Ivan Klaric Founder & CEO of all-in-one industry betting app Score Alarm details to SBC readers how research, data and development should aid industry stakeholders into creating to more enticing end products.
Following a year of growth for Score Alarm services, Klaric details the competencies and capabilities learnt from his firm’s development journey.
As giants overtake every market, they enter and new regulations don’t seem to be bothering them very much. As retail gaming is losing its market share, taxes are higher, and competition is fierce. Realities are looking grim for most sports betting companies as their customer-base is transferring to more user-friendly and accessible gaming verticals.
A digital presence is a must in these times, but it can be a tricky path to follow if undertaken wrongly. This brings us to problem our first problem…
- Online betting without a mobile solution does not work
80% of internet users have a mobile device and use it on a daily basis and smartphone is the first tech product which is bought by almost everyone in the world every two years. Without a mobile application, you are missing a huge part of online users. How they use their smartphone is even more important:
‘Mobile doesn’t mean mobile’ Most people use a smartphone when there’s a laptop in arms’ reach. The relatively little use of ‘mobile’ devices is when you’re walking down the street or waiting for a coffee. — Benedict Evans
For factors like checking Twitter, mail or Facebook you know it from first-hand experience. It’s easier to just pick up your phone and scroll than clutter your laptop internet browser with another tab. Additionally, some things are just faster and better looking on your mobile device. Browsing trough matches and checking stats falls in the latter group. Betting is meant to be mobile.
- Aesthetics Matter! If it’s slow or ugly, nobody will use it for more than a second!
I’m not even joking. 90% of users reported they stopped using an app in the first couple of seconds due to poor performance, and 86% deleted or uninstalled an app as a result of encountering problems with its functionality or design. The importance of UX is a well-covered subject, and when thinking about your own app it needs to be considered in every stage and aspect of development.
You can see poor mobile performances in mobile solutions of almost all leading bookmakers. Most of their mobile webs loaded after 10 seconds of waiting and then the real struggle began. Hard to navigate, unresponsive design, information is not clearly shown are just some of the most common problems. You’ll get loading screens with almost every button pressed, few seconds on average.
It is important to address why are so many apps slow and just barely usable.
- Native vs. web — choose between your comfort zone and user satisfaction
Most of today’s betting applications are based on hybrid technology that puts web widgets in a native container. That kind of development is faster and cost effective, and it is a quite good option for the first try at mobile market. Problem being that people expect their software to get better over time. If you are stuck with a bad app, your users will resent it and find a better solution.
A good example here is Facebook. They religiously used HTML 5 and web-based technologies from the beginning of their mobile story. In 2012 they gave up on it, ditched everything they did for mobile and launched a new application based on Apple’s native framework.
If you are reading this from an office of a sports betting company, open the Facebook application and use it for two minutes. Now do the same with your sports betting app. You will notice the difference in no-time.
Facebook used HTML5 for the same reasons you use it today. They wanted to update their application and add new features without the need for sending a new edition to the AppStore. They gave up on that luxury for speed and intuitiveness of native solutions. Most importantly, Facebook users loved it.
“The biggest mistake we’ve made as a company is betting on HTML5 over native,” Mark Zuckerberg explained, referring to the original HTML5-powered Facebook mobile apps that were plagued with slowdowns and other issues.
It’s up to you to decide if you will stay in your comfort zone or start building what your customers expect!
- Partial solution without live scores and stats costs you customers
When a user places a bet, he will need access to information on his picks. If the bet slip in your app is not connected with all related live statistics, important match events, live formations and other details, bettors will use third party live score services. Those services are the biggest marketing affiliates of the giants in the industry. Operators have no chance if their customer-base is bombarded with their competitor’s ads every minute. That combined with possible frustration because of the poor betting app performance is a perfect recipe for losing your precious users.
Here is the point where it gets complicated. Even if you want to, you can’t build a native app with all required functionalities because data providers don’t supply data for native mobile usage. They are only delivering raw data or web widgets with which you can forget about native mobile and top performances.
- How Score Alarm solved this Problem?
- We are processing and adjusting data (live score, pre-match stats, live stats etc.) exclusively for our clients and for native mobile
- Our own data processing system allowed us to develop innovative features that increase customer engagement
- We focused on app development using exclusively native iOS and Android technologies
- At this moment we can deliver 100% native solution for pre-match and live betting and live score and statistics in less than 40 days.
Hattrick Sports Group native mobile app developed by Score Alarm: Vimeo video –> https://vimeo.com/192430169
- Old Story…using platforms trapped in the past century
Talking to bookmakers all across Europe I got the impression that awareness about the points from this post is slowly increasing, but the majority of them, as it looks, are not able to do anything about it. Betting companies are simply cornered by third-party platforms stuck in some bygone era that will eventually push them into uncompetitiveness. Those companies, because of their size and legacy tech, are too sluggish for changes. Their whole business model is relying on blocking advancements in the industry and booking enormous visibility at specialised conferences.
This is the last point, but in your further growth and development, it is a prerequisite. If your core software provider needs months or even a year for the adjustments to global trends, the future of your company is not that bright. Think about the roots of the problem and start making important decisions today.
Ivan Klaric – Co-Founder & CEO- Score Alarm