Rory Kimber, Account Management & Marketing Director at 1X2 Network, says that themed slots are a powerful acquisition and retention tool for operators looking to drive engagement during holiday periods such as Christmas
The Christmas period is one of the busiest for online casino operators when it comes to driving customer acquisition and ramping up session times for those already engaged with their brand(s).
People tend to take time off over Christmas, and especially in between the day itself and the New Year, with many having plenty of time on their hands.
Christmas is an occasion for giving, and in this day and age, it is an occasion for giving smartphone and tablet devices in particular.
This combination of players having free time and new devices to try out is what makes Christmas such a potentially lucrative period for operators.
But to leverage this opportunity, they must provide players with a reason to sign up to their brand(s) over those of their rivals. For this, many look to bonusing but there is a more effective way.
Themed content can be seen as a novelty but in our experience, it is a powerful acquisition, re-engagement, and retention tool.
But it is not without its challenges for both developers and operators.
The first consideration is whether it is worth launching a niche-themed game for a limited period of time. This doesn’t apply so much to Christmas, but it does to other events such as Halloween.
The shorter period of time the game can be marketed and played means developers and operators need to balance off the cost of creating and offering the game with the potential return.
Developers, in particular, must also consider the time it will take to get the content to market and factor in things such as code freezes around popular holiday periods such as Christmas.
These challenges are easy to overcome – we suggest developing themed slots around the most popular holidays and those that run over a longer period of time.
In terms of the development challenges, it really comes down to having a seamless production line that ensures themed games are designed and built well in advance of the holiday.
But what makes for a successful themed slot?
Here at 1X2 Network we believe it comes down to combining popular mechanics with a striking design that captures the essence and spirit of the holiday.
For example, last year we launched Christmas Megaways which did incredibly well. This is because it used the MegawaysTM mechanic with a captivating festive aesthetic.
It proved particularly popular with casual players as it gave them an introduction to the Megaways mechanic via an on-trend theme.
The game was so successful that we are going to launch a follow-up title – Santa’s Big Bash Megaways – this year.
We are really excited about this title as it combines Megaways with some of our most successful mechanics including feature entry trail, locked reels & Rudie the Reindeer modifiers all wrapped up in a Christmas party theme.
Operators looking to maximise the potential of themed games should also run promotional campaigns around these slots during holiday periods.
For Christmas, Advent Calendar promos with different prizes, such as deposit match bonuses and free spins, for players every day is a great way of pushing traffic to the casino and the game.
This gives players a reason to return to the casino and the themed slot every day during the holiday period which in turn takes engagement and ultimately retention to the next level.
The challenge for operators is to ensure players remain engaged and retained beyond the holiday season and this is why we are building our most popular features into themed games.
Once the holiday season has passed, players can then enjoy other slots in our portfolio that deliver a similar player experience but with different themes.
This ultimately benefits our operator partners as they are able to unwrap the highest customer lifetime value from players acquired through our themed slots.
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