Epom: How Responsible Advertising May Encourage Safer Gambling

Sergiy Shchelkov, Sales Executive at Epom, has shared valuable insights into responsible advertising techniques and how they can contribute to a safer gambling environment for everyone involved.

What is the first thing that we should be looking to do when it comes to creating a policy on responsible advertising?

We must ensure that the susceptible users are separated from the responsible ones. The technology that allows it is there, and the policy should consider the well-being of the users that may interact with such advertising. The overall nature of the advertising mustn’t be misleading and must be clearly understood by the end user.

Before creating ads and targeting, it’s crucial to understand why bans occur in different regions. Although these bans may differ by location, they commonly share similar traits:

  • It is essential to forbid advertisements that are specifically directed toward children who are below the legal age. 
  • It’s important to promote a healthy gambling culture. Encouraging responsible gambling is crucial, so it’s essential to mandate the inclusion of messages promoting it. With such messages, players can make informed choices and avoid the pitfalls of compulsive gambling.
  • Ensure that advertising doesn’t exploit vulnerabilities or mislead consumers. 
  • Ensure that all advertising complies with legal standards and regulatory guidelines.

To deal with it, I recommend trying advanced targeting techniques: setting audience segmentation criteria to reach users and excluding inappropriate demographics by geotargeting. Also, implement frequency capping to control the number of times a particular user sees a gambling ad within a specific time frame. Epom ad server provides these features, and it helps prevent overexposure and minimise the potential negative impact of ads for our clients. 

Where do we start? What are the common pitfalls in advertising? Can you give us some examples and ways in which they can be avoided?  

You should start with a clear strategy and act in iterations; never go all-in on something new and seemingly exciting. It’s much better to go step-by-step and analyse everything, make incremental changes to ensure that your goals are being reached. The message should be transparent, accurate, and not misleading.

I want to highlight the main pitfalls I often meet. 

  • You are ignoring the importance of mobile responsiveness and providing a poor user experience in betting advertisements. To avoid it, start by ensuring that all betting advertisements are optimised for mobile devices, providing a seamless and user-friendly experience. Test ads on various devices and screen sizes to identify and address issues. Prioritise fast loading times and easy navigation to enhance user satisfaction. 
  • You are focusing too heavily on portraying unrealistic or exaggerated winning scenarios in advertisements. It’s a really big mistake if you want to advertise responsibly. Your advertising content has to provide a realistic portrayal of the risks and rewards of betting. Avoid misleading messaging that emphasises only positive outcomes. Strive for transparency and honesty in advertising to build trust with the audience.
  • Ineffective targeting can result in ads being shown to inappropriate audiences, including minors, vulnerable groups, or individuals with gambling-related issues. Use robust targeting features to reach the intended audience while excluding inappropriate demographics. Implement strict age-verification processes. Regularly monitor and analyse ad performance, making adjustments to ensure compliance with regulations and responsible advertising standards.

What steps can we all be taking to reduce the carbon footprint of our advertising?

  • Behavioural targeting and personalisation: Optimise the performance of your ads by implementing advanced targeting techniques and personalising them according to the audience’s behaviour and interests. It reduces wasted impressions and minimises unnecessary energy consumption.
  • Ad tech optimization: Evaluate and optimise advertising technologies, including ad servers and DSPs, to ensure they operate efficiently and minimise resource consumption.
  • Use Dynamic Creative Optimization to create personalised ad experiences in real-time, reducing the need for multiple static creatives and potentially lowering overall ad serving costs.
  • Programmatic advertising efficiency: Ensure programmatic ad campaigns are optimised for viewability, ad fraud prevention, and other efficiency measures to reduce unnecessary resource usage.
  • Ad fraud prevention: Invest in robust ad fraud prevention technologies and practices to reduce wasteful ad impressions and improve the overall efficiency of your advertising campaigns. 

What are your top five tips for creatives when addressing responsible advertising, and why are they important? 

As I mentioned before, the content matters a lot. Clear and appropriate messaging is crucial to ensure the audience understands the content without ambiguity. So, I recommend paying attention to these five tips when creating a campaign for different channels (mostly universal for every region): 

  • For search ads, it is vital to feature “18+” clearly in the ad text and prioritise safe gambling messages. 
  • Sponsored/paid ads are better for targeting the 25+ demographic. Focus ads on the entertainment aspect of gambling rather than promoting it as a guaranteed way to achieve success or financial gain. 
  • Make sure you’re targeting 18+ people and using age-verification mechanisms to keep underage audiences out. 
  • If you’re using YouTube content ads for promotion, be sure that all content and channels are rated 18+. Viewers should log into accounts that are age-verified.
  • It is best to avoid animation styles resembling content made for kids and cuddly or exaggerated characters, such as animals from fairy tales or gambling nods.  

And finally, what’s the shape of things to come for advertising in the gambling sector? What does the future look like? 

The mobile gambling market is projected to reach $250.4bn by 2027, with an annual CAGR of 17.8%. I highly recommend focusing on mobile ad formats and responsiveness, ensuring a great user-friendly experience. Mobile gambling is especially in high demand in Africa because internet speeds are slow. And the demand continues to grow in this geo. 

GEOs are also expanding in the gambling market. It’s also a significant push to optimise the advertising strategy according to the audience’s interests and requests, providing A/B testing. Epom ad server clients often use this feature by testing campaigns using 30+ ready-to-go ad formats for their ads. 

By the demand of our clients, I’m sure native ads and pushes will be on top for years. Native still converts well and allows ads to narrow your targeting segments by the geos demographics. Push formats maintain good volumes and adhere to a loyal content policy, making them a must-watch for push traffic, especially with the upcoming Safari update covering iOS users. It’s also a good idea to try new ad formats to attract new players in the competitive advertising space. 

And we have to be ready to face a VR experience in gambling. VR is popular in the gaming sector, so there is room for improving the user experience for betting businesses to add more entertainment to the igaming sector. And, of course, AI will play a key role in enhancing the user experience by tailoring games to individual player preferences and styles.  

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