“If you look at the industry three years ago and what the operators were doing to now, you can see the convergence happening in real time.”
Speaking to SBC Multimedia Editor James Ross at this year’s SBC Summit North America, Troy Paul, CEO of SGG Media, detailed the importance of convergence of betting within social media and entertainment, and how content is changing online as a result.
“There’s hundreds of different segments – for companies and influencers it’s more about finding your niche,” said Paul. “What specific area am I really passionate about, or an expert in, or can create a lot of jokes in and make good, funny content around? It’s about honing in on that.
“On the gambling front, you’re seeing a new wave of handicappers, people who post their picks online. It used to be a ‘slimy’ space where people were promising the world and saying ‘I’m going to make you a tonne of money and I never lose my bets’, but the audience got tired of that, because the audience was losing.
“Now, you’re starting to see the genesis of content driven by losing bets and ‘funny’ bets. People are watching these picks and these handicappers because it’s relatable. That’s an area I’m seeing a lot of growth in the gambling space. In terms of sports as a whole, I’d say short-form, video-led podcasts and content [is resonating with fans].”
SGG Media itself has been a proponent of short-form content in recent months, launching the firm’s first podcast ‘The Splash Sisters’ in February.
Disassociating The Splash Sisters from the traditional podcast product, Paul is pushing the show in the direction of shorter video clips, ranging from 15-20 seconds to two-to-four minute segments, which can be distributed across TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter for wider engagement.
“It’s an area where we’re seeing a lot of growth. We’ve certainly got involved with it as a company, and it’s been very successful so far,” Paul explained.
This convergence of sports betting with social media and entertainment has helped the media and marketing company rack up a following of more than 30 million followers, an audience boosted by over 1,500 “micro-influencer” accounts that represent every sport, league and team at regional and national level.
Convergence, according to Paul, is “everything” for betting within social media and entertainment.
“If you look at the industry three years ago and what the operators were doing to now, you can see the convergence happening in real time. You’re looking at the new operators like Betr who are launching a sports media company and a social media company, combining it with an operator platform and you’re seeing the synergies and what’s happening with a company like that.
“Then you look at a company like FanDuel and you see they’re launching FanDuel TV+. They’re trying to create communities, they’re trying to create audiences that use FanDuel and enjoy it for more than the actual user interface to make bets. They’re trying to build communities with podcasts and shows and social media that create a larger audience around their platform, so it’s growing every day.”
Catering to groups and creating a sense of inclusivity isn’t enough, though – differentiating a product and marketing it accordingly is also of paramount importance to stand out on social media.
“There’s one major difference between what SGG does and what most other social media related marketing media companies do – we’re regional based. There are a lot of companies that have massive celebrities and ex-athletes, big name figures that work for them, and have a massive following on social media, but if you think about it, their followings are nationwide, they’re from California all the way to New York.
“SGG works with these ‘micro-influencers’; for example, the audience of someone who follows a New York Knicks influencer, the majority of them are going to be in New York, so we’re able to segment our campaigns and advertise on a regional scale through social media, which is pretty unheard of up until now, up until micro-influencers.”
Paul also touched on the difficulties of staying compliant with marketing regulations, and how operators can continue to make advancements via social media, despite the restrictions in place and blocked paths the igaming industry has faced on Twitch, for example, where streaming of slots and other forms of gambling has been banned.
“It’s not easy, it’s a moving target constantly. What I’m running one day that’s compliant, the next day isn’t. If you look at the Twitch ban that’s the biggest example of this, there was an entire industry of igaming streamers that were all streaming on Twitch and the next day it’s gone.
“I really believe these platforms want gaming involved on their sites, it’s just too big of an audience. You’re seeing sports gambling and igaming going mainstream, elites are getting involved with it.
“I think it’s just a matter of time, on the Twitch front, before they really figure out how to do this the right way and allow streamers to come back under the licenses and umbrellas of the legal, regulated operated companies.”