User retention strategies for better mobile betting app engagement

12 May 2021
Adam Gontarz
Adam Gontarz
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  • Intro

You came up with a great idea, prepared promotional materials, and launched your app. Now, you have your mobile betting app up and running. 

There’s some initial interest. Quite a few people have downloaded your mobile betting app and even started using it, yet their engagement dropped quite dramatically in a heartbeat.

There may be a few reasons behind it: bugs in your mobile app, unintuitive onboarding, a lack of interest, expectations not being met… or you just simply don’t do enough to engage users in your app. Because one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to focus all your attention on user acquisition, but not care about actual mobile betting app engagement.

And that would be pretty bad.

How to drive mobile app engagement, make your users stick with your app, and drive higher revenue? That’s what we’ll cover today.

Mobile betting app engagement: the nuts and bolts

Research from Apptentive shows that only 40% of customers actually use apps a month after downloading, with only 10% still using them 6 months after and less than 5% a year after.

And what you really want for your mobile betting app engagement is customer retention, even if driving it is nothing but a challenge.

Customer retention in mobile apps
Customer retention in mobile apps

For you to see why we believe in mobile betting app engagement, we are providing you with a number of compelling reasons why doing so can have an impact on your business:

  • Increased engagement results in more deposits (including first-time ones) and new sign-ups.

  • With high mobile app engagement, you can create growth loops within your app and make your users brand ambassadors or affiliates (we’ll cover that later on).

  • Increased customer retention leads to higher betting frequency.

  • Loyalty and engagement can result in quick in-play responses and real-time odds, driving even more time and money into your betting app.

  • When you sequence events correctly, you can grow your wallet-share and increase cross-selling among users, as well as recover abandoned betting slips.

  • Customer retention, not only in mobile apps, means reducing player churn to the minimum by involving users in growth, usage, and development.

In short: the higher user engagement in your mobile betting app is, the higher your revenue may be. 

And that’s probably something you’re aiming for, right?

How to measure your mobile betting app engagement

Betting mobile app retention metrics
Betting mobile app retention metrics

When analyzing mobile app engagement, there are many metrics to consider. However, we recommend focusing on the ones below:

  1. App Downloads. You should be careful with this one though, as it’s often viewed as a vanity metric if it doesn’t correlate with MAU (see next point). If a lot of people have downloaded your app, then you need to make sure they’re actually using it and implement user retention tactics if necessary.  

  2. MAU – Monthly Active Users. The number of people who have used your betting app over the last 30 days. Therefore, it is a good starting point for your user retention campaigns.

  3. CLV – Customer Lifetime Value. The total amount of money you make out of a particular user before they stop using your mobile app. This is usually measured by the average monthly purchase value per user. 

  4. Session-related metrics: session interval indicates the frequency with which someone uses your app and therefore determines its stickiness, while session duration measures how much time users spend on your app in a single sitting – the longer, the better.

  5. Number of weekly bets – the number of bets placed in your mobile betting app by users on average. It should be shared via Transactions Services or Player Account Management (PAM) systems.

  6. Wagers Volume – the value of bets placed in your mobile betting app.

Knowing what to measure in terms of mobile betting app success, it’s now time to check out how to rock it.  

How to increase mobile betting app engagement

Implement affiliate programs

Many restrictions exist in mobile betting app marketing, including those arising from legal restrictions. Running your own affiliate program is one workaround, though. 

Affiliate programs can assist a mobile betting app with retaining customers and building a loyal community around it. There are increasingly more companies that want to implement referral programs for their own mobile apps, too. 

A betting-related affiliate or referral program should be easy for would-be users to join, but also comply with the business goals. It often requires a combination of user-friendliness and advanced mechanisms in order to be successful. 

And while there are ready-made solutions on the market, they may not meet your requirements in this area. In many cases, it’s better to start with a tailor-made affiliate program solution for an online betting app and customize it according to your needs and updates on the go. 

This may also include sign-up offers. 

For example, offering €10 for a user’s first bet when signing up can be a great method for customer acquisition, but offering an extra €5 on top of that for inviting friends to the app might work wonders for customer retention – and acquisition, too. 

While these mechanisms are quite advanced and complicated to develop, they are definitely worth the investment. 

