Effective Strategies for Diversifying KPIs in the Gambling Industry: Advice from Vitali Matsukevich

Following the launch of the ‘iGaming KPIs: Casino and Sports Betting Glossary’, Vitali Matsukevich, CEO at SOFTSWISS, sat down with SBC to talk about the key aspects that gambling operators should consider when assessing their performance.

Matsukevich pinpointed some of the traps that many betting and gaming companies fall into when looking at different metrics, before explaining why he believes the industry must shift towards player-centric performance models in 2024.

So SOFTSWISS recently launched its ‘iGaming KPIs: Casino and Sports Betting Glossary’. What was the thought process behind creating this report?

VM: ‘iGaming KPIs: Casino and Sports Betting Glossary’ was created in response to the recognised need for clarity and depth of understanding in online casino and sportsbook KPIs. Compiled by a team of seasoned SOFTSWISS igaming experts across departments such as Reporting and Analytics, Managed Services, the SOFTSWISS Casino Platform and the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, it was made to serve as an all-in-one igaming resource.

Our main aim behind this approach was to equip online casino and sportsbook operators with the actionable insights and adaptable strategies they need to navigate the fast-paced changes in igaming regulation, technology and player behavior. To help achieve this, the guide also dives into analytical tools and emerging trends, such as AI and machine learning, that are fast-shaping the future of igaming metrics.

Additionally, we also wanted to expand the focus beyond just traditional financial metrics like Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) and Net Gaming Revenue (NGR), incorporating metrics also related to player engagement and day-to-day operations in order to offer a well-rounded understanding of KPIs. As a result, ‘iGaming KPIs’ is not just a report; instead, it’s a bit of a roadmap for the industry, offering some key insights operators won’t want to miss.

Have you found that there are particular KPIs which tend to be misunderstood by betting and gaming operators? If so, why do you think this is?

VM: Many operators fall into the trap of giving undue weight to straightforward revenue metrics like GGR and NGR. This skewed focus can then lead them to neglect more nuanced KPIs such as Player Lifetime Value (LTV) or Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), for example.

One reason for this is the perceived simplicity of tracking immediate financial metrics, which may seem easier to interpret. However, such a narrow focus can often result in flawed strategy, as it ignores player engagement, retention, and other long-term success indicators.

For a more comprehensive understanding of their performance, the overall message is clear; operators must embrace a diversified approach to KPIs, taking into account both financial metrics and subtler indicators of long-term success.

Can you outline some of the changes you expect to see when it comes to online casino analytics?

VM: When it comes to the future of online casino analytics, we foresee several key changes, largely driven by AI and machine learning. 

In player services, AI chatbots and predictive analytics are poised to significantly enhance the player experience – although we strongly believe that a balance with human interaction is still essential, as not all players appreciate fully-automated support.

From a marketing perspective, AI will improve player segmentation, boosting conversion rates and reducing acquisition costs. These changes will make marketing campaigns increasingly efficient as well as highly-targeted towards their ideal audience.

In terms of security, advanced algorithms will be employed to more accurately flag fraudulent activities. This development not only affects revenue-based KPIs but also has a broader impact on operational efficiency and the casino platform’s reputation.

Finally, real-time analytics are expected to play a more significant role, allowing for instantaneous adjustments to marketing strategies or game offerings. This will make KPIs like Real-time ROI or Real-time Engagement Rate increasingly relevant.

Overall, AI will introduce more nuanced and effective KPIs across the board, leading to transformative changes in online casino analytics.

How does this differ from what you expect in the sports betting industry?

VM: When comparing the future of analytics in online casinos with that in the sports betting industry, several key differences stand out. Both industries are gradually coming together, with casino projects increasingly adding sports betting components. 

However, the analytics for these two sectors will still differ in important ways. Real-time analytics are growing in importance for both, but they’ve been a fundamental part of sportsbooks for a while due to the time-sensitive nature of sports events. As a result, real-time KPIs like in-play betting patterns and immediate ROI become more important in the sports betting analytics landscape.

Additionally, our Sportsbook team suggests that analytics in the sports sector will focus on leveraging a more favorable public perception to draw in new players. This will likely lead to the development of analytics tools specifically designed to gauge player opinion and its influence on acquisition and retention.

To sum up, although both industries are likely to incorporate AI and machine learning technologies, the specific focus and application of these technologies will differ. Sportsbook analytics will place greater emphasis on real-time data and bettor sentiment, setting it apart slightly from online casino analytics.

How will the integration of new technologies change the way in which we define the success of a company?

VM: The introduction of new technologies will very likely shift our perceptions of success from ‘simplistic’ static benchmarks to more fluid, personalised measures. Much like every igaming project is a unique ‘snowflake’, the advent of new technologies will enable online casino and sportsbook businesses to create their own individual definitions of success based on specific nuances and developmental stages.

Success won’t just be a snapshot, but rather a long-term view, requiring continuous investment in new technologies and innovation. As technologies evolve, companies will find that there’s no one-size-fits-all success metric. Instead, it’s more likely to vary depending on how well the company leverages technology to meet its own unique objectives and challenges.

At SOFTSWISS, as our own toolkit for analytics expands, we’ll gradually gain more insights into potential advancements that may redefine our own goals and KPIs. For instance, predictive analytics might allow us to proactively solve problems and identify opportunities, fundamentally changing how we evaluate success. 

While it’s hard to predict the exact trajectory for igaming over the next three to five years, it’s safe to say that technological integration will make success a more nuanced and multifaceted concept.

Can you tell us why the industry should be shifting towards more player-centric metrics rather than traditional KPIs?

VM: The industry should consider shifting its focus towards player-centric metrics for several compelling reasons. Firstly, adopting a player-centric approach now prepares operators for future technological advancements, particularly the expected surge in integrative tools that will combine data from various sources like social media and in-game metrics. Being ahead of the curve in this aspect can set operators up for success, allowing them to offer highly personalised experiences.

Secondly, a growing number of other operators are already turning to predictive analytics empowered by AI and machine learning. These advanced tools are designed to study player behaviour and anticipate possible issues before they arise. By then analysing this rich data set of player-focused metrics and proactively tackling challenges, operators can stand to significantly enhance their overall player experience

Lastly, there are a lot of things you can spend your budgets more effectively on, but players aren’t one of those. To clarify, it’s not just about the players themselves, but also about where they come from, their quality in terms of engagement, and the team that provides them excellent service. Investing in a player-centric approach in order to keep players happy makes financial sense, as it’s simply cheaper for operators to retain a current player than to bring in a new one.

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