The Xmas and New Year Opportunity

The Xmas and New Year Opportunity

Xmas and New Year is a potentially lucrative period for operators and affiliates alike. We spoke to Stephen Appleton, to find out how webmasters can make the most of the opportunities.

Published 10th December 2014

How does Xmas and New Year rank in terms of player activity and importance? Is it still one of the busiest periods of the year?

The Christmas and New Year period is always an important time for bet365, as there are so many factors that combine to ensure good levels of player interest. If anything, it has become more significant over recent years, with the development of technology and betting becoming more accessible on various devices. Traditionally, the majority of people have time off work at this time of year, giving them more recreational time. Combined with typically cold weather, this tends to ensure a lot of this time is spent indoors, so there’s plenty of time available to log onto the bet365 site to place sporting bets and try out our gaming products. Gadgets are obviously a popular Christmas gift. People want to try out their new laptops, tablets and mobiles, and with more spare time on their hands there is a natural opportunity for gambling operators to achieve significant levels of interest. On top of this, the sports calendar is always very busy around Christmas and New Year. Football is hugely popular, and the Christmas period is the busiest time of the year for the League – this year all 20 English Premier League teams have seven fixtures scheduled in a busy month from 2 December to New Year’s Day. Add in the FA Cup starting in January and a whole host of other sporting events, and you’ve got increased betting opportunities over a sustained period.

How should affiliates have prepared in order to make the most of the Xmas and New Year period?

Planning and preparation is vital at this time of year. Without proper organisation, it would be very easy to get overawed by the amount of information being received in relation to the Christmas promotions being released by all operators, across the range of products. My advice would be to get in contact with each of your main partners to discuss the upcoming promotions with them, and decide on those which you will prioritise. If you put together a calendar of promotions, you can plan when to start pushing these to your players and prepare your content in advance. This will really help to ensure you’re pushing relevant promotions at the right time, and maxmising your chances of converting players. In addition, Christmas giveaways can be a great way to engage with your players. Even small prizes that come with little cost to you can help to attract plenty of interest, and your players are bound to appreciate the opportunity to win some additional Christmas gifts! It’s a good idea too to get involved with plenty of social media activity at this time of year. The free time alluded to previously no doubt helps in producing an increase in social media activity, and provided your social strategy helps you to engage with as many people as possible at this time of year, then you can increase your popularity with them and secure returning customers as we move into the New Year.

Which events from the Xmas/New Year sporting calendar should affiliates be focusing their campaigns around?

As we move into the festive period, the sporting calendar brings a host of betting opportunities, particularly in the UK. In the football world, the Premier League is unlike other European leagues in that it doesn’t take a winter break; there are actually more matches over Christmas, and the congested fixture list means football fans have more opportunity to place bets. The full sets of fixtures on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day always capture the public interest, and from a betting perspective, these are busy days on which affiliates can capitalise. The first weekend of the New Year is another big one, as teams from the Championship and the Premier League join the FA Cup at the third round stage. This is the oldest knockout competition in world football, and attracts interest from around the globe. It’s rare to see an FA Cup third round without lower league sides defeating teams from the top tier of English football, and shock results can generate real opportunity for revenues. The jump racing season is also well underway, and there are several top quality horse racing meetings at this time of year. The highlight is the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park, held each year on Boxing Day. This race is probably only surpassed by the Cheltenham Gold Cup in terms of prestige in the National Hunt calendar, so is certainly a good event to focus any December horse racing campaigns around. On top of this, there are tournaments such as the Darts World Championship and the Snooker Masters. Whilst these are traditionally more niche sports for gambling, the interest in them has certainly increased over time. These are both prestigious events in their respective sports, with good opportunity to attract turnover from a different source.

What tools and support will you be providing to webmasters and affiliates during this time?

As you would expect, bet365 will continue to offer our affiliates the highest level of support during this busy period. We have a large team of Performance Marketing Managers, and always ensure we are available to answer queries and provide assistance around the clock. We proactively inform our affiliates about new promotions as a matter of course throughout the year, and this is especially useful around Christmas, when we always have a good selection of seasonal promotions. We’ll be sending out the details of our offers, and will be available to discuss them and provide guidance on how to promote them. As ever, there will be a whole range of creative available for use on site relating to our products and offers. We can advise on the best creative to promote each specific offer and what content and creative to use for specific offers, helping to maximise conversion rates and secure strong activity levels.

Is bet365 throwing its weight behind a big headline promotion this year, or will we see a number of targeted promotions across the products?

I don’t think a single headline promotion is the kind of route that we’ll be taking. We have such a diverse customer base and range of products available that one big headline promotion would have less impact than a number of bespoke offers across the products. Our sports customers really enjoy the consistency of our offering, and can expect to benefit from all of our ongoing offers over the Christmas period. Bonuses on winning accumulators across a variety of sports and risk free bets are particularly well received at this expensive time of year! We tend to have a really exciting casino promotion each Christmas, and this year is no different. bet365’s 12 Levels of Christmas runs from 1 December right through to Boxing Day. The promotion rewards players for more activity at bet365 Casino, and there are some amazing prizes. Depending on the level you reach you can win a cash prize, an Apple MacBook, a Monaco Grand Prix Package or a top-of-the-range new Jaguar, Porsche or BMW, amongst many others. This will run alongside several other Christmas-themed casino promotions. Poker enthusiasts can benefit from our new Wrapped Up Rewards promotion. By earning coins within the poker client they can open presents on a daily basis to reveal whether they’ve won cash prizes, iPads or prize draw tickets. As players progress through the rounds the values increase, so again, customer loyalty is rewarded. For bingo lovers we started our festive promotions in November this year, with the Winter Wishlist. This gives players the chance to win early Christmas gifts until 14 December. Following on from this, there is £2million to be won over the Christmas and New Year period with our Christmas Cracker promotion between 8 December and 1 January. Feature games will be on offer throughout the promotional period, with huge cash prizes to be won. Finally, the 12 Days of Christmas promotion will provide cashback incentives, free bingo and shopping vouchers, amongst other prizes, on a daily basis up until Christmas Eve. As you can see, we try to cater for our broad customer base, and I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s something there for everyone!

“All 20 English Premier League teams have seven fixtures scheduled from 2 December to New Year’s Day. Add in the FA Cup starting in January and other events, and you’ve got increased betting opportunities over a sustained period.”