Make the most of social gaming

Typically, social gaming refers to online games that allow for interactivity between players. And it plays a major role in mobile betting app development – since a mobile betting app is purely about gamification, right? Players not only play within their odds but can also play with others, compare their results, and share them publicly. Users have the ability to spread the word and add others quickly and easily with mobile betting apps that offer easy integration with social media. 

The use of social media for social gaming within betting apps may boost in-app engagement and result in faster user acquisition. 

And that’s not the end yet, since there’s another social element you may want to leverage: sharing the joy, which means betting together.

The importance of peer–to–peer gambling apps is growing – these days, apps like those designed to simulate fantasy sports league play are more popular than ever. They are similar in both concept and execution to private “sportsbooks” that offer the same betting lines available through traditional bookmakers but are limited to a few players. It’s no wonder that the best social betting apps merge the features of a conventional social network with that of a modern betting app. 

This has created a new way to bet through enhanced social interaction. Having a shared experience with the app facilitates stronger ties to the community than people’s separate experiences with their various mobile devices or paper betting slips.

Rewards system and loyalty points 

It’s important to pay attention to two different groups of users the most: loyal customers and new customers. 

Are loyal users the best users? They are very likely to stick to your mobile betting app as well as recommend it to others if they are encouraged to do so. And how to encourage them? Promos like welcome bonuses, free bets, and special betting slips are good for their online betting experience.

And practically every mobile betting app runs such promotions, so if you don’t want to fall behind then you should include them in your app too. 

You should make it possible to claim bonuses, free bets, and other deals for making referrals to the app and generating new sign-ups. There may be higher rewards, lower rollover requirements, or better terms and conditions included in some deals, say for those who spend the most time and money in-app. 

A reward program is what provides fuel for mobile betting apps. 

Users of a mobile betting app who consistently place bets receive these rewards. The bonuses are often redistributed on the basis of “bet more, get more!”, however, this is not a rule of thumb.

Mobile betting apps offer loyalty rewards in a number of ways: some mobile betting apps assign points for losses or the value of a bet. There are also offers of percentage cash back. Another approach is to prioritize their high rollers based on tiers. Every mobile betting app can use a different program to motivate its users.

There are various ways that mobile betting apps calculate points, but typically it is done according to the number of bets placed, the amount of money bet, as well as the type of bet. Those users who accumulate enough points will be rewarded with bonuses at each level. Depending on the tier, one level may offer a higher percentage cashback given to losers and another may reward its members with material prizes or points.

In addition to being a great way to test software and free-roll some bets, rewards are a great incentive to increase user engagement and encourage more frequent betting.

Leverage in-app messages

A smart in-app message that is tailored just right, yet is automated, can be one of the best channels for user retention. And there’s data to back up this claim. With in-app messaging, brands can expect user retention to increase by as much as 74% within the first 28 days of sending such a message. 

In-app messaging is an excellent method for reaching and engaging customers while they are using your app. When used contextually, in-app messaging can be effective even if it doesn’t require immediate action. There are many reasons why and cases were sending such a message can be justified, and even warmly welcomed. For example, your users could simply be welcomed to your app and asked to accept your notifications to gain insights first-hand. They might also be introduced to new features, warned about payment failures, or encouraged to upgrade and upsell. It obviously depends on the user and their willingness to take a particular action. 

For example, if there’s a user who spends a lot of time on your mobile betting app but drops out every time they are about to finalize the transaction, you can send a message encouraging them to return to their betting slip. 

Segmentation and relevance are not the only things you should keep in mind for in-app messages. When crafting them, you need to test out different variations to gauge the effect on different metrics such as conversion rate, click-throughs, and revenue. Targeting also matters: utilize location settings so that advertising messages can include real-time updates. Content should be personalized and sent at crucial drop-off moments. 

Something that is related to in-app messages in an app inbox, especially if users disable push notifications (we’ll cover them later on). It works like an email inbox and lets you send a unified message to all of your app’s users at once. 

For example, you can send a special offer such as a free extra bet for extra time in order to drive mobile betting app engagement and generate revenue.

