How Has the Rise of Online Helped Marketing Efforts in Gaming?

In the early days of the internet, each site specialized in one offering. You wanted to find something, you had a small selection of sites to choose from. But, as popular themes emerged, sites multiplied and soon the internet was a vastly saturated market of websites and similar offerings, with distinct differentiations. That’s when it came down to the marketing efforts in order to entice customers to choose one site over another. This has never been more true than with online poker. There are countless poker sites, each one offering a slightly different position than its competitors and each targeting a different person profile. But every site is angling after the same potential audience. So, how has the world of gaming, and specifically online poker, utilized the internet to push itself forwards as an offering all on its own?

The Early Days of Online Poker

Online poker as we know it began in 1998 with the first pay-to-play poker site. Since then dozens have cropped up, each targeting a different reason people choose to play poker by offering a different experience of the game. Marketing for poker really boiled down to what the site could do differently than its competitors, and usually, this revolved around the bonuses and benefits that each site offered to take over its competition. As early as 2003, sites started offering satellite competitions which helped amateur players spiral out of the amateur leagues and gain a seat at professional tables. One such example was Chris Moneymaker, now a well-known poker star, who won a seat at the World Series of Poker through a satellite tournament and ended up winning the entire event. Since its inception 20 years ago, online poker has moved with the developments in the digital revolution and used every advancement of the internet to improve its marketing proposition to speak to fans. The latest craze is the augmented reality one (AR), made all the more popular by Pokemon Go. Live versions of online poker follow this by allowing players to see real dealers for poker, blackjack, and roulette. This replicates the immersive environment and gives higher stakes that might be more familiar to those who play traditional poker.    

A Wealth of Poker Knowledge

Online poker especially has utilized every single development digital has given us, most recently apps for the rise in mobile gaming. Mobile gaming has captured our attention and sapped some of the energy reserved for more traditional ways of gaming. Being able to pick up and drop games and play shortened versions of games in order to pass time is the way gaming is heading. While longer campaigns still retain their popularity, this short-form gaming that has been made accessible through mobile gaming has been picked up by most major developers. There are many apps and sites that also offer strategic thinking tips for playing poker, providing a wealth of knowledge for beginners and amateurs and also allowing more established players from one variant, such as Texas hold ‘em, to move into other variants such as Omaha hi-lo and seven-card stud. By utilizing the fact that the internet can allow brands to position themselves as fonts of knowledge, brands are able to capitalize on this to attract new users.      

The atmosphere of the casino can be captured through poker developments such as online poker. 

Getting People to Play

Any game has to have a strong pull for an audience to play. But often just having a strong position isn’t enough to get audiences engaging with the game or app as the developer hopes they will. Something more needs to be done. In the case of online poker, offering welcome bonuses and benefits is a key way marketing efforts are used to attract players and users. The exercise app SweatCoin, which measures steps taken while carrying your phone, and awards cryptocurrency for successful miles walked is another prime example. The app offers coins developed through using the app to be exchanged for prizes and offers – from protein supplements to wristwatches to flavored coffee. Poker promotions are often offered in the form of welcome bonuses and free hands, which can differentiate sites against their competitors and provide a quick win for potential customers as they weigh up the odds of choosing each site. The game HQ Trivia entices customers through the potential winnings they can achieve through playing the game. Some of the winnings for playing and succeeding on the rounds of questions are upwards of £300,000. As a gaming proposition, in order to stand out, sometimes enticing customers with extras and rewards just for playing can go a long way in ensuring they choose your brand and company.    

Getting Famous Through Poker

As previously mentioned, Chris Moneymaker is just one of many who have gained fame and fortune through playing online poker. From his humble roots to online poker success, he was also a brand ambassador for 888poker, showcasing his rise to the top in a relatable way. American actor Verne Troyer also leant his personality and likeness to be a recognisable face of poker before his death. The actor - known for his cheeky side - matched up well with the excitement of poker. The internet has opened up online poker as a way that can propel people into the poker scene, which had previously been a closed circle. Streaming online poker sessions on Twitch, for example, can also give people their poker fame. By developing a strong following on Twitch for their poker tips, strategy, and examples of the online games they play, they can enter the professional arena in a different way. Capitalizing upon the newer digital ways of doing things can end up propelling amateur players into professional circuits. This led to Twitch streamer Parker TonkaaaaP Talbot gaining a position as an 888poker ambassador too. The original ways are changing and by using streaming services, for example, gamers who aren’t able to become professional in other ways can use their personality and gaming ability in order to rise into professional circles.  It works both ways - with poker stars Daniel Negreanu and Chris Ivey being ambassadors for Diet Pepsi and Chrysler, respectively.   

Finding an audience online isn’t difficult – but finding and keeping the right audience can be trickier. All online gaming has to fight for the same potential customers and put across their differential offering in a way that resonates with potential audiences. There are many ways companies attempt to do this – with poker providing a clear example of ones which work successfully, including offering promotions, taking advantage of the latest technologies, and offering greater access for those who are wishing to enter the industry. By following tech trends such as this, online gaming can ensure it continues to attract tech savvy players and appeal to its audiences.


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