Metro Launches Mobile Casino Platform

Premium gaming site Metro Play, sister brand to Metro, launched today with a £1.9m advertising campaign planned to start in June. The responsive site offers more than 200 web games and 20 mobile games, with 30 more on the way.

We caught up with the executive director of Metro Play, Jamie Walters, to ask him about the launch. He said a significant amount of their initial £1.9m digital spend will be on mobile. He believes that the mobile channel will be a very efficient way for them to acquire new users as the market matures.

“We have one of the best mobile casinos on the market. We expect mobile conversion to be very strong through Google and we are already seeing that.” But they will be fluid with their ad spend, he said, using data to see which channels are the most effective on a CPA and lifetime value basis.
“The Metro brand is very trusted and from the research that we did we know that the propensity to try out the product, register and play will be that much higher – people are much more likely to play with us than with an unknown brand. But that comes with a responsibility in that everything that we do has to deliver value back to that brand and be true to the values that it embodies.”

Along with a print campaign with its sister company, a takeover of the site and interstitials on the tablet version of the news operation, they are using PPC, affiliates and digital display to find new users. The full public launch will take place in June and he said they may consider a more full marketing mix when the platform already has a following.

“We have got a competitive advantage from the media that we own – there is no doubt about that – it was one of the rationales behind embarking on this project. We have lots of assets to leverage, including a big database and other parts of the group that have access to customer who partake in this kind of activity.”

They are targeting young urbanite gamers in their downtime and during 18 months of development and design, they found there is a big appetite for this type of content among this group. Market research found that these people are twice as likely to spend money gaming online than the population at large and mobile had the fastest growing spend and consumption in this area. Many Metro readers, no doubt many young urbanites, are very early adopters, he said. “If a trend to mobile is going to happen, it’s going to happen first among our audience.”

The product itself is responsively designed and he said they have taken a mobile-first philosophy throughout the process. They partnered with EveryMatrix on the build, which Jamie said has enabled Metro Play to keep control of the CMS, front-end experience and the payment processes. All of the pages are mobile-optimised, with particular attention paid to the conversion funnel.

“The early results on click-to-conversion show that we’ve done a good job – the initial conversion rates are above where we expected to be,” he said. They chose a four-step concertina-style payment registration process rather than having one long page to scroll through. “We genuinely spent a lot of time working out what would be the best approach on that. It is a really important part of any mobile product – if you get them to that point and then lose them just because of the UX that would be very frustrating.”