How gaming sites can make the registration process easier for customers, and maximize the number of registrations.
Gaming sites spend a lot of money attracting traffic, so it’s vital that they pay attention to the registration process and ensure that as many as possible go on to create accounts.
There are several factors which contribute to this – compelling offers for new customers, effective SEO and paid search positioning included – but here I’ll look at how sites can improve the user experience for new visitors and make the registration process as smooth as possible.
Provide Clear CTAs for New Customers
With so many different sports and games to bet on, as well as multiple ways to bet on each, betting sites are necessarily complex.
This can be confusing for the new visitor, and can also make calls to action harder to spot. The following pages are accessed either direct or through organic search, thereby avoiding the PPC ads.
For example, this Coral page is very busy, and the ‘join now’ CTA on the top right is easily ignored.
There is the new customer offer in the background, but in a space where web users are accustomed to seeing ads, it may not stand out.
It’s a similar story on the William Hill homepage, though the free bet offer is slightly easier to spot.
By contrast, Betfair tailors its homepage to new visitors, advertising the various new customer offers.
The navigation is still there if users need it, while cookies are used to identify existing customers are serve them a different version of the page.
888.com has a similar approach, with a very clear call to action (CTA) for new visitors.
Optimize Landing Pages
Paid search for gaming sites can become very expensive, with some very costly and competitive keywords. For example, the CPC for ‘play live blackjack’ is more than £100.
With such acquisition costs, gaming sites need to work hard on landing pages, so the money spent on driving traffic to sites isn’t wasted.
It’s too big a topic to go into here, though here’s an old post of mine on landing page design. Let’s look at some examples though.
One common mistake is to fail to provide continuity from ad to landing page. Landing pages should reflect the searcher’s intent and be relevant to the ad copy.
Here, a search for ‘British Open Betting’ returns several paid search ads.
The top result, for Bet365 promises great odds on golf bets and an offer related to the British Open.
However, the landing page doesn’t match the ad at all, with images related to football and no mention of the golf betting. Some visitors may figure it out anyway and continue to register, but others may be confused by the lack of continuity between ad copy and page.
William Hill has a picture of a golfer on the landing page which makes the page more relevant to the ad and reassures the visitor that they’re on the right page.
Optimize Registration Forms
Once you’ve persuaded a visitor to register, don’t deter them by making forms hard to complete.
Form abandonment can be a problem if users encounter problems while trying to register – confusing form fields, long forms, and so on.
First impressions are important too. If a form looks like it will take time to fill in, that may deter customers.
For example, the Bet365 form doesn’t look too bad, but it does suggest some work will be needed as all the fields are laid out in one page.
By contrast, the form on 888.com is broken up into sections with a progress bar to show how much more customers need to do.
Mobile gaming is big and still growing, so sites need to cater for mobile users, and this includes forms.
The forms on betsafe are optimized for mobile users, making them relatively easy to complete. Details matter here, such as defaulting to the correct keypad for data entry.
Also, there’s instant validation of details entered, so users can correct any errors as they go on.
It’s important to minimize the effort required of people to complete registration forms. Defaulting to the most appropriate touchscreen keypad (as above) is one way.
Another is to provide shortcuts, such as populating address fields once the user has entered a postcode.
Here, on what is a well-designed form otherwise, SkyBet makes users type out the whole address. This just means potential customers have more work to do to complete forms.
Ladbrokes has a useful shortcut here, offering quick registration with PayPal. This means players just need to set deposit limits and sign in with their PayPal email and password.
Avoiding unnecessary form fields is one way to improve registrations. Here, as well as making users type in their full address, bet365 asks users about the length of time they have lived at that address.
If they say less than two years, users are asked to enter their previous address. This is the only gaming site I looked at that asked this question, and it’s something you’d expect to see on a finance application.
Perhaps bet365 has good reasons to ask this, but it doesn’t explain why, and this is potentially a big obstacle for registrations.
On-Site Messaging and Remarketing
Overlays and other forms of messaging can be used to provide key messages for customers thinking of abandoning registrations.
The right message at the right time can persuade customers to continue creating an account.
Messaging can be used to encourage visitors to stay on site and register, or to acquire email addresses which can be used to encourage customers to return and register or make a deposit.
Increasing registrations is about ensuring that visitors are able to find the options they need to open an account, and to make that process as easy as possible.
Forms play a massive role here, and this is where many opportunities to improve conversions will be found.
Through good form design, and by testing and optimizing forms, gaming sites can make them easy to complete and ensure that users aren’t deterred by poor form usability.
Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.