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Anne Lindner

Putting Advertisers in the Driver's Seat

26 August 2002

In the worlds of betting and gambling, fortunes can be made and lost in seconds. Now gaming executives can change their online advertisements in seconds, too.

Connextra, a United Kingdom-based technology company, has developed software that enables online advertisements to be edited and updated in real time and without the need for a production team or re-trafficking. The software is called Live Ad, and a bevy of European gaming companies, including, Victor Chandler, Sportsbook, attheraces, NetBet and betabet, are taking notice.

"It's about putting better, more relevant, more timely messages into your advertising and affiliate marketing."
- Scott Button

Scott Button, an account director for Connextra, said those gaming companies and more have already joined the group's client list and seen performance improvements of between 50 and 300 percent.

"The key benefits that we offer are speed and control," Button said. "It's about putting better, more relevant, more timely messages into your advertising and affiliate marketing. The consequence of that logically ought to be, and in reality is, substantially and really significantly improved performance metrics."

Connextra has been in business for about three years; its office in London employs about 25 people, half of whom are software developers. Button said that about one year ago the group launched its suite of online marketing products and services, which include Live Ad and another program, Active Ad, that automatically serves up ads on Web pages that are relevant to the content the viewer is looking at.

Simply put, Live Ad lets betting and gaming operators edit the wording and layout of each ad. When the ad is completely edited, Connextra gaming executives change any element of their online advertisements by logging into Connextra from a Web-enabled device. An easy-to-use interface guides you through the process of changing the text, images, background color instantly and deploys it to the publisher's site, where it replaces the old ad. Button said they got the idea for the product because they noticed that organizing and launching an online advertising campaign was taking too long.

"Advertisers were not having the controls you would expect over the communications they were putting out because they would lose control to production agencies on the one hand and publishers where the message was to be displayed on the other hand," Button said. "Delivering a message online in the media space and then having control over that message and that media space are not as efficient as they frankly ought to be."

For a monthly fee, users of the program can edit their online ads as many times as they want without having to involve an internal or external production team, having to re-traffic the ad and without having the publishing site upload anything new to its server. Button said it makes the process "as simple as it really ought to be."

"It ought to be that simple, it ought to be that quick," he said, "as opposed to, best case, hours, worst case, days or weeks."

Button said Connextra immediately realized its product could be useful for online betting and gaming companies, who can use the program to integrate data streams and actually hook their advertisements up with a live stream of fixed odds. For casinos, the program could help operators advertise an up-to-the-second stream of winners and progressive jackpot totals.

"We were seeing major bookmakers hand-crafting creative executions the day before or on the morning of the event--hand coding, hand wiring prices into those executions, and then sending them out. [The viewer would] come back later in the day and those prices may have changed, but the advert wouldn't have," he said.

The service, which can be used for SMS and iTV platforms as well, is billable depending on the technical complexity of the changes an operator wants to be able to make to his or her ads. Button said clients sign up to a rolling contract and agree to a monthly service fee. Prices start at around £1,500 per month. But a complicated ad--one that incorporates a live feed of odds or product data--is going to increase the price.

Button said that instead of adding cost to an existing marketing budget, the program usually saves his clients money because it eliminates so many steps in the production line. An operator can promote a new sports event or new casino game without having to enlist the services of anyone but his or her own company.

"You can do that without having to brief and then pay a creative agency, so you can reduce production costs," he said. "You essentially have a business user doing production by himself."

Putting Advertisers in the Driver's Seat is republished from
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner