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Change is kinda scary, right? But you can’t really avoid it. This big blue marble we’re riding through space just keeps spinning, and that means our lives keep spinning along with it. Our businesses, too, are spinning and changing. What’s the cliche – “the only constant is change.” I don’t know who said it, but it’s not wrong.
Today the change that’s got me concerned is what’s happening with the value of digital advertising – mostly Facebook and Google (where we casino people spend most of our digital ad budgets). If you’re spending money there now, you need to pause and think for a moment about that spend because it’s not worth what it was last year.
In truth, the value has dropped out the bottom. Big time. When Apple (whose iOS controls most of the smart phones and nearly all the smart phones for people with the most disposable income – our best casino players) recently changed their rules, changed their operating system, and effectively put the clamps on data-tracking and ad serving companies like Facebook and Google, it really kicked them in the teeth. Hard.
How hard is that kick in the teeth? Well, only 13% of people agree to allow apps on iOS to track them across the internet. Only 13%! That means what was an Everest-sized mountain of user data is now … a sad little mole hill, and all that super-smart tracking and ad-serving data has mostly evaporated. What you were paying more and more for each year (and yeah, most of our casino ad budgets were leaning into that super-smart ad tech), well, now that spend isn’t so smart anymore.
It’s kinda like someone planted three full-sized trees right in front of that freeway billboard holding your monthly food specials. That billboard isn’t helping you from behind those trees …
The only constant is change, right?
So what does that mean for our casino marketing activities? You need to lean into your first party data. Hard. Increase your efforts to collect player data, lean into one to one communication. Email, SMS, casino apps with messaging built into the apps, mail even.
All of this stuff is now more valuable, and more important than ever before.
It’s like when I’m doing my ninja training and I have a blindfold covering my eyes. Taking away my sight doesn’t make my hearing or sense of smell BETTER, but those other senses become more important. And if I’m going to defend myself from the other swordsmen, I’m going to need to get more from my ears and my nose.
Ten years ago we built a casino-specific data tracking analytics and campaign building/reporting tool called RECON, and right now it’s the engine that’s helping us help our clients organize their first party player data and use it make up for what we’ve lost with Facebook and Google.
Maybe you have other (less efficient, less effective) tools for organizing and leveraging your player data, and if so, then lean in however you can. I don’t know if Apple is going to let Facebook and Google back into that tracking game. If they don’t, your casino needs to get with the ninja training and use those other tools.
You can’t stop swinging that sword. Just open up those other senses, and use those other tools, so you can keep on chopping!
There’s a whole world of more efficient, more effective advertising tactics we can put to work for you and your casino. This is what we do when we’re not ninja training with blindfolds on.