The following text is contributed by Oliver Niner, Head of Sales at PandaScore.
Every fan has a story of how they came to love their team, their favourite player or a match they’ll never forget. Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool for any sports or esports organisation seeking to build its brand and grow.
It’s key to any modern content marketing campaign and essential to distinguish and position your brand amongst the competitors. The NBA is an example of sports media and storytelling, be it from the league, the teams and the players themselves. It’s why we see series likeThe Last Dance and the slew of behind-the-scenes shows from major clubs in the Premier League.
It’s established that rich storytelling and content is an effective means of reaching the younger audiences that esports betting serves. And while it’s already used as an acquisition and retention tool, there’s an opportunity to integrate storytelling into the product and betting experience itself in esports.
As suppliers continue to develop their esports betting products, innovations like BetBuilder allow bettors to create their own storylines through your product in ways they haven’t before.
How Betting Taps into Storytelling
Sportsbooks already tap into storytelling through their advertising and the ways they market events to existing bettors and fans. Often this looks like content to build awareness of an event coming up or integrated as part of a promotional offer.
When bettors are meeting up to watch a match at the stadium or on the tv, they’ll tell their friends about the bet they’ve placed and why they’ve placed it. It’ll be a factor that enhances their engagement with the match, not only might they have team pride on the line, but there’s money to be won! It all adds the drama and theatre that makes watching your favourite matches entertaining.
In markets like Italy, where the ban on advertising from gambling-related brands in 2019 meant that operators had to think outside the box. They built media sites that engaged with their players’ favourite sports with the aim to enhance the sports betting experience through storytelling.
Along with the marketing prior to placing a bet, innovations like an esports BetBuilder give operators the opportunity to harness storytelling during and after the betting experience itself.
BetBuilder as a Vehicle for Esports Storytelling
BetBuilders already exist in the sports sector, with bettors having made news headlines with their outrageously unlikely wins, near misses or ‘what was I thinking?’ moments. It’s part of betting’s culture to tell your friends about the bet you’ve placed, how you’ve taken a swing on a crazy longshot bet for the match today, and the rollercoaster of emotions as the game (and your bet) played out.
All of this storytelling happens after the bettor has placed the bet. It’s effectively word-of-mouth marketing that happens after the bettor has completed the customer journey.
BetBuilder opens potential marketing opportunities for operators who want to lean on the features of the product. In a digital landscape saturated with marketing messaging, referrals and recommendations from friends are proving to be the most powerful for acquisition and the hardest to obtain.
In a sector like esports with lower marketing budgets compared to sports, as well as an audience that isn’t as responsive to traditional marketing methods – this kind of peer-to-peer influencing is invaluable. It cuts through the chaff of marketing content that customers see every day and gives them a first-hand account of an experience.
This kind of bettor-first storytelling is yet to be fully harnessed in esports betting, in part out of product maturity and quality. BetBuilder products are a highly effective storytelling vehicle that offers bettors a highly engaging way to bet that enhances their esports experience with greater depth.
For example, there was a big anticipation around the semifinals of the League of Legends World Championship, where the Chinese team, JD Gaming was going against the Korean T1. Not only that, the community was excited to see JD’s player 369 versus Zeus, who is part of the T1 roster. With an esports dedicated BetBuilder, the operators can build a campaign around the story – offer the users a possibility to bet on JD’s win if they support the team, and in the same bet slip, go for Zeus having more kills than 369, because they think the opposite team’s player will score more kills.
It puts the storytelling power in the hands of the bettors themselves, sharing their tales amongst friends in the places they love, about the esports teams and players they love.