casino B created a specific strategy and executed tactics to connect to their target audience. They touched their audience on the sites where they spend time, from Facebook to news and weather outlets to retail sites. Their messaging strategy required time and resources in order to make a deeper impact, cut through the online chaos, and engage with people over and over again for this show. There’s no doubt that Casino B’s digital community is strong and yields goodwill, more visits, even brand advocacy.

It takes a shift in resources and, most of all, thinking to touch and connect with your players and potential players on mobile, because they are more distracted and have more options than ever before. But what you are saying to your audience is, “We know you – you are part of our family – engage with us. We are spending time with you when you are not at our property.”

Good luck, and as always – have fun with it!

* eMarketer, September 2016 “Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by US Adults, 2013 & 2017”

** Adestra, 2016 Consumer Adoption & Usage Study conducted by Flagship Research

Mark Astone