Cheltenham Winners & Losers: Our Analysis

One of the racing calendar’s biggest meetings of the year, the Cheltenham Festival, was another banner weekend for bookmaking firms in March.

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We’ve seen bookmakers throw lots of content out in recent years, but that’s no guarantor of success. We looked at the top bookmakers and analysed their strategies in terms of social media and content to see just how much impact their approaches were having during this crucial peak period.

Our social media scorecard shows that Paddy Power, as they did last year, topped the charts during Cheltenham. With a maximum 120 points available, they scored an impressive 113.2.

Betfair, part of the same group as Paddy Power, was some way back in second, scoring 75.9. Bet365 were in third with 74.3, with traditional brand Ladbrokes on 65.7. Their efforts were eclipsed by Paddy Power, whose approach is one of both high-volume and high-engagement.

Facebook engagement: The chink in Paddy Power’s armour

The key factor in Paddy Power’s success during the Cheltenham Festival is the amount of content they throw out, and the vast audience it’s aimed at over multiple platforms. Our index shows that the amount of content they produce over all the three main social channels dwarfs their competition.

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Bet365 can claim the 2nd largest audience, with strong scores across Facebook and Twitter, less so for YouTube. Third place Betfair are doing particularly well in building a solid YouTube audience, the second largest overall.

Volume is one thing, engagement another, and digging into our Social Engagement Index tells us that not everything is rosy in the Paddy Power garden. We can see that, while this brand has easily the largest Facebook volume, their content isn’t really engaging the audience. In fact, it ranks fourth for Facebook engagement, in contrast to its superb, market-leading Twitter engagement. Paddy Power may want to dig into the reasons why the content that works well for them on one platform isn’t performing so well on Facebook.

Ladbrokes: high engagement, low volume

By contrast, Ladbrokes have showed that they know how to engage with their Facebook audience – leading our index by a considerable margin – but their problem is one of volume, where they rank sixth.

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For Cheltenham, they utilised star football pundit Chris Kamara in a series of videos, something that proved popular with their Facebook audience – although, mysteriously, not so much with their YouTube followers. But it’s undeniable that Ladbrokes’ Facebook content strategy is working well.

Clearly, Ladbrokes need to get more eyes on their content to build their volume. And it also needs to make sure that their content is optimised for multi-channel success – currently their Twitter and YouTube is letting them down. One strategy to consider is a mix of targeted comms and paid social promotion, getting their considerable customer network to pay attention to their social channels, giving them a better ROI on the content side.

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