15 February, 2021

Neuro world order

2020 was a seminal year for iGaming. Out of the pandemic chaos, it adapted and evolved on a massive scale. But according to Mark McGuinness, renowned digital marketing director and iGaming futurologist, the next two years will be turbulent for global economies, job markets and gambling regulators. Here he examines what the future might hold for digital entertainment-based gaming and gambling.

The Goldilocks Effect
Let us address the elephant in the room. iGaming in certain markets could be facing some form of mass extinction or prohibition akin to a modern-day social temperance movement, like those of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Or best-case scenario an inhospitable environment hindering survival. The Goldilocks effect comes from the classic Brothers Grimm story of the Three Bears.

It’s also used by NASA scientists when they’re looking for a habitable zone around a star where it’s not too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist and allow life to flourish. In marketing, as many affiliate marketeers know, the Goldilocks effect has been taught in marketing curricula for years as a way to look at applying psychological techniques to understand the customer journey that leads to a purchase decision ortransaction. It has powered pretty much all growth marketing exhibited over the last few years in the form of promoting operators with the biggest sign-up bonuses to entice choice.

Adverscience and the digital environment
Digital marketing is changing and has been for some time. Why? Technology is driving wholesale changes in our innate learned behaviour and in our consumption and interaction with our daily digital environment, with brands, products and services via that most ubiquitous of inventions, the smartphone. I’m sure you’ve heard or seen manypresentations that we are in the attention or experience economy.

The smartphone has unleashed and empowered many of us but it has created an attention deficit syndrome, and with untold access to limitless information, it has caused an equal and opposite effect of digital decision or cognitive overload. Our brains now have attention or interest spans of seconds, which perhaps with a move out of necessity to working from home, coupled with Zoom fatigue, certainly means we are time poor, more irritable and confused by the relentless onslaught of messages, which may result in the wrong purchase decision being made or bet placed.

There are no official figures, but it’s estimated the average person may be exposed to anywhere between 6,000 to 10,000 advertisement interactions every day, estimations that are double to what they were in 2007. But unlike IT where you can scale your business by adding another rack of servers, we can’t add another rack of servers or another organic brain to assist, or at least not currently that is.

With all these environmental factors, iGaming marketers, whether affiliate, product, acquisition or retention-focused, need to embrace the discipline of neuromarketing and apply brain science to marketing, advertising and product research.

Neuromarketing should be viewed to inform and educate what’s going on in the target consumer’s brain, and how the brain reacts and unpacks information to marketing stimuli in different contexts and different channels.

Neuro design
We have all experienced the growth and busines needs in areas of UI and UX. It’s fair to say design is not just a tactic or just doing A-to-B testing on your landing or conversion pages. It’s a strategic requirement and a strategy. While human creativity is a beautiful andwonderful thing, we shall see more of neuroscience pervading all facets of an iGaming operational business with the rise of neuro designers, neuro proposition managers and other hyperbolic terms, with skillsets that draw on psychology, aesthetics, AI, social psychology and advanced testing models that all combine to understand how the brain decodes information.

Neuromarketing versus marketing
Many of my fellow marketers are quick to debunk neuromarketing perhaps on the grounds of an ethical standpoint. The reality is marketing is geared to influencing people to buy. The internet is a huge experiment and many large behemoths have been collating big data on neuromarketing principles for some time.

Our digital footprints of how the brain processes visual information and interacts with visual stimuli, as witnessed on many social platforms, include how social psychology impacts the conscious and unconscious processes as they relate to consumer choice and behaviour influences, attitudes and opinions. Neuromarketing should be viewed to inform and educate what’s going on in the target consumer’s brain, and how the brain reacts and unpacks information to marketing stimuli in different contexts and different channels to ultimately show how the brain translates this information into consumer action decisions, such as registering an account and transacting.

Responsible gambling
We are already witnessing changes in how operators view their responsible gambling requirements with recent appointments of renowned experts from the scientific community in areas of psychology and behavioural addictions to some well-known operator brands. These businesses understand the need to not only look beyond data-science to merely drive financial KPIs, but also look into the science behind neuromarketing. Why? Becauseunderstanding the brain via neuroscience will unlock methodologies to attract the profile of a customer who, in the main, enjoys responsible gambling participation, but equally allows businesses to develop profiles and detection pattern systems to reduce placement, context or advertisements that may result in customers susceptible to gambling addiction behaviours.

With advancements in neuro marketing software, it’s very likely in the not-too-distantfuture that this software will be a pre-requisite within the operators elected tech-stack or platform, or is provided by a 3rd party in the same vein as how a vendor is selected for provisioning CRM solutions or an affiliate marketing provider.

The future of digital gambling is not about more content in the shape of casino games, more sports betting markets, or giant steps forward in technology or seismic innovation shifts. It’s about simplicity, reduction in betting choice and the neuroscience that ensures products are relevant to consumers in a responsible gambling manner.

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