Search Technology

US gambling is here: What search advertisers need to know

By Ashley Fletcher, chief marketing officer

August 15, 2018 | 5 min read

Big news was made in the U.S. recently when the Supreme Court paved the way for gambling to become legal nationwide. This obviously has far-reaching implications on a number of industries. But one of the most intriguing is advertising, specifically search.

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Already one of the most hotly contested industries in advertising, gambling is set to make search battles even more contentious, given how important it is to customer acquisition. So what exactly should the search industry be on the lookout for as gambling enters the space? Here’s a look at three things.

Big European Investment

The online - and offline - gambling industry is incredibly vast and sophisticated in the U.K. and Europe. So investment in the U.S. market by overseas companies is a certainty. For example, Alitzei, Betfred and Totejust wrapped up a huge acquisition deal amidst the expansion of gambling in the U.S., with Paddy Power Betfairbuying immediate U.S. market share through its acquisition of FanDuel.

While this will make search more competitive, the U.S. market poses a few unique challenges. For example, many gambling companies won’t necessarily know how to properly launch the U.S. market with new 'product areas' - such as college football. This could provide a rather large stumbling block towards initial success. To best circumvent this and hit the ground running, the need for competitive intelligence in search will be at an all-time high. Gaining the insights necessary to succeed starts at the top with a strategic plan that’s driven by advanced technology that gives advertisers a full view of the entire search ecosystem. With this type of strategic approach and infrastructure in place overseas, companies will be in a better position to succeed in this market.

New Partnerships, Consolidation and Affiliates

While the gambling industry itself may expand rapidly, we should anticipate consolidation within search, as well as a huge jump in the number of partnerships as companies - especially international ones - look to “buy in” or simply get the fastest access to the necessary data to make their offerings a success right from the word ‘go.’ Gambling in the U.S. has huge potential so “FOMO” is definitely rampant within the gambling industry as the market becomes defined.

In addition, it’ll be interesting to see which affiliates crop up and see the most success. For example, affiliates are a huge source of customer generation in the U.K. and Europe. And as a result, they typically take a cut of any profits. This could play a unique role in how much gambling sites invest in search.

Impacts on the Search Auction

Once new entrants arrive in the U.S. market, the need for competitive intelligence will rise dramatically due to the shear number of brands expected to flood the space. Furthermore, competitive intelligence will also be in high-demand as a way for U.S. online gambling brands to contend with legacy EU companies that have a trove of existing experience and insights from other regions to pull from to drive initial success. Also, with the market still taking shape, and other factors such as legislation that still need to be worked out - given this will be on a state-by-state basis - it’ll be difficult to budget and forecast, at least in the beginning.

This is why it’ll be imperative for search advertisers in the gaming category to have the proper tools in place to get a constantly-evolving lay of the land in the search space. Allowing them to refine and tweak their strategies will give them the best possible success in auctions.

Gambling in the U.S. will be one of the most unique cases to hit the search industry in many years. And by keeping these key items in mind, advertisers can make sure that they’re on the winning side of this exciting new opportunity.

Ashley Fletcher is the vice president of marketing for Adthena

​The Drum's Search Awards are now open for entry with more details found at the dedicated wesbite.

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