Already saturated with established operators, Sweden can be a challenging market for new brands to enter. However, when products and marketing merge, new possibilities arise – allowing new brands to elevate their position in a tough market.
When Sweden introduced a licence regime in January 2019, many of Europe’s top operators flocked to secure their piece of the newly regulated market share. This meant high investments in marketing and sponsorships – which was followed by a great deal of scrutiny of the industry from the regulator, government, and the general public.
So much so, that increased regulation of the already existing requirements for moderation of marketing was under discussion to enforce rules on the marketing of gambling similar to the ones in place for alcohol products. Increased regulation may result in even higher barriers for market entry for competitors, which could lead to reduced competition (consolidation), fewer operators/products to choose from and thus a reduction in the share of users that play within the “regulated sites” vs the black market and offshore sites (channelisation). Channelisation is something which the market has already struggled with, but hopefully with increased efforts from the regulator to take actions against unlicensed operators in combination with more communication and cooperation with the licensed gambling industry, this problem can be reduced.
How to stand out - while being “moderate”
Since entering the market in April 2020, Soft2Bet has experienced similar hurdles. We initially launched our online casino site, YoYoCasino and shortly after the sports betting brand, Campobet. Both brands use the well-known “Pay n Play” model, which eased the registration process with BankID and connected the bank accounts of players directly via Trustly. These two brands gave us the foundation to build our presence in the market.
For our next brand, Betinia.se, we wanted to do things differently in order to stand out. We aimed to create a stronger emotional bond with players, to increase loyalty towards the brand. A huge challenge as the regulation in Sweden does not allow retention campaigns, for example bonuses or free spins, outside of the one allowed welcome offer when a player first plays a game under the license.
So, we decided to focus the product and our marketing campaign around what we dubbed a “moderate gamification engine”, essentially a traditional gamification engine but completely stripped from any type of bonuses, financial rewards or incentives. The Betinia gamification engine focuses on building sports arenas in European cities. We also added the city of Stockholm to the mix and in time we will add more Swedish cities to increase the connection between the players and the product.
Merging product and marketing
While the notion of using product features as the focal point of marketing campaigns is not new, in the case of Betinia, we were still paving new grounds in Sweden. In fact, to our knowledge, no other operator has any gamification layers in its products, let alone having a marketing campaign centred entirely around these features
The brief to our creative agency was to build a campaign that centres around this, and with betting, odds and casino being positioned in the background but still easily identifiable as the core products. The inspiration behind this came from more casual/recreational games such as Ages of Empire - where the progression in the game is made very clear to the player.
We wanted to do the same thing - to show players that Betinia offered something more to get excited about on top of the traditional sportsbook and casino offering. Something that hasn’t been seen before on the licensed market.
The results were quite a stunning display of animation which was added on top of real-life locations and actors.
You can see the finished TV spot here:
Promising start to the campaign: Setting new records
After going live with the brand in early February, we put it through a rigorous testing phase, using external parties to ensure that all functionalities worked as expected before starting our marketing activities.
After successful completion of the “test phase,” we then launched our broad marketing campaign on TV, Outdoor billboards, display advertising and saw immediate results. We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of new players and in addition, based on early results also an increased level of player retention - i.e., the art of making sure that players continue enjoying our brand.
From a market perspective, we saw a big jump in market share in March - despite only launching the campaign towards the final third of the month.
Looking to the future
These are just the early signs of what’s to come in my view. Soft2Bet will continue to explore and try to deliver the best value and the most engaging product to our players within the boundaries of the regulation of course.
We have further plans for expansion in the Swedish market, as well as other licensed markets and hopefully the learnings from our initial success in Sweden can be copied and adapted to those markets as well.