How SkyBet are Gaining Market Share - Graham Carrick Share PDF Print E-mail
Sports Betting and iGaming

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The online gambling sector is possibly the most competitive sector there is. There is very little you can do to differentiate yourself from your competitors.  As soon as one bookmaker adds some new functionality, like cash out, every other bookmaker races to add it too.

Many bookmakers have taken to mergers (eg. PaddyPower/Betfair, Coral/Ladbrokes) to grow their market share, but there is one that has taken a different route – SkyBet.

SkyBet have a huge focus on social and group betting.  When you look at market share, SkyBet have moved from 4% of the online betting market in 2012 to 8% in 2016.  Looking at available online data it appears that their rate of market share acquisition is only speeding up.

From Similarweb.com we got the gambling sector web traffic leaderboard here - https://www.similarweb.com/category/gambling/sports

Similarweb doesn’t show app traffic, which is obviously hugely relevant for any company.  That said, high web traffic is an excellent indicator of where the market is going as web traffic will be converted to mobile app traffic in the future.

Similarweb.com industry pages run on averages, but we went to the specific Similarweb pages for each bookmakers’ web traffic and got the traffic for July. 

Effectively, from going through SkyBet’s offering it appears that social and group betting games are their secret sauce that has seen them move into 2nd place online for July (in terms of traffic anyway).  They are running rings around every other major bookmaker when it comes to social and group betting and are not letting up.  They are, in fact, pulling further ahead by adding new games and new functionality in existing games.

SkyBet have a core-betting mobile app, but also run very successful standalone apps - Super6, Fantasy Football, Fantasy Six-a-Side and Pick 6 for horse racing.  These apps are all shown on the home screen of their core-betting app and are fully integrated.

How SkyBet make social and group betting work

With SkyBet you have one account across all apps with the same username and password, which is a winner.  That way, if you see an ad for Super6 and sign up to play for free, you have now also created a real-money Sky Bet account that will be age verified when you first deposit.

By creating a standalone app, the functionality is excellent.  Other major bookmakers often simply link to social games in their own main app, which doesn’t give them the functionality or quality of design that they need.  SkyBet have created excellent apps that encourage players into the real betting environment after they’ve played their free-to-play game.  Have a look at the figures below, which show the success SkyBet are having with both their free-to-play and pay-to-play leagues.

Performance on Week One of the Premiership Season

Super6 is the original group betting game Sky introduced in 2008 and their flagship product.  On week one of the premiership this year there were at least 1.18 million free-to-play players on Super6.  Search “My @Super6” on Twitter and you will find endless users posting their week’s selections on Twitter.  Given how much better our own Facebook and WhatsApp engagement is compared to Twitter, we can only imagine how much engagement SkyBet are getting on Facebook and WhatsApp!

Considering how well Super6 has done, it is no wonder SkyBet are doubling down with social games by adding their Fantasy Football app, which heavily pushes real-money leagues alongside the free-to-play games, and also the newer Fantasy Six-A-Side.

Summary

All SkyBet social and group betting games have:

  • Solid standalone apps - with great functionality and design
  • One username and password across all SkyBet apps
  • Excellent use of WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter sharing
  • Good use of private and public leagues and also a great addition of getting celebrities to play each game so you can see how you match up to them
  • Commitment to these games - they are not trials or tacked on, they are core to the company strategy

Are there shortcomings to SkyBets games?  Yes is the short answer.  The long answer is that it is different for each game.

Some Super 6 short comings

  • Huge focus on free-to-play
  • No real social or real-money element to the game
  • The game itself is probably a customer retention tool rather than an acquisition tool. Yes, above the line ads drive players to download and play the game but the app itself does not really drive it.
  • Also, picking 6 scores is not really a bet that most punters would make on a regular basis. The odds on six scores would be ridiculous so SkyBet push you to make a bet based on the accumulator of winners, draws and losers that you have picked. Not a bad move but not really the bet that the customer just picked. Although picking 6 correct scores at an average of 7/1 would lead to odds on par with Leicester’s last year.

Fantasy Football App

Really good for paid and free-to-play leagues but lives and dies on the first week of the season.  Also, this game does not translate to real world bets.

Fantasy 6-a-side App

Our guess is that SkyBet created this because they don’t want to waste their Fantasy Game over the course of the season. This bite-sized version focuses on one match at a time so they can use it multiple times weekly.  The problem with this game is that it also does not really translate to a real world bet other than pushing you to back one of your players as a goalscorer.

So What's the Future of Social Gaming?

SkyBet have shown that social gaming done right is clearly the way forward. SkyBet are expanding their range of games as they have moved into 2nd place in the bookmakers’ web traffic list.  Competitors like PaddyPower are scrapping games they have invested in for over ten years to add new games with the same core problems.  It is clear that as long as other bookmakers don’t commit to social gaming, they won’t succeed.  SkyBet will pull further ahead, possibly to such a level that it may eventually challenge Bet365 for top spot.

Graham Carrick

 
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