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4 Challenges Facing the Online Gaming Industry & How to Fix Them

By SCUBA Insights

Online gaming is booming. According to the American Gaming Association, online gaming accounted for nearly 25% of industry revenue in Q1 2023—the most ever. Coupled with gaming’s growth as a whole, online brands have an opportunity to grow rapidly.


But there are several challenges. The digital landscape’s shift to a privacy-first mindset has cut traditional marketing strategies short. Media fragmentation makes audience tracking more difficult. And casinos are making a splash with their access to first-party data and marketing capital. 


While these challenges are significant, they’re not impossible with the right strategies. Brands that leverage effective audience measurement tools have the inside track to leading the online gaming world. Here are four major challenges—and in turn, must-haves—online gaming brands need to master.


1. Omnichannel media and marketing

Americans consume content across a staggering number of media. According to Deloitte, the average household has 22 connected devices. In some ways, this is a marketer’s dream, as there are so many ways to reach users.


It’s also a measurement and attribution nightmare. Take an online sportsbook, for example. A consumer sees an ad for your brand on their connected TV. They pull up your website on their tablet. The next day, they install your app on their smartphone and create an account. Did your analytics platform stitch that all together?


Linking those interactions is challenging, but critical. Without a single source of truth, you face problems:


  • If you can’t attribute the revenue to the right channel(s), tracking profitability is a guessing game.
  • Missing steps in the customer journey break your re-targeting strategy.
  • Incomplete identity resolution means you’re delivering a flawed CX.

2. Delivering a personalized customer experience

CX is critical for any industry. But it’s the lifeblood of traditional gaming. Casinos engineer the ideal environment to maximize engagement. Visitors have access to lodging, food, drink, and other amenities without leaving the facility. Loyalty programs tie gamers’ preferences to spending habits, facilitating targeted promotions and incentives. And by offering entertainment alongside gaming, they transform it from an activity to an experience.


Lying on your couch with a mobile device will never compare to sitting in a bustling casino. But online gaming can still deliver an engaging experience for users. Here are three key areas to address:


  • Customization: To tailor the online experience, collect first-party data, and deliver personalization at every touchpoint.
  • Communication: Email and SMS can feel cold compared to face-to-face interactions. Personalize messaging to create an experience that resonates and engages your users.
  • Content: You can provide more gaming options digitally than a brick-and-mortar facility, but users need to be able to find them. Use customer journey analytics to discover pain points and better link users to the content they want.


Personalization delivers tangible results for online gaming brands. As Future Anthem CEO Leigh Nissim noted, “We see improved retention rates from 29% from day one to day two, but there are other really great metrics out there such as spins per player, we see 4x more spins per player for those that receive personalized recommendations.”

3. The end of third-party cookies

For years, brands have used third-party cookies to track user behavior. Cookies were a window into online behaviors and an easy way to build a comprehensive profile.


In a post-cookie world, online gaming companies need a new approach. First-party data offers a clear answer, but it’s not without complications:


  • Data integration: Your company might have data, but is it accessible? Information is often siloed across organizations, making it difficult to use.
  • Privacy regulations: Most states and countries have their own data security laws, and they don’t always mesh well. Compliance can be a huge headache, and mistakes are costly.
  • Platform limitations: Different media like CTVs, browsers, and smartphones produce different data. Aggregating them into a unified format presents analytics challenges.

4. Measuring and managing growth

For marketers, growth is almost always good. But you also need to be able to measure and manage it. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to repeat and scale what’s working.


Profitability is the most important metric for growth, but it’s not the whole story. Statistics like reach and active users, and factors like advertising and content costs play a big role. And therein lie the challenges:


  • Determining reach: Reach is a universal concept, yet most platforms have different ways of calculating it. Comparing them can be difficult and lead to flawed conclusions.
  • Cross-channel metrics: Seeing a banner ad and watching a video ad are both impressions, but do they have the same values? Statistics from varying channels don’t always merge neatly.
  • Content needs: Ad content also varies widely across media. For example, video content is more expensive to develop, so you need more up-front testing to determine what concepts are worth pursuing.


Getting a handle on KPIs and growth has a huge impact on marketing effectiveness. According to an executive at a major online gaming brand, “We've increased the conversion rate of free to paid users by 2X, month-over-month retention of paid users by 30%, and reduced the time it took to identify and fix issues from weeks to hours.”

Using customer intelligence to overcome challenges

Online gaming brands face a diverse set of challenges. But the common theme is—you need data to solve them. More importantly, you need fresh data and the tools to turn information into actionable insights. That’s where a customer intelligence platform comes in.


A customer intelligence platform helps you:


  • Seamlessly integrate all of your data streams, enabling identity resolution and cross-media measurement.
  • Stitch together comprehensive customer profiles you can use to deliver a personalized CX.
  • Achieve a 360° view of customers’ journeys, seeing what’s working and what pain points to address.
  • Configure KPI dashboards to monitor campaign performance in real time.
  • Comply with privacy regulations and keep your valuable first-party data secure.

Find out how the right customer intelligence platform can help your online gaming brand connect with your audience.

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