Author: Sebastian Scheplitz
iGaming has always been among the largest and most lucrative industries ever since the dawn of the Internet.
As constant innovation continues to keep the industry evolving at an unprecedented pace, so does the need for iGaming companies to evolve with the ever-changing trends in this competitive industry.
In an industry whose global market value was worth €45.5 billion ($53.7 billion) in 2019 and projected to grow 11.5% every year from 2020 to 2027, every company operating in the iGaming sphere needs to keep the pace or wither away – casinos, sportsbooks, game developers, brands, marketers, and agencies alike.
It’s all about survival of the fittest and fighting tooth and nail to grow and keep market share, which involves adapting to the business’s changing trends.
We can see that clearly in the European iGaming industry, where trends emerge constantly, and where companies that don’t get on with the program will be left in the dust.
And before we dive into the topic, this video will guide you through different topics and events that are trending in the iGaming industry now.
Trending Topics in the iGaming Industry
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the topics that made up the online casino and gambling trends for 2020 – the ones that became the talk of the industry thus far.
1. The Ascent of Esports Betting
We were already aware of how fast esports was growing as a “real” sport worldwide. And, while COVID-19 threw the esports live event calendar into disarray, the pandemic situation has given esports even more visibility and viability as a real sport to bet on.
It brought in a whole new demographic to the sport, especially in the wake of the abrupt cancellation of sporting events during the initial outbreak.
Interest in esports both as a spectacle and as a competitive sport is unprecedented.
For instance, a highly-touted regular season match between Fnatic and G2 Esports in this year’s League of Legends European Championship broke viewership records. According to the League of Legends European Championship, the match between the eventual finalists was the most-watched regular season game thus far in history.
2020 illustrated how competitive esports managed to fill a gaping void during the pandemic situation. Such esports leagues were in the right place at the right time with their adoption of a fully online medium to survive and even thrive during a difficult situation.
Esports doesn’t require 11 men a side in a pitch fighting for possession of a ball, after all.
The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the iGaming industry cannot be understated. It has sent major sporting events on hold, and with it, sports betting action.
COVID-19 has also thrown a lot of the sporting calendar into disarray, leading to abbreviated seasons or hastily-concluded ones.
3. Economic Recession
The economic onslaught that COVID-19 wreaked on the global economy plunged it into the worst recession since World War II. And from the looks of it, the situation is going to get worse before it gets any better.
Fortunately for companies operating in the sector, while gambling remains a discretionary cost for most consumers, it has proven to be an adaptable industry to a recession, if not recession-proof altogether.
4. Betting Shop Closures
Social distancing is the new norm. And, as quarantines and lockdowns continue in the coming months, customers will naturally be expected to avoid coming to physical betting shops to place bets or to gamble.
This has led to a substantial increase in permanent closures. However, on the off chance that some reopen, smaller physical chains will find it hard to survive such uncertain times.
5. The Resumption of Major Sporting Events
Most major sporting events and leagues had been, until recently, been suspended or wound down quickly.
However, the big leagues of football, basketball, baseball, and hockey have since resumed, such as the German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League, to name a few.
As the specter of COVID-19 still looms large, many of these leagues have had to open to little to no fanfare because social distancing norms had them play without an audience and restricted to their respective “bubbles”.
The Pivot to a Fresh but Older Demographic
The advent of the pandemic has also seen closures of physical gambling establishments, which have conversely led to a substantial increase in online gambling for droves of displaced customers.
Additionally, state-imposed lockdowns and curfews have forced everyone – including the older age groups – to experiment with new technology and learn new digital skills. This includes learning to use mobile apps and technology for gambling because physical casinos and sportsbooks have been forcibly shut down for the time being.
This has provided iGaming brands a golden opportunity to fine-tune their targeting strategies towards this exodus of customers and this unprecedented interest in iGaming en masse.
However, questions remain: Can the iGaming industry manage to retain the older generation that has come in droves? How can iGaming brands and marketers leverage this new opportunity and adapt to the “new normal”? It remains to be seen.
One thing for sure is trends will continue to come and go as fast as a blink of an eye, and iGaming marketers and operators will have to adapt to them if they are to remain relevant to the general public.
That leads us to the next question: what makes topics trend in the first place? What should iGaming brands and marketers keep in mind when using such trending content?
What Makes Content Trend?
Trending content relies on ensuring that the topic can give your content a good enough short-term boost so that creating it is worth every second of your time.
The key elements of creating trending content are threefold. First, you need ample time to create relevant, high-quality content about a trending topic. Next, you need enough resources to promote the content. Lastly, you reap the benefits of the new set of viewers that have come for the content itself simultaneously, as the topic continues to trend.
