INTERVIEW WITH ANNA CASINO CEO MIKAEL STRUNGE: MARKETING TO FEMALE CASINO PLAYERS
It’s no secret that women have their place within the industry but if your mind automatically drift towards bingo when you think of the female players, you might be making a big mistake. Several studies over the years have announced woman as the more attractive segment in the gaming industry.
We sat down with Mikael Strunge, CEO of AnnaCasino.com, as he talks about the fairer sex in the world of online gaming.
Anna Casino was founded in November 2014 and is managed and operated by a Maltese company, which has many casino brands under its wings. The website offers close to 200 casino games that appeals to wide range of slots fans and especially to the ladies in the house.
Mikael, why do you think women are such an attractive segment in general?
The female segment of the online gaming market is terribly overlooked by the established online gaming community. Naturally, discussing women in general as a segment is a bit wide since they, as their male counterparts, fall into many different sub-segments but the work done on the subject does suggest them to be of higher value. The main reason for this is to be found in their motivation for being consumers of gaming products. Women tend to use our products as they were intended – as a means of relaxing and having fun. This leads them to play for less money at a time but have a much longer activity span. They are more sensible about their use of gaming products you might say. Men, on the other hand, are more in it to win and they tend to play more aggressively and hence stop playing earlier if they don’t reach their objective.
Are the higher overall value of the female players the only reason why they are an attractive segment?
No, the female players also have a tendency to shop around between operators much less. They tend to find an operator they like and stick with that operator for a longer period of time. This fact naturally contributes to the overall attractiveness of the female players from an operator’s point of view.
I assume that these things aren’t exactly industry secrets. Why are you claiming that a lot of the established companies in the industry are missing out on maximizing their potential within this segment?
The problem for many of the big online gaming companies out there is that they often integrate many gaming products into their brand(s). If you operate a brand that includes a sportsbook, a poker room, a casino and other products you really have no choice but to design it with the male audience in mind since they heavily dominate the customer base within products such as the sportsbook and the poker room. So while the marketing department can try to angle for instance some of the casino efforts towards the female customers you still have the problem of running a product website that doesn’t support your efforts since it is simply designed for a different target audience.
What can the bigger gaming companies do then?
These days the industry is consolidating a lot and we recently saw a big takeover of the Vera & John casino. I feel fairly confident that Intertain was quite aware about Vera & John’s appeal within the softer segments before they decided to pursue this acquisition. Going back we also saw the Unibet Group takeover of the Maria brands at a price that some might have considered a bit ridiculous at the time. So the key for the bigger companies is naturally to get a brand into their portfolio that can communicate better with the female demographics. Either by takeover or by building it from the ground up.
You recently launched a casino specifically targeting women – why now?
We decided to launch Anna Casino now because the time was right for us to. The market has in my opinion been more than able to sustain more female focused brands for several years. If you try to divide all the casino brands within this industry into their focus demographic based on communication and stile you end up with an overview of an industry that is really quite one-sided in focus.
Is your casino then only for women or are men allowed?
We are not allowed by our licensor, nor do we wish to, exclude men. More often than not there is a gap between your ideal target audience and the people who actually end up being your customers. While we have designed Anna Casino with women in mind, we still have a large portion of male customers. We are well aware that the male customers that does respond to a casino like ours are not necessarily the same that response to a traditional online casino and hence we continue to communicate with them in the same way as we do towards our target audience.
How do you go about targeting women with Anna Casino?
To be successful in attracting this demographic you must understand the core difference between marketing towards women as opposed to men. Women are actually great bargain hunters so you do need good standard offers but they also respond much more to emotional triggers than their male counterparts so these need to be included to succeed. At Anna Casino, we have three main virtues which are “caring”, “fun” and “exciting” and we keep those in mind in everything that we do. In our communication with our customers, we focus much more on softer issues such as cozying up with a cup of coffee and a fun game as opposed to focusing on the fact that they have the chance to win a lot of money. We also design everything in a way that will trigger a natural emotional response with the audience. We employ a soft color scheme and we use symbolism such as hearts in our design. Furthermore, we encourage our players to be in contact with us and we try to be personal with them. To share their good and bad experiences. When operating an online casino you have limited ways to stand out from the pack but these small differences can be felt and the customers will respond to them if you are consistent.
What is the future for women as gaming product consumers?
For many years women have been catching up with the male audience in terms of their overall spending on real money games. It is difficult to correctly forecast if this trend will continue for many years to come but I do predict that they will get more and more offers as the industry matures. These days we are seeing a movement away from the classic generic international operator towards geo-specific or segment specific operators. It is my believe that this trend will continue and as it does women will get more products to choice from that is designed with them in mind.