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What are the Creative Best Practices for Sports Betting Apps?

In an increasingly competitive legal U.S. sportsbook market, there has been an equal rise in sports betting apps. This is because most of the online access happens through mobile channels. Therefore, most sportsbook operators are designing a mobile-first and desktop second, for a seamless mobile experience. Today, sports betting makes up about 30-40% of the global gambling market, which also includes lotteries, casinos, poker, and other gaming.

At the same time, we have all been observing big changes in user acquisition advertising technology. Especially, in the last few years. Artificial intelligence is automating more and more of the media buying on Facebook and Google, and as a result, the ad platforms have leveled the playing field for advertisers big and small. No matter the size of the company, all advertisers compete for users with eye-catching creative. Creative is now the key differentiator in driving profitable user acquisition for sports betting apps.


Sports Betting Apps: Creative Best Practices


Creative is king in a world rapidly moving towards automated media buying. Optimizing creative is the most effective way to drive ROAS for Facebook and Google. To be effective, generating fresh creative ideas must be strategic, efficient, and ongoing. Knowing the latest creative trends is a great first step in this process. Creative trends change fast, and they also vary dramatically across genres. While it is good to know broad creative trends, you will also want to home in on your niche. For example, sports betting apps. Here are the latest best practices to know about sports betting apps:


Most Ads Fail

Creative excellence is not easy. High-performance, control-beating creative is a rare thing. In our experience, after spending over 3 billion dollars in user acquisition advertising, usually only one out of twenty ads can beat the current “control” (the top-performing ad). The reality is most ads fail.

The extremely high failure rate of most creative shapes advertising budgets and advertising testing. Because 95% of creative fails, if you cannot test ads quickly and affordably, your campaign performance is going to be crippled.

But testing alone is not enough. You also must generate enough creative to fuel that testing machine. Because 19 out of 20 ads fail do not just need one new piece of creative; you need 20.

And because creative fatigues so quickly, you don’t need 20 new creatives every year or so. You need 20 new creative concepts every month, or possibly even every week.

Creative Trends and Competitive Analysis

Monitoring creative trends and doing an in-depth competitive analysis is a must within any user acquisition or creative team today to generate better creative. Ad creative is critical to the success of your campaigns, and you will want to create a 10x or 100x ad that will blow the doors off all prior results. Usually, that means you will have to test a lot of ads, but you’ll also have to start off with some strong new concept ads, too. Competitive analysis is especially good for developing these types of bold new concepts – completely new approaches that have not been tried before.

Your competitors have already poured a ton of resources and ad spend and testing time into creating their own high-performance ads and they are failing at 95% too. Why not “borrow” from their best ads and customize them to create fresh ideas for your campaigns?

Facebook’s ads library tool is an aggressive move towards transparency for the ad platform, sparked by ongoing calls for more transparency. The tool will let you see:

  • Every ad that is active now or that has even been active since May of 2018.
  • How much a page has spent on Facebook ads.
  • Which pages’ ads reference a particular keyword.

You can also run daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports for different searches, and you don’t even need a Facebook account to access the information. You want to be reviewing your competitors’ ads for creative trends, such as messaging, offers, call to action, text placement, colors, characters, and more.


User Profiles and Emotional Hooks

Cutting-edge advertisers do not stop with competitive analysis. They also incorporate market segmentation analysis by integrating player profiles and user motivations into their creative strategy.

User or “player” profiles are an old idea in game design, but they are a very new idea in advertising. For creative development, it is essentially about understanding your target audience’s motivations and then designing your creative elements (colors, sounds, even ad copy) in alignment with those motivations.

Understanding user profiles and emotional hooks may change how you see ads forever. It is a wickedly effective framework for motivating users, but also a great lens to use as you analyze competitors’ creative.

You can read more about our approach to creating user profiles here.

Creative Testing to Optimize Advertising

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, it is also important to remember to continue testing, testing, testing.

Quantitative Creative Testing is an A/B split-testing methodology we have developed for ad creative. It is designed to be super-efficient with both time and ad spend, to find the sort of breakout ads that can replace a campaign’s previous control. To do Quantitative Creative Testing effectively, we take batches of new Concepts and run them against each other in an ad set. Each new Concept gets about 50,000 impressions before we decide if it is a winner or a loser. If it is a winner, it gets moved up into another ad set where it will run against another winning mobile ad creative, including the current control. If the new ad can outperform all the other ads in that ad set, then it gets moved into another, primary ad set and gets the bulk of the campaign’s spend.

You can also check out our video and whitepaper on creative testing best practices:


Final Thoughts about Sports Betting Apps

As mentioned, knowing general creative trends is helpful. But dig deeper into the trends most relevant for your sports betting app. Further, you will also want to overlay all this creative development and testing with actual performance data. This is because you will want to chase trends that boost ROAS, not just chase every trend that comes along. Keeping testing, and testing, and if you have any questions on how to streamline your creative testing process, reach out to us to discuss.

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Read our blog post, UA Media Buying Model, and see how it works in tandem with our Ad Concept Model. Learn the media buying best practice strategies for Facebook Android, Facebook iOS SKAN, Google, and TikTok.

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