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As AI technology permeates its way into all areas of modern life, the industry has an opportunity to harness its power. However, it simply can’t replace the human touch, argues director of strategic marketing at The Unit, Feargal Byrne.

All things in moderation

As an industry supplier with a strong focus on marketing tech integration, it is difficult to ignore the profound effect that AI technology is having on acquisition and retention strategy, with particular regard to SEO and content creation.

The latest developments in large-language modelling can quickly perform duties that would otherwise be a significant time drain, and it is clear that AI will continue to change the way in which this, and most other industries, operate.

Those who are apprehensive of the prospect of handing all their duties to the machines in a Skynet-esque dystopia, however, should understand the supplemental nature of the technology when it comes to business development.

AI, when used in moderation, can undoubtedly accelerate certain aspects of workflow. Still, as things stand, it doesn’t come close to replicating the standards of quality any affiliate or operator needs to appeal to knowledgeable sports and casino audiences.

In our experience, any brand that is trying to forge engagement with a discerning audience will quickly be found out if the likes of ChatGPT are being leaned on too heavily.

Hence, AI should not be viewed as a means of bypassing the hard graft of editorial, marketing, or research work – but as a tool to supercharge your efforts.

SEO, powered by AI

From The Unit’s perspective, the benefits of AI have been most evident in terms of climbing SEO rankings and establishing a highly user-friendly environment for customers.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is crucial for any brand looking to find new customers. One’s journey to find any product or service usually begins with the Google search box, so it is critical to appear as high in search results as possible.

According to a study by SEO marketing company BrightEdge, websites using AI-driven content recommendations saw an average increase of 59% in organic traffic.

Similarly, a survey by HubSpot found that 61% of marketers believe AI is the most important aspect of their data strategy for improving SEO. 

The potential of AI to boost SEO performance – and therefore get your brand in front of the eyes of new customers and markets – is clearly evident when applied effectively in content creation and optimisation strategies.

AI is proving invaluable for SEO optimisation in the quest to create visibility in a crowded sports betting marketplace. AI algorithms can instantly analyse search trends and identify relevant keywords to include in content, optimising content for high-volume keywords and long-tail variations to bolster visibility in search engine results pages.

What more can AI do?

One of the best ways for any business to drive traffic to its site is backlink generation: having links to your brand on sports and entertainment sites will deliver new customers and improve search domain authority. AI is a winner here, thanks to its ability to assist with creating high-quality backlinks through SEO optimisation.

In terms of content generation, AI can assist with the human-led research that goes into betting tips, player and team statistics, match previews, and much more. Its suggestions can also improve metrics such as time on page, bounce rate, and click-through rate.

Ultimately, AI technology assists our partners in serving those whose values and requests are most important – the customers – without sacrificing the quality of output.

Of course, it’s not just content where AI is creating never-before-seen levels of efficiency in the industry. Operators are beginning to integrate AI as they collect enough data to anticipate betting behaviours on a personal level, while pricing specialists are employing machine learning algorithms to power the next generation of risk management tools. 

And in the future, the industry is surely duty-bound to use the technology for responsible gaming – to monitor problem gambling while creating a customised experience.

Ultimately, AI can play a key role in analysis, research, and content optimisation, particularly where the content is empirical and stats-based. However, compelling content that fosters acquisition and retention must be assigned to something other than large language model technology.

While the future may hold a very different role for AI technology in the industry, think of it now as an accoutrement, like a spell check on a Word document: it speeds up the process. It creates efficiency, but it certainly cannot be relied upon to coherently put words on the page. 

Feargal Byrne is Director of Strategic Marketing at The Unit. He has 15 years of experience in the betting sector and has been a member of the Marketing Institute of Ireland for 10 years. Specialises in digital marketing strategy across the entire marketing mix. He has extensive experience working with clients in the UK, US, Canada, and Ireland.

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