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Vicky Nolan

Turning Goodbye Into Hello

24 September 2001

Online gaming operators wanting to recoup a little of the money they've spent acquiring visitors to their sites--many of whom never become paying customers--might find exit traffic marketing a powerful addition to their promotional efforts.

Exit traffic marketing is a way to make use of the visitors who don’t register or in any way interact with a site, said Ashley Lang, a marketing consultant with Green Room Media.

There are at least four exit traffic programs that specifically serve the I-gaming industry: ClusterTraffic from LemonBox; Gambling Tour from Green Room Media; Casino-Trade and Webstorm Media's Casinopopup. This is the tip of the iceberg, however, as numerous exit traffic programs exist to help e-marketers swap their departing "gawkers" for new traffic.

Attracting new customers this way is typically accomplished through the use of a "pop up" or "pop back" box that's shown to visitors as they leave a site. A few sites also use exit traffic in their promotional e-mails, so that whenever an e-mail is deleted, it initiates an exit traffic pop up on the customer's PC. Either way, the box invites departing visitors to check out alternative sites that might offer something more tailored to their needs.

Only participating companies are listed in the pop up, and their names are rotated so that each site has the opportunity to be proffered first.

Exit traffic marketing products offer many online businesses an advantage. Even though only a percentage of visitors to a site get converted into paying customers, it's possible that those departing customers are looking for a gambling product that's not on your site. By sending these uncommitted visitors to participating sites, you will receive similar traffic in return--customers who have already shown an interest in gambling. It's a real-life, online example of receiving what you give out. Depending on the company and traffic plan your gaming site is signed up for, this could mean you'll receive at least one lead for every two you send off.

Signing up for these services is easy, and most of the companies offer the traffic exchange free of charge. In addition, sites wanting to increase their exposure can purchase additional impressions or traffic.

Once you've signed on, a simple line of HTML code is added to your site to launch the pop up boxes and start the exchange of information. LemonBox's ClusterTraffic product, however, is a little more complex than its competitors. Part of it requires modification to the site's HTML code.

"All the complicated stuff resides on a central server that we administer," said Jonas Hollander, founder and chief executive of LemonBox. "To use a popular buzzword--it's an ASP solution in the sense that there's no software or machinery needed--we provide that."

Quite a few gaming sites have decided to try exit traffic marketing. Casino-Trade, for example, lists nearly 70 Internet gambling and related sites as customers, while ClusterTraffic represents at least 50 different sites.

There are some precautions operators need to take before signing on for an exit traffic marketing solution.

"In my humble opinion, there are too few sites using it and out of those working with some form of exit marketing, you see too much poor execution," Hollander said. "And that unfortunately leads to the misconception that 'everything exit is bad.’”

"Smart marketers work with exit traffic because they realize that this is a valuable asset that can be utilized," Hollander said. "But it has to be used right."

Operators should also be aware of who the other exit traffic participants are, said Dawn Wagner, a client services representative with The River City Group's marketing department. She cautioned that many sites participating in exit traffic programs really don't know the quality of traffic coming from other sites and whether that traffic is compatible with their own target marketing. Do these sites target the same type of clients as you do? Do they promote their services on porn sites or advertise to teenagers?

"Look for a company that lets you have control over the traffic you're sending and the traffic you're receiving," she said.

There are many factors influencing the success of any site's exit traffic efforts, both Hollander and Lang said. And before signing on for any exit traffic programs, it's a wise idea to consider the reasons why visitors aren't converting in the first place. Wagner suggested that operators check their own site's stickiness.

For example, are there problems in downloading the splash page, or do you need to make it easier for new customers to sign on? Are customers receiving multiple error codes when they hit your site? Questions like these need to be addressed before signing on with any exit traffic company.

Wagner also suggested that operators look at their other promotional programs to make sure they're executing a good marketing plan. Sometimes gaming sites are eager to promote their services, but don't plan their promotional efforts wisely, creating unclear, irrelevant or just plain bad promotions that end up wasting money.

Once you sign on with one of the services, make sure that departing visitors don't get hit with too many exit pop up boxes, because that will just annoy the people you're trying to attract.

Wagner also suggested that operators should have the referrals sent to a special welcome page specially designed for them, something designed to snag their attention.

For those sites that successfully make use of an exit marketing program, the numbers can be pretty exciting. Hollander said many of his clients who use ClusterTraffic have increased their traffic by 40 percent.

"Looking at acquisition costs, ClusterTraffic is about 20 percent of the normal average," he said. "Needless to say, they are very happy."

"As we've had an opportunity and as other programs have entered the market," Lang said, "it has helped educate the casino operators to understand that they stand to gain a lot more than they ever could potentially lose by participating in a program, because essentially they get to have 85 percent more people consider their offer for the exact same expenditure."

In the end, that's not too bad of a return for taking advantage of the money you already spent on acquiring new customers in the first place.

Turning Goodbye Into Hello is republished from
Vicky Nolan
Vicky Nolan