Cheltenham Festival – The Winners and Losers

As we enter the final furlong for the start of the ‘Olympic Games of National Hunt racing’, we thought it would be interesting to understand who is dominating the Google search landscape for Cheltenham betting related keywords.

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We have analysed the search results for the top 61 Cheltenham betting related keywords. For clarity, this analysis includes only betting related keyword sets that also contain the keyword “Cheltenham” (for example, Cheltenham festival betting, Cheltenham bet, bet on Cheltenham) and not generic horse racing betting terms (eg, horse race betting, etc.)

What we are trying to understand is which companies have made a concerted effort to target the Cheltenham Festival as a betting event, rather than just generic betting terms. The festival is a massive betting event and is a great way to secure new customers as well as gaining share of wallet for existing customers. The Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National meeting are both massive betting events but, whereas the Grand National can generate lots of once a year punters, Cheltenham punters generally bet more, more frequently and for longer, so it is a key battleground.

So let’s take a look at the runners and riders. The chart below indicates the number of keywords each of the respective sites rank for (x axis) and the proportion of all the available clicks they are likely to attain from their ranking (y axis).

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As can be seen Oddschecker are leading the way, which is a phenomenal result in terms of ranking well for all of the keyword set that we have investigated.

Paddy Power, William Hill, Betfair and Coral also all have rankings for the entire keyword set, but those rankings are not anywhere near the level achieved by Oddschecker.

It is really interesting when considering the actual ranking spread as outlined in the chart below. When it comes to SEO, it is the top positions that account for the vast majority of the clicks. Oddschecker has 40 keywords in the top three positions and the rest in positions four to ten, which really underpins its great performance. Conversely, when looking at Coral, the vast majority of its rankings are in the 11 to 20 range, which is not going to deliver results for them this year.

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What is really interesting is the complete lack of visibility for some of the major players, including Bet365, who I presume are trying to leverage the great coverage that they experience on Oddschecker.

As briefly mentioned earlier, the key to a successful Cheltenham is not just around generating new customers but also getting in first to grab share of wallet for all your existing customers.

The reality of the sports betting market is that customers are much more transient these days and have accounts with a large number of betting companies. It’s always a pleasant surprise to find a balance in an account on a site you have not visited in a while!

Although SEO plays a part in maintaining a brand’s presence in a customer’s conscious, there are a number of different marketing avenues that a betting company can leverage in the run up to a major sporting event like Cheltenham.

We covered how a brand can maintain a close relationship via their apps in our recently released Mobile App Marketing Report, while they also can leverage their owned marketing channels (email, social etc.) to get their message to their core customer base.

As a punter that already has an account with most of the established layers, what is going to grab my wallet is an offer that applies to not only new, but also existing customers. The other important component is that it has to grab my wallet right from the start of the meeting.

For me, William Hill grabbed my attention first with their money back offer on the Supreme Novices Hurdle if your selection gets beat. Then Paddy Power upped it with money back offers on losing bets in the first two races if Willie Mullins’ hot pots come in. The majority of the rest of the accounts that I have are not running an offer for existing clients so they are effectively non-runners for me.

I expect (no hope!) the Mullins four fold to land on Tuesday and that is where my money will be heading. So, fill your satchel Mr Hill, I am coming for you. But don’t worry, I tend to give it all back on the Wednesday!



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