When delivered to the app inbox, users are prompted to click on an icon to read the message. Of course, not everyone will read every message or react as desired, but chances are that most users would like to have “inbox zero” in the app and so they will click through. However, we wouldn’t advise going overboard with this opportunity and spamming the app inox.

Make the most of push notifications of mobile betting app

While you can send in-app messages to users who actually use your app, push notifications may be what prompts them to return to the app when not using it. 

Players who already bet or show interest in a particular game can still be influenced by app push notifications. They may also help to bring back users who downloaded the app but didn’t make any deposits or place any bets. 

Here’s where timing and relevance are key as well. Sending push notifications to users without context or rationale may cause them to find your messaging intrusive and even uninstall your betting app. Make sure you tailor push notifications to user behavior. 

For example, you could send a push notification to a user who added bets to their bet slip but closed your mobile betting app before placing them. A well-targeted push notification can remind them about their betting slip waiting to be confirmed in the app.

To put this into context, even more, such push notifications could also inform about new odds or include a countdown to a particular event.

You can improve mobile betting app engagement and user retention by creating data-driven sequences of events and triggering messages, in no time.

Utilize email campaigns

Emails aren’t dead – quite the opposite. They can bring back users to your app with triggered, targeted campaigns that are linked with abandoned betting slips or behavior-related updates.

For example, suppose an avid Aston Villa fan used to place many bets in the past but no longer does. In that case, you could remind them about upcoming Villa games and provide special offers for them, thus driving mobile betting app engagement. 

Like with other channels, here messages should be tailored according to user behavior and delivered at the right times. 

If you combine this channel with in-app messages and push notifications, you’ll have a powerful machine working on increasing mobile betting app engagement. 

Use retail touchpoints

Who said that you can’t promote your mobile betting app offline? 

Thanks to QR codes, your potential users can download your mobile betting app in a heartbeat and begin using it in seconds. We’re not talking about putting them on leaflets and redistributing everywhere, but rather about targeted promotion in places where your desired audience is actually present. 

Where can you try your luck with promoting your mobile betting app via QR codes?

  • Sports equipment/clothing stores,

  • horse racing and greyhound tracks,

  • shopping malls,

  • stadiums and sports arenas,

  • betting shops (they can place a QR code for your betting mobile app next to standalone betting terminals to encourage people to use your app), 

  • other touchpoints.

This may seem to be rather a customer acquisition tactic, however, you should look at it from a customer retention and mobile betting app engagement point of view. Users acquired this way might be more engaged than those who stumbled upon your app by accident while browsing the App Store or Google Play, right?  

Double-check the legal requirements, though. There are countries in which such promotion is forbidden and against the law.

Don’t ignore social media 

Social media can help you bring users back to your mobile betting app. How? Well, there are at least a few ideas you may want to check out. 

First, you may want to find relevant social media groups where you can promote your mobile betting app. These may be groups for football fans, for example. You could also consider creating a community around your app and involving users in its development from day one. 

Again, these methods may work both for user acquisition and user retention, which can lead to higher mobile betting app engagement. 

And although social media is also excellent for retargeting, you need to be aware of paid promotion limits for the betting industry that make it almost impossible to promote your app with ads. That’s why workarounds may work just well. 

The devil is in the… onboarding

All apps really need to have a robust onboarding process, yet not all of them do. And that may be a killer for mobile betting app engagement. 

When it comes to a betting app, you need to make the onboarding process as simple and intuitive as possible if you want users to make deposits and place bets. Because of this, user onboarding is important not just for their first in-app steps, but also for customer retention. 

You should include multiple registration options, including social media logins, to shorten the customer journey for creating an account or signing up.

Introduce users to app features throughout the onboarding experience, but find the right balance. Don’t be too heavy-handed with the advice, and don’t overwhelm with too many onboarding steps. 

Over to you

When it comes to mobile betting apps, user acquisition is not the only challenge. User retention is even more crucial for increasing mobile betting app engagement since it’s a real indicator of whether you are driving revenue or not. Make sure that you reach your audience with an omnichannel approach and by providing a seamless user experience. 

To do so, work on a marketing strategy but also take into consideration how your mobile betting app is built, what features it offers, and how it could be improved. 

If you need some assistance, don’t hesitate to give us a shout and we can work on your betting system development together!

Contact us and get a free project estimation!

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