Online gambling considerations to enhance user experience and reduce churn

04th February 2019

Online gambling and gaming is a fiercely competitive market and any disruption to your users’ online journey can have a massive impact on your business. Whether caused by hardware, software or content, any issues impacting the users’ experience, can hit operators hard on the bottom line and prevent customers from returning.

So what can you do to minimise the online risk and keep customers coming back for more?

  1. Effortless online gambling journeys beginning with account creation

The downside of any online business is how easy it is for players to abandon you in favour of the competition. So getting the user experience (UX) of your website or mobile app spot on gives the greatest chance of reducing abandonment and increasing customer retention.

Online journeys within a gambling app or website need to be as effortless as possible from account creation to placing a bet. Complicated UX with too many steps, slow journeys or error-prone pages are the best way to send visitors to the competition. Players need to navigate in the quickest and most efficient way to access the service or game they want. Account creation and specifically registration forms are a particular sticking point and a common part of the online journey causing abandonment.

As the first point of contact in the online journey account creation needs to be quick and easy to complete in order to convert visitors. Due to legislation, there are country specific compliance and verification issues, that make the registration process difficult to implement. However optimising registration forms is key – from bonus codes to usernames – the online gambling industry has many account creation pitfalls to avoid.

User experience isn’t simply about usability, minimising errors and ensuring speed are also vital to your players’ online experience.

  1. Fast response times and minimal latency

At thinkTRIBE we know from our experience working with leading betting operators, that journey speed is crucial to the online gambling and gaming industry, and more so on mobile devices. Operators are on a continual quest to minimise latency, improve response times and minimise the risk of errors impacting the journey.

For in-play sporting events, where results are delivered instantly and time between bets is brief, online journey speed and eliminating lag is critical. And for multi-player gaming, latency can make or break user experience.

We see improvements to journey performance when clients implement WebSockets over long polling – often used in gaming for live odds feeds and in-play betting for live results, WebSocket technology is implemented to improve delivery speeds by reducing latency. By keeping the browser connection open, it’s possible to keep passing data from the server to the page without the need to re-establish a connection each time.

CDNs are commonly implemented to improve speed by reducing network latency. CDNs cache page resources on globally distributed web servers, making content physically closer to users and reducing the round trip time. However CDN use particularly where multiple CDNs are involved can in fact introduce performance issues – for example CDN servers can suffer from configuration issues and get overloaded with requests.

Whatever technology and web optimisation techniques you use to increase speed, you also need performance visibility to ensure it’s all working optimally. The best way to measure and improve performance is with proactive monitoring of key online journeys. Synthetic monitoring gives you real-time visibility of slowdowns and errors and helps you isolate all the root causes – even those in places where you least expect to find them.

  1. Maintaining user experience across mobile devices

It’s now the norm for users to bet and play on multiple devices including smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop. Smartphone gambling grew faster than any other form of gambling between 2016 and 2017. According to Online Gambling Quarterly in Q3 2018, 64% of gambling operators’ revenue came via mobile devices.  And closer to home last year’s annual report by the Gambling commission stated more than half of the 9m who placed a bet in the UK in 2017 did so via mobile or tablet.

With eWallet services allowing players to make financial transactions online across multiple devices, operators need to transition between yet more channels and devices. Omnichannel games are even merging in-store, desktop, and mobile customer journeys.

A consistent, seamless user experience across devices has never been more critical. Mobile players demand convenience and ease of use but convert into paying customers faster and spend more time playing online.

The first step to maintaining experience across mobile devices is with real-time visibility of mobile journey performance measured on real android and iOS browsers. Enabling you to identify issues and quickly isolate root causes impacting the mobile experience.

  1. Managing technological complexity

Gambling and gaming websites are deployed on complex platforms with complicated infrastructure and reliant on multiple third parties. Due to this complex nature it can be difficult to monitor performance and the resulting UX particularly when it comes to activities such as live odds feeds and gaming. In addition online customer journeys are varied and transactions complex so a monitoring approach needs to replicate real customer behaviour to identify all the issues that could be impacting your users – rather than simply following predefined URLs.

Clients often come to us for help monitoring gaming such as Casino games because they’re often implemented using technology that’s difficult to monitor like Flash or HTML5.

The experience and knowledge provided by a managed, synthetic monitoring service will help you overcome the challenges brought about by technological complexities. A managed service will save you time and effort whilst reducing the risks and focusses on the real issues impacting your users.

  1. Confidence in your web/app and brand experience

With data breaches on everyone’s minds, operators need to develop high levels of trust and confidence by delivering an outstanding brand experience. As well as ensuring data and transactions are secure, it’s vital to perform web/app monitoring from the customer’s perspective giving you the confidence that your users feel happy and secure, however they are interacting with your brand.

In a highly competitive market, innovation is paramount. The need for speed of new releases introduces the likelihood of glitches, with the potential to damage user experience. When you’re under pressure with new features and releases, monitoring during the development process can help give you confidence that they won’t impact performance.

One of the best ways to differentiate in a competitive market is to offer rewards and incentives but this attracts fraudsters. And with users playing on multiple devices, tracking fraud prevention is more difficult.

Device-fingerprinting fraud prevention technology paired with machine learning enables you to predict the risk for online transactions. With this information, operators have the ability to offer incentives to players they trust whilst limiting incentives for suspected fraudsters.

What next?

Due to the complex nature of online gaming and gambling and intense competition, ongoing, proactive, intelligent monitoring from an experienced partner is key, to provide you with real-time visibility of website/app performance based on real customer behaviour.

As a managed service provider thinkTRIBE’s proactive support is key. We help many leading operators including William Hill, Betfair and Ladbrokes maximise their online performance and the resulting UX of their website and apps.

ebook: Ten Steps to a Successful Web Performance Monitoring Programme