By Phil Fraser from WhichBingo.
Last week, WhichBingo UK exclusively revealed the total TV advertising spends of online bingo sites in 2008, according to Nielsen Media Research. The news that that online bingo sites spent over £7million in 2008 on TV advertising says a lot about the industry.
With almost 250 different online bingo sites in the UK*, the competition for players’ hearts and minds has become more intense and this trend is set to continue.
Leading the spending in 2008 was Foxy Bingo with more than £2.25m spent on TV advertising. The ubiquitous purple-suited Fox seemed to be omnipresent during the summer. The second largest spend was on the launch of Tombola, the erstwhile supplier of The Sun’s online bingo game until they went it alone. They spent in excess of £1.75m. Two other sites spent more than £1/2m each; Think Bingo spent more than £750k and Party Bingo spent in excess of £640k. The full list of TV advertisers was completed by eleven more online bingo sites who between them spent a further £1.7m.
So, with £7,106,284 (to be exact) being spent on what is a mass medium marketing tool, what does this tell us about the industry? Well it tells us that… …Online Bingo is no longer the ‘next big thing’ in online gaming. It is now a fully fledged sector of online gaming, and probably the one that’s making most ‘noise’ at the moment.
These figures also tell us that Online Bingo is very much ‘big business’. Two of the top seven spends were on new launches (Tombola & Coffee Talk Bingo from the Mail). For brands to now feel that their launch must include TV on the ad schedule means that Online Bingo is very much up there competing with other more mainstream entertainment for customer expenditure.
To compete at the top table of the sector TV is now seen as a ‘must’, or at least that’s what 15 sites believed in 2008. The trend has already continued in 2009 with the first quarter of the year seeing almost wall-to-wall bingo advertising on all our TV channels, both terrestrial and digital. There’s also TV sponsorship from WilliamHill Bingo, Foxy Bingo, Wink Bingo and Think Bingo.
But how does an industry that was weaned on the direct correlation between banner click and pound spent cope with the ‘untrackability ‘(is that a word??) of TV? The question remains ‘does it work’? And what is it’s role in the marketing mix? Has it now become a case of ‘Keeping up with The Joneses’? Is it argued away that ‘we need to be seen to be there’? Is it sold to the decision makers as ‘brand building’ (often marketing’s ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’)?
I am certain that the total spend according to Nielsen Media Research for 2009 will be a lot more than the £7million of 2008, but the question remains does it work? It may well do so, and I have been told by a number of those listed that it does indeed. If it does work then of course those TV spenders will be back with even bigger spends in 2009, along with the new advertisers.
* according to the WhichBingo UK Directory.