Targeted advertising is arguably one of the most crucial factors for a sports betting operator’s success.
Modern sports betting marketing measures are designed to increase a (potential) customer’s intention to place bets as well as the awareness of the different opportunities to do so. Therefore sports betting advertising can play an important role in driving betting behaviour.
Most betting companies’ advertisements include specific inducements for bettors, typically in the range of reduced risk, better odds, cash back, and bonus bet offers. However, without detailed knowledge about the influences of these advertising attributes on bettors, it is hard to develop efficient marketing strategies.
This article is aimed to summarize recent research on selected attributes and inducements of sports betting advertisements and their impact on engaging attention, interest, desire to place sports bets and attitudes towards sports betting.
Indicators of advertisement impact
The attention, interest, desire, action (AIDA) model of advertising persuasion (Rawal, 2013) posits that, for advertising material to be effective, it must follow a four-step process of advertising persuasion: First, engage the attention of its target audience; second, gain the interest in the product; third, elicit their desire for the product; and finally encourage the consumer to action i.e. to proceed with the purchase.
This model can also be used to assess the individual attributes of sports betting advertisements.
Recent literature has identified that eye-tracking research may provide an objective and unique insight into which elements of wagering advertisements bettors find the most appealing. Lole et al. (2019) conducted a study using eye-tracking and tonic electrodermal activity to assess the impact of the following factors on the desire to place a bet:
|Reduced risk||A partial (or sometimes total) refund of the stake if the bet is not successful, sometimes connected to another criterion which is still met (e.g., if a team loses, but scores a specified minimum number of points). The refunds are typically paid as bonus/additional bets, or sometimes in cash.|
|Better odds||A short-term offer of higher odds, in addition to regular ongoing odds, with the implication that the punter will receive the maximum possible return of a bet amount.|
|Cash back||Winnings are paid in the case of a ‘near win/close call’ (i.e., within a given range of outcomes), or where a rebate is provided, regardless.|
|Bonus bet||Customers are awarded with the opportunity to bet on a certain number of events for ‘free,’ although the payout of the return is connected to certain terms and conditions such as a certain rollover.|
The findings show that out of these elements, reduced risk and cash back inducements had the highest impact on the test subjects’ attention, which corroborates with previous research suggesting that bettors are more likely to find betting options that appear safer and minimise financial losses more appealing. The results further suggest that watching sports betting advertisements must be accompanied by an increase in arousal in the viewers, in order to elicit a desire to place a bet. This arousal could be observed especially in bettors with a more regular exposure to sports betting.
Similar findings have also been presented by Hing et al. (2017). Their study assessed various message elements of sports betting advertising, including:
|Message format||commentary, on-screen display, and studio crossover|
|Type of appeal||neutral, jovial, ease of placing the bet, and sense of urgency|
|Presenter||match presenter, sports betting operator, and attractive non-expert presenter (all male presenters, except for the attractive non-expert presenter who was female)|
|Bet type||a traditional bet on which team will win the match; an exotic bet on a key event in the match based on which team will score the first point; a risk-free bet based on receiving a refund if your team loses by 10 points or less; and a micro-bet based on which team will give away the next penalty|
The results also showed that the most important factors were the presenter attribute as well as the bet attribute, with attractive non-expert female highest among types of presenters, and the risk-free bet highest among bet types.
Another study by Killick and Griffiths (2020) explored the attitudes and opinions of sports bettors in response to betting advertising as well as the perceived impact on their sports betting behaviour using semi-structured interviews.
Their findings indicate that the advertising of enhanced odds and customized bets were perceived to increase feelings of control, reduce feelings of risk in terms of financial loss and motivate the placement of bet. Boosted and enhanced odds are therefore another popular form of inducement that attracted bettors to place a bet. This goes in line with reports that on Twitter, enhanced odds were among the most frequently tweeted forms of promotion. However, Browne et al. (2019) found that exposure to advertising and inducements was reliably linked to a greater likelihood of betting as well as higher intended and actual betting expenditure.
Monetary incentives provided by sporting betting companies are often promoted through various media sources. However, according to the participants of the study, social media marketing was generally found to be intrusive. Overall, participants reported the perception that there is an oversaturation of sports betting advertising, particularly during live sporting broadcasts, whose frequency and unavoidability were viewed negatively by some bettors.
Implications for betting operators
Research has shown that some of the inducement types most commonly used in sports betting advertising include reduced risk, better odds, and monetary incentives such as cash back, cash out, and bonus bet offers.
The overall consensus of the presented findings is that betting advertisements have powerful effects on regular bettors, while some inducement types are more successful than others (explicitly that sports bettors often favor the “risk-free” or reduced risk inducement). This factor has proven to be even more impactful than direct monetary inducements such as bonus bets.
Betting operators should therefore focus their marketing strategies especially on conveying the feeling of reduced risk in their advertising, while also being careful not to oversaturate their target audience with their ads in order to maximise the effect of their marketing efforts.
Read also on this topic:
Browne, M., Hing, N., Russell, A. M., Thomas, A., & Jenkinson, R. (2019). The impact of exposure to wagering advertisements and inducements on intended and actual betting expenditure: An ecological momentary assessment study. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 8(1), 146-156.
Hing, N., Vitartas, P., & Lamont, M. (2017). Understanding persuasive attributes of sports betting advertisements: A conjoint analysis of selected elements. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 6(4), 658-668.
Killick, E. A., & Griffiths, M. D. (2020). A Thematic Analysis of Sports Bettors’ Perceptions of Sports Betting Marketing Strategies in the UK. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-19.
Lole, L., Russell, A. M., Li, E., Thorne, H., Greer, N., & Hing, N. (2019). Interest in inducements: A psychophysiological study on sports betting advertising. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 147, 100-106.
Rawal, P. (2013). AIDA Marketing Communication Model: Stimulating a purchase decision in the minds of the consumers through a linear progression of steps. International Journal of Multidisciplinary research in social & management sciences, 1(1), 37-44.