Time is of the essence when it comes to trending topics.
Trending topics average around ten months before they are considered to have “peaked”. That is, after the initial spike in interest generated when the topic emerges, grows, and explodes in demand.
The thing is, as shown in the above graph, not all market sectors are the same as far as trending topic lifespan is concerned.
Some industries remain trending for longer, while others have shorter lifespans. For instance, personal finance and travel are topics that trend longer, while sports and fitness have a shorter lifespan.
Just because iGaming brands such as sportsbooks have to work with short timelines for trending topics in sports doesn’t mean they shouldn’t touch them at all.
For instance, the NBA Playoffs are back on and trending towards fever pitch as it builds on towards the culminating event in basketball – the NBA Finals.
Sportsbooks can use this momentum to provide useful and relevant content in the buildup to the series itself.
This can be done by providing match predictions, educated betting tips, form guides, or history between the teams that will duke it out so that their content – and their business – can stand out even during a time of media frenzy.
The key is to time it right.
If you happen to be in the business of devising content marketing strategies for online casinos, content marketing ideas for affiliates, or engaged in online sportsbook marketing, the same is true.
The key takeaway for iGaming brands, content marketers, and writers is that they need to work on different strategies depending on different trends.
Sports events come and go quickly; thus, its trending topics have a much shorter shelf life.
Therefore, you will need to roll out the content before interest in the topic – and thus, your content’s relevance – wanes.
How Do You Find iGaming Industry Trends?
Let’s not try to reinvent the wheel. Creating timely, valuable, and relevant content is a must no matter what business you operate in because it is a proven way to attract and retain audiences.
Nowhere is this more evident in saturated and extremely competitive online gambling and sports betting markets.
That’s why spotting the latest iGaming marketing trends are crucial.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools at disposal for iGaming and online sportsbooks marketing. When used as part of a solid, unified, and cohesive marketing strategy, these tools can spell the difference between driving engagement or losing the interest of your customers.
These form pieces of the puzzle that you need to achieve your objective in working with trending topics.
1. Do Your (Keyword) Research
Keyword research is helpful in this regard. We’ve put together some of the best keyword research tools in our article describing the 5 best free keyword research tools.
We show you which keyword research tools you can use to gain valuable insights as to what is trending where – free or paid.
2. Understand Your Industry
Understanding your industry is always beneficial. There are trending topics within your realm of business that will increase your audience’s attention.
If you are an online sportsbook, you may want to focus on the sporting events that have begun worldwide in the wake of the pandemic, such as the English Premier League or the German Bundesliga.
From there, you can explore which keywords are buzzing, so you can tailor your content marketing strategy accordingly.
3. Keep Tabs on the Competition
Know your competition. In a relatively young and burgeoning market like iGaming, you never want to be left in the dust by your competition. While the goal of identifying trending content remains the top priority, you must be abreast of what is going on in your industry.
Check their blogs, websites, and social media to see how they are reacting to trending topics.
4. Stay on Top of the Times
Lastly, stay updated by frequenting the most prominent industry news sites so that you can continue developing your brand and open it to new customers while engaging old ones.
It is challenging, especially if you don’t have a marketing team at your beck and call, but trust us – it will be well worth your while.
Apart from our blog, there are plenty of iGaming news sites out there with relevant industry news and authoritative content and parlay that information to provide a unique insight on which iGaming trends are hot.
We have more about this topic in detail in our article regarding how to spot content marketing trends for iGaming, which we highly recommend you read (if you haven’t already done so).
Putting It All Together
Once you’ve drilled down on a sound, cohesive content marketing strategy, you will need to build content that attracts, engages, and converts. Then, your brand messaging must communicate in a language that your audience understands.
Localization is a prerequisite when you are targeting topics in specific markets. Your brand’s tone should fit the local milieu; otherwise, the time and effort you spent on researching keywords can be a complete and utter waste.
You may have a cohesive content marketing strategy using the most appropriate keywords searched with the most premium services. Still, if you can’t make it contextually relevant to your audience through localization, it will not translate into conversions.
It can be condensed into this: once you’ve figured out your target audience, what trending topic you’d like to discuss, and on what media you use to communicate the message to your audience, shaping the tone is what will put everything together.
The devil is in the details – and the subtle nuances of your brand messaging and tone are the deciding factor that determines whether your content marketing strategy succeeds or fails.
It’s the final deciding factor that will either make you stand out in a crowded room or fade into the background.
Header Image Source: Photo by Tembela Bohle from Pexels
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “A Glance at the Trending Topics of 2020 in iGaming (And Beyond)”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