The Online gambling sector is very active online; however, the focus areas for many of the brands studied are websites and gaming apps. Across the board, their social platforms do not contain a steady flow of engaging content and appear to lack sophistication and look very in-house in design. Very few of the brands use Instagram effectively, which is incongruous as the platformhas exploded in popularity in the last 12 months and functionality such as swipe-up-to-buy (bet) makes so much sense.
INSIGHT: Opportunities exist for Online gambling companies to better-utilise the current social media platforms to grow their fanbase.
Going All In – Size & Engagement
The top-performingbrands in our study were Paddy Power, bet365, and SkyBet. These brands had the most-engaging content as well as the largest audiences; Paddy Power (c2.24 million), bet365 (c.2.05 million), and SkyBet (c.975k). Bet365 topped the studywith new fan growth (4.6%) which translated to approximately 89.4k new fans (mainly on Facebook), followed by SkyBet 0.9% (c.8k new fans), mostly on Twitter.
Paddy Power performed exceptionally well on Twitter, generating c.55k mentions and c.2.1 million engagements over the period, which exceeded the combined engagements for all the other brands studied. The brand with the second highest number of engagements on Twitter was Coral with c.535k engagements; however,they only managed to generate c.19k mentions (mostly on Twitter) and lost 185 fans over the period (mostly on Instagram).
Paddy Power topped the average engagement across the period, which averages Instagram likes and comments, Facebook likes and comments, and Twitter retweets, replies, and likes. Their average post reached approximately 289k people, generating an average of 8k engagements per post. Next was Coral, who reached an audience size of c.89k per postand generated c.1.3k engagements per post.
INSIGHT: Although the gambling sector is well-established, generating millions of pounds in revenue each month, the same brands could all significantly benefit by enhancing their social media content regarding creativity and execution.
Post Activity & Response Time
The most active brand, with regards to the amount of post activity,was Ladbrokes, with 12.9k actions (mostly on Twitter), in contrast to Betfred, who only had 1.4k actions across the period (mostly on Twitter). Betfred had the lowest number of mentions (c.4.9k), lowest engagement (9.1k), and only picked up 323 new fans during the period. However, they performed well on their care score, which measured their response time to social media queries. They averaged 32 minutes to get back to their audience with a response. SkyBet averaged 37 minutes and bet365 only 20 minutes. Topping the care score was Paddy Power, averaging just 10 minutes to respond to messages.
INSIGHT: Brands need to be cognisant of the number of posts they publish. Over-posting tends to result in lower-engagement (content overload). Under-posting makes it difficult to keep the brand top-of-mind. Brands need to experiment with more and lessposts and learn from the data.
Time to Take the Gamble
The optimal post-time is also something we studied. The best time for William Hill to post is on a Saturday at 4 pm; posts at this time would receive an average of 438 actions. Their worst time is on Saturday at 7 pm, where they would only receive c.238 actions, which differs from Coral, who we found receive the best engagement at 9 pmon Saturdays (334 actions), with their worst time being Sunday 9 am(249 posts).
INSIGHT:Companies pursuing a social media strategy need to grasp the critical importance of understanding one’s audience and knowing when best to reach them.
Does a Picture Say a Thousand Words?
The study revealed that no single format works best across the board. Coral, bet365, and Ladbrokes get the best engagement from photo posts, receiving 86%, 77%, and 74% engagement respectively. William Hill gets the best engagement from text posts (75%). SkyBet receivesthe most engagement, particularly likes, comments, and shares from their video content.
INSIGHT: Brands need to know which content creates the most engagement with their audience. Is it text, photo, video, or a combination of these that generates the greatest engagement?