Gaming sites (e.g., poker, slots and bingo), face some unique optimisation challenges:
- Often the company can only influence so much. In particular, it can be arduous or even impossible to make significant changes to the gaming clients.
- It can be challenging to track the whole player journey, from landing page through to first-time deposit (FTD), then through to subsequent deposits.
Opportunity 1: Improve the call to action on the registration page
The consultancy Conversion Rate Experts (CRE) has grown many gaming companies including 888, 888Ladies, Foxy Bingo and myBet. (Check out some videos of CRE’s clients.) CRE reports that perhaps the best place to start is to simplify registration forms and improve their user experience (UX).
I reviewed several gaming sites and noticed that the ‘Join’ button was often small and out of the way—i.e. largely insignificant in the context of the page.
William Hill’s various websites are good examples of different ways to call visitors’ to register.
Small and insignificant
The William Hill homepage only has a small button, ‘Join Now’, in the top right-hand corner.
After players narrow down their area of interest—e.g. by selecting ‘Vegas’—the call to action becomes visually stronger.
In other sections of the site—e.g. William Hill Casino—the call to action interrupts the player’s journey with an overlay.
A/B test some persuasion techniques
Betfair increased conversions by 7% with the help of Visual Website Optimiser. The optimisation team tested a number of persuasion techniques to encourage new users to click, at which point they would be taken to a registration page.
They designed 3 different modules, each utilising a different method of persuasion:
- Social proof
By testing these variations against each other they found the design that converted best with their audience.
Opportunity 2: Chunk the form into manageable sections
Help users understand how long your registration process is. The aim here is to make it look as short and easy as possible.
3-step registration with a progress indicator is good but there are even simpler methods:
One initial step to registration
SkyBet take basic player details at the first step and ask players to confirm ‘Yes – I want to create an account’ with a large call to action at the end. The impression is that the player will immediately get an account.
Provide different ways to register
I asked Alan Ng, Head of Insights at Branded3, what strategy works well for increasing signups?
“Creating incentives is a must have in gambling and gaming, but minimising barriers also provides one of the biggest wins. Making it easy to sign up, as well as providing different ways to sign up. Nobody wants to spend a lot of time filling in a form when they need to get that bet placed!” Alan Ng, @TypeAccord
Ladbrokes allow players to register with their PayPal account, avoiding filling in all but a few form fields.
The ease of registering with PayPal is highlighted as ‘Quick Registration’. Players who register with PayPal only have to set their deposit limit.
Opportunity 3: Don’t make gender a mandatory question
Many gaming sites ask players to specify their gender. Options for gender are usually binary—i.e. Male or Female—as on Betfair’s registration form.
Gender is presumably asked to form a picture of the player, contributing to data on demographics and used to personalise the advertising for players.
Unfortunately it could cause players to pause in the registration process or abandon it altogether if they don’t want to answer the question. Here’s a few reasons why:
Limited ways to identify
Male and female are labels that many people may not identify with but are forced to accept on web forms. This can put some people off, damaging your conversion rate. The rest of the time, your data on that player is just wrong.
“It is difficult to estimate the number of transgender and non-binary gendered people in the UK but current figures suggest that between 1 and 5 percent of the population experience some form of gender variance.”, Claire Gowler, @kitation
Title i.e. Mr, Ms, Miss, is another gender-related question that limits players’ ability to identify accurately.
A red flag to sexism
It’s not clear at the registration stage if demographic information such as gender will be shared with other players. When it comes to online poker, I’ve seen advice recommending women to pretend they’re men to avoid sexist comments.
Cautious players might worry that sex will be displayed in their public profile.
A better way to ask for gender
If gender is an important piece of information for you then you might as well get it right. Claire Gowler, developer at Youmee, proposes you add Mx to a list of titles (not ask for gender or sex) and be clear about privacy.
Offer reassurances that the player’s details won’t be used. SkyBet explain to users how information gathered in the registration form will be used. Take the example of how they explain what your address will and won’t be used for. You should do the same for sensitive questions like gender.
Marketing and the website experience could be personalised based on which games players play or download, rather than from their gender or title.
Opportunity 4: Pre-fill common fields
Country of resident and currency are two questions, asked at the registration stage, that can be confidently assumed. Using the player’s IP address, detect where the player is and set up the form according.
The pre-filled answers must be obvious though. Eyetracking studies by Nielsen Norman Group found that “users’ eyes are drawn to empty fields.” As such, form fields with text in are harder to distinguish. It may be better to present the information in a different format than a form field.
Feedback pre-selected answers for the player to check
Coral detect player’s country, highlighting the pre-filled answer in green.
Address is also gathered in a format appropriate for the country selected, making the selection really obvious to the user.
Bovada isn’t available in the UK. To ensure only eligible players can register, the site hides the registration form when it detects my location. A tooltip (not shown here) let’s me know the service is not available in my region.
Opportunity 5: Validate usernames on the fly
Most gaming sites ask players to pick a username. Players will likely use a name they’ve used on another site, incorporate a favourite sports team, TV character or gaming term. The problem is that it might not be 100% unique. If a username isn’t available, the player is faced with the additional mental effort of changing their username.
In psychology the amount of mental effort required is called the cognitive load. People are essentially lazy, looking for the easiest way forward. To increase the conversion rate of your registration form, lower cognitive load.
Ladbrokes’s registration form validates the username immediately, meaning the player can change it while their attention is still on username. It also suggests available variations of the username tried.
Allow login with email not username
Both usernames and email addresses are unique. The username is needed to identify players in the games. However, as shown, lots of players are forced to take a username they didn’t originally come up with. This will be harder to remember. Returning players should be allowed to login with their email address, making logging in far quicker and easier.
Finding out where players struggle in your form will help you focus your optimisation efforts. Form analytics can reveal where users drop off, hesitate and correct information. Try Formisimo free for a week and see what you learn.