Any online gambling company with a desire to perform well in today’s crowded market has to spend millions on marketing. Brand penetration, word-of-mouth advertising and countless other buzzwords spin around the offices of PR executives, all conspiring to make sure you know their products. Whether through TV adverts, web interstitials or giant billboards, just hearing about a particular online poker room makes you considerably more likely to spend your money there.
Apiafi Associates is a firm of independent gambling consultants that was recently commissioned to perform a study into which of the many online gaming companies was the most popular with internet users. They used the Google Alerts service in order to gauge which brands had customers most interested and invested. The Alerts resource allows any user to select a topic and then have Google email them with relevant news and web results relating to their selected topics. Apifia Associations recorded how many of these Google Alerts were generated daily for specific company names during the month of December 2009. They then combined this with some additional information to produce a list of the top ten most popular online gaming brands.
In 8th place was the up and coming Bwin Interactive Entertainment. This Austrian based gambling firm has long been a relatively popular sportsbook site, but in the last 12 months has catapulted into one of the most formidable gaming corporations in the world. In 2006 they purchased the popular OnGame online poker network, which they have helped grow into the 5th most popular network in the world for player traffic. They have also purchased Gioco Digital and have become one of the major players in Italian online poker. In a couple of years, they have gone from a relatively unknown poker operator to one of the best sites online.
Top of the list was a surprisingly strong finish for Bodog. Although they pale in comparison compared to the likes of PokerStars (2nd) in terms of player traffic, it seems that they engender more brand loyalty and buzz than any other firm. Innovative sports exchange and online poker operator BetFair was in 3rd, joining Ladbrokes, Bet265, William Hill, Party Poker, and 888 in the list. There was no appearance for Full Tilt, despite being the 2nd largest online poker network in the world and having the largest stable of popular professional players. This may well be due to the fact that they concentrate the vast majority of their marketing resources to North America, rather than taking a more global approach.
“With much talk of digital and social media as well as the investment gambling companies put into PR generally we were keen to see how well the industry was getting its message out there with impressive results,” said Josh Apiafi, head of Apiafi Associates. Josh has extensive experience in the online gaming industry. He is the former head of the Professional Jockey Association, as well as the Director of Horseracing and Head of Marketing at Betfair. “The method’s simplicity is its trump card,” he said of his choice to use Google Alerts for the study. He added, “This wasn’t a case of one brand having a lot to shout about during this particular period or having one or two very strong days that skewed the data.”