In the 4th edition of the Revenue Engineers update we look at Oddschecker & Google, the wild panic over ad blocking and the exciting world of 404 Pages.
ODDSCHECKER & GOOGLE
Google is starting to return betting odds in the search results, we doubt they will launch an odds comparison service.
Google has a new search result format called “answer box” which is designed to show you answers on the search result page and saving you a click to a website. So for example “How to Boil an Egg” will return a result that looks like this: Boiled Egg Result Screenshot
It has generated mixed feelings from website owners as it is depriving them of website visits and potential ad revenue. In a google view of the world the assumption would be it improves user experience and means they will carry out more searches.
How do you do it?
There are a few elements that need to be in place for this work:
- Your website needs to rank very highly for the search term in question
- You need to be using Schema Mark-Up
- Your webpage needs to be easily parsed and understood by the google bot
What have Oddschecker got to do with this?
Well the smart chaps at Oddschecker have everything in place and are being used as the source for the “answer box” for a number of betting odds related queries such as:
There is a good write up over at the SEM Post about Political Betting Odds being shown and for the major US sports Vegas Insider seems to be the favoured site.
Will Google Launch an Odds Comparison Service?
We seriously doubt it for a number of reasons including the regulatory/legal issues as well as the relatively low query volumes compared to other verticals such as travel and finance make this unviable in the grand scheme of google projects.
There is a lot of noise in the press about the latest ad blocking stats, while it should be a concern there are a lot of things that can be done to seriously mitigate the impact. Below is our full response to CalvinAyre.com when they asked us for a comment.
Our View on Ad Blocking
We are strongly against ad blocking when it is implemented in a blanket way for example at a browser, OS or ISP level. However we are pro-choice where a user decides for themself if they wish to implement ad blocking solutions.
The best way to approach these questions is to divide it into the two types of clients we help with ad-blocking avoidance techniques and they are the Advertiser (Gambling Firm) and the Publisher (Affiliate).
We have built custom solutions for affiliates where they can serve ads on their website that don’t get restricted by the ad blocking technology and we have a seen a significant uplift in impressions served.
For an affiliate new to this the best place for them to start is to invest in first-party ad serving and to stop relying on the third-party ad serving of the gambling companies.
Affiliates as publishers can also detect if a user has an ad blocker in place and show custom messaging to those users or even go as far as restricting access to content.
We are also advocates of back to basics advertising and make sure you are using icons, buttons, text links and other formats that don’t get blocked.
From an advertiser perspective, we’d actually flip this on its head and say users who have opted-in to not see any banner ads wont click on your ad anyway, so not to get too hung up on it and focus on optimising for the users who want to engage with your brand.
However, the most important thing advertisers can do is to make sure they are only paying for impressions served and not impressions requested. This means you are only paying for ads that are not blocked. It’s a small technical detail that will have a big impact.
The second recommendation we have is that a number of ad networks pay to be added to ad blocking white lists, which means ads served via their network will be seen. It’s not a perfect solution and the whitelists change regularly but we make sure clients who require it are on the right white listed networks.
Impact on the Gaming Industry
The gaming industry more than most industries is used to dealing with restrictions on ad serving across all channels and I’d say it will be business as usual adapting to ad-blocking and whatever other restrictions happen over time. The real challenge for gambling brands is to create ads and content people actually want to engage with and from that perspective the industry still has a long way to go.
Ad blocking is pretty much a desktop only issue. The use of ad blocking on mobile is practically non-existent (for now), so we always recommend a mix of desktop and mobile display activity.
Four oh Four!
A 404 error page is an important customer interaction point, gaming firms deal with it a number of different ways and we haven’t seen anyone do an amazing job.
Why do 404 Errors Happen?
Typically a page has been deleted, a user has made a typo in a url or an incorrect link is pointing at your site. Regardless it’s an important customer interaction point as your customer can’t find what they where looking for and in an instant satisfaction world the onus is on the website to fix the problem.
What makes a good 404 page?
A page that explains something has gone wrong and helps the customer to get to where they need to be as quickly as possible
What does a perfect page look like?
The page should have the following elements:
- Clearly explain in plain language why the issue has happened
- Provide a search box
- Provide main navigation links
- Provide customer service contact details
- Ask the user what they where looking for
- Proactive live chat support to help
How do Gaming firms handle 404?
We’ve had a quick look and found a range of solutions.
The best 404 error page we saw was Paddy Power however the addition of a search box and pro-active live chat would make this perfect. We felt that the bet365 error page was easily the least user friendly.
888, William Hill and Jackpot Joy all automatically redirect 404 errors back to their homepage. While we can understand why they do this, it will still be frustrating for the user who is looking for a particular piece of content are being automatically redirected somewhere else with no explanation.
What do Non-Gaming companies do?
One of our favourite 404 pages from outside of gaming is the hotels.com page which allows you to book a hotel, plenty of customer services and navigation links as well as a free form survey box.
We also love the recent blog post from the tech team at the Financial Times about the user testing they have carried out with their 404 Error Pages.
Would you like to ask a question or continue the discussion? Please feel to contact us directly .