The Rugby World Cup is Forcing Bookmakers to Place Their Bets Early

Lorna Gill Posted by Lorna Gill

australia against the all blacks on rugby pitch

The Rugby World Cup is rapidly approaching, and bookmakers should be considering how they’re going to make their mark on the highly competitive market.

The World Cup will be held in the UK next month, and it’s no surprise that bookmakers are gearing up for big spends from rabid rugby fans.

Qualifying has been going on since the pool stages of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand. Although bookmakers have been taking bets on who will win this year’s Cup since then, it’s really picked up over the last 12 months.

I’m going to take a look at the performance of Paddy Power, Coral, and BetFred to see who has the head start in the month leading up to the tournament, and how those trailing behind can make up for lost time.

Share of Voice

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Paddy Power has separated itself as the clear winner over the last 12 months in the group we looked at, with its share of voice (SOV) dipping below 70% just once – and that was only when BetFred finally managed to make a small impression on the market.

As the middle player, Coral seems to have stepped up its campaign a notch since late November, a period in the midst of the regular rugby season when people start getting excited about the coming year’s tournament. As expected, this took a little SOV away from Paddy Power, but it didn’t manage to take away too much of the bookmaker’s momentum.

BetFred is way behind, having only started to open up its bidding to Rugby World Cup-related keywords this year. Maybe it wanted to concentrate on other events that took place last year, such as the Football World Cup, or maybe it just didn’t budget very well. Whatever its strategy (planned or not), it’s obviously produced some pretty dismal results, only managing to make headway between the three competitors for a single period between February and March.

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Turning to these competitors’ performance over the last 30 days, we can see that Paddy Power has managed to maintain the lead it’s had over the last 12 months by winning three-quarters of the market share for Rugby World Cup-related keywords. Coral, by contrast, held only 20% of the share, and BetFred tailed well behind with just 8%.

Keyword Performance

To explain why the total share of clicks is distributed so unevenly, the first consideration to make is that BetFred is bidding on fewer keywords than both Coral and Paddy Power.

For example, only Coral and Paddy Power used the second-most popular keyword rugby world cup odds, though Coral’s performance with the term was pretty dire over the 30-day period. But because of how high the estimated CPC is, even Paddy Power experimented with turning it on and off to ensure that the term was getting a hefty enough share of clicks to avoid bankrupting themselves.

BetFred avoided bids on any keywords relating to odds that could potentially have led to big downfalls, as punters do research on odds before the event and will continue to do so in order to compare whose are most favourable.

All three competitors are using the even more expensive keyword rugby world cup betting, which explains where a lot of BetFred’s budget is probably going, and hence, why it can’t bid on as many keywords as its competitors.

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Coral stepped in on bidding on the 27th June, a couple of days after World Cup tickets went on sale – marking a renewed level of Rugby World Cup fever. This made a big dent in Paddy Power and BetFred’s share of clicks, with Coral shooting up to a 35 per cent share, bringing all three competitors to a level playing field.

However, as June ended and July started, BetFred was the biggest loser as its share dipped to around 15 per cent and Coral’s grew to more than 40 per cent.

Looking into Coral’s ad copy to understand why the rankings may have shifted so much (and why Coral only took part in the race between June 27th and July 7th), it seems the bookmaker’s strategy was to take advantage of the Rugby Union Super Rugby final in Australia, with all its ads targeting the event. This shows the importance of tracking events to make sure your ad copy is targeted to the other interests of those who want to take advantage of your product or service. However, its drop out should have been prevented by switching strategy to bid on the Rugby World Cup and tailor its ad copy like its competitors rather than just to stop bidding completely.

What BetFred Can Learn

As we head into the hot time for Rugby World Cup betting and the tournament draws closer, it’s clear there are some improvements BetFred can make in order to increase its share of clicks.

Rather than consistently bidding on the most expensive (but most-clicked) keyword, it could diversify a little and bid on the high-demand, but cheaper keywords, like rugby world cup betting odds.

It should also use competitive intelligence for search to look at the other keywords its competitors are bidding on and uncover the missed opportunities, such as odds-related keywords.

About the author

Lorna Gill
Lorna Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies and is passionate about translating technical information into stories that excite and delight.