How Brands Use Loyalty Programs To Keep Customers

On average, returning customers spend 67% more than new customers. Returning customers account for 40% of online sales but only 8% of site traffic. In fact, thanks to the high cost of advertising, brands spend five to 25 times more selling to new customers than to returning customers.

Years ago, stores could rely on location-based loyalty from customers who did not want to leave town to find a product. The Internet has since opened the floodgate to other options, including international options. Customers no longer return – or become loyal – to brands simply because they are nearby.

Now, brands must provide a great experience to inspire brand loyalty. To consumers, a “great experience” includes excellent and knowledgeable customer service, easy shopping, and quick check-out. Essentially, consumers aren’t only interested in a high-quality product. They want a high-quality process as well.

In response, brands have started to implement VIP programs and loyalty programs. These programs typically reward customers based on the tier to which they subscribe.

For example, cosmetics company Sephora hosts a VIP program called Beauty Insider. Through Beauty Insider, the brand offers to all customers a birthday gift, access to the brand’s rewards bazaar, and access to the brand’s online community. This “free” tier is called Insider. Customers who subscribe to the next tier, VIB (“Very Important Beauty Insider”), for $350 a year receive everything from the Insider tier as well as a monthly gift and one custom makeover. The highest tier, VIB Rouge, costs $1,000 annually, but subscribers receive everything from Insider and VIB. They also receive multiple custom makeovers, free two-day shipping, access to a private brand-run hotline, and invitations to exclusive events.

Another example is Amazon’s Amazon Prime program. For $120 a year, customers enjoy free, two-day shipping on millions of products without worrying about a minimum purchase total. Prime members also enjoy access to 24-hour streaming services. The services feature television shows, music, and movies. Additionally, some featured shows and movies are Amazon productions available only through Amazon Prime or purchase via the company’s site.

Amazon loses over $1 billion per year by offering Amazon Prime, but Prime members’ increased purchases cover the loss. On average, Prime members spend $1,500 per year while non-Prime members spend only $625 per year.

In order to succeed, tiered loyalty programs and VIP programs must serve both brands’ and customers’ objectives. Brands want to make money while customers want to save it. As such, brands have the difficult task of developing a loyalty program that offers enough to draw customers without sacrificing revenue.

One common program development strategy is offering brand products and services. By doing so, brands save money that they would have spent on third-party products or services, such as spa days or concert tickets. For this reason, brand products and services are popular contest prizes.

Another common program development strategy is padding each tier with small swag items and coupons for varied products and services. Swag items are cost-efficient, especially if they are brand products. Additionally, customers have their own preferences. The brand that offer coupons for varied services and products ensures it appeals to the widest target audience while making sure that audience doesn’t use every coupon available.

The Importance of Social Media Network Crossover For Brands

Social media sites offer much to brands. Every social media platform includes a built-in audience. Creating and maintaining a social media account is, with rare exceptions, free. Additionally, social media algorithms are programmed to help users find desired or relevant content. Online marketing teams who understand these algorithms can use them to ensure brand posts appear regularly in potential customers’ feeds.

Currently, Facebook and YouTube are the most popular platforms. Perhaps one of the most notable groups of users is young Americans between the ages of 18 and 24. This group uses multiple platforms and uses them frequently. In addition to Facebook and YouTube, 78% of Americans in this age range use Snapchat while 71% use Instagram. Additionally, 45% use Twitter.

Moreover, the average American uses three of eight popular social media platforms. Given these figures, it’s highly likely that at least some followers are “cross-followers” – that is, followers who follow a brand across multiple social media sites.

But what do these “cross-followers” mean for the brands they follow?

Some analysts view cross-followers as “false numbers.” One follower who watches a brand on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram looks like three followers instead of just one. For this reason, market researchers can’t add all of a brand’s social media followers for a grand total.

As strange as it sounds, unique followers are less beneficial to a brand than cross-followers. Cross-followers are the followers who love the brand. They are sure to watch it on various social channels so they can keep up with the latest news and potential offerings regarding that brand’s products and services.

For every purchase that a casual consumer makes, a loyal consumer makes between 12 and 20 purchases. In today’s competitive market, brand loyalty is the key to current and future success. And now, that success starts online – on social media platforms.

In fact, 69% of brands develop brand loyalty using social media sites. As a result, 66% of users between the ages of 18 and 24 feel more loyal toward the brands that they follow on social media. The same rings true for 60% of users between the ages of 25 and 34. Additionally, 54% of users feel that brands that interact with their followers provide better overall service than those that don’t.

Network crossover works on the basis of commonality. We find commonality among followers as well as followees and mutuals. In contrast to followers, followees are users that other users follow. Mutuals are users who follow each other.

Common followers, common followees , and mutuals all incite a sense of community among a brand’s target audience. For users, that community provides a place where they can meet like-minded individuals and have discussions about topics of interest. That commonality also makes users more likely to share information – including brand-specified posts – on their accounts for friends and followers to see.

Social media network crossover is brand loyalty. As such, brands should strive for as much crossover as possible instead of focusing only on follower numbers. The latter will cost brands customer loyalty and, ultimately, sales.

How Successful Brands Use Social Media

Social media is one of the most valuable tools that a brand can use. Popular social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram come with built-in audiences. Those platforms’ algorithms also lead their users to content that they like – including potentially appealing brands, products, and services.

Successful social media marketing doesn’t rely on algorithms, though. To amass a following, brands must remain active and vigilant of potential outreach opportunities.

One major advantage of maintaining a social media presence is knowing what’s trending and when. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all take brands’ and users’ location and interests into account when displaying current trends. Popular trends include news, events, and social games (such as hashtag games on Twitter). Thanks to social media, brands can identify similarly-themed trends and use them to reach new consumers. From there, brands can lead those consumers off-platform onto the brand’s website, where they can make a purchase. Posting a promo code or two on social media entices users to make that purchase.

Brands can also use social media platforms and their hashtag systems to inspire users to create user-generated content. User-generated content (or “UGC”) is content that non-affiliated users create at the behest of a brand, frequently as part of a contest. When Calvin Klein launched its #MyCalvins campaign – a campaign that encouraged users to take photos of themselves wearing their Calvin Klein clothing and post the photos under the hashtag #MyCalvins – the brand garnered 200,000 photos and over four million interactions.

Besides outreach, brands must think about engagement. Luckily, social media is designed with fast, easy engagement in mind. The number of likes that a status update, tweet, or image garners provides insight into the audience’s preferences and expectations. To further gauge audience reactions, brands can read their posts’ comment sections. Brands can also search for consumer commentary on their products and services via keywords.

Engagement doubles as an outreach opportunity. One brand that excels at consumer engagement on social media is the fast food chain Wendy’s. Wendy’s caters to demographics of all kinds, especially young people. The chain’s Twitter has become known for fun, sometimes sarcastic tweets about the competition’s quality. For example, take the chain’s response to competitor Steak and Shake’s tweet about the “awkwardness” inherent in suggesting to go to Wendy’s. Wendy’s snarky response received over 100,000 likes and 23,000 retweets.

But Wendy’s didn’t stop there. The chain replied with the same humor to multiple users’ comments on the response. These replies cement Wendy’s as a fun, down-to-Earth business in their target audience’s eyes.

Speaking of engagement, social media is an important tool for crisis management. Gaming and streaming platforms use social media to alert users when the platforms have crashed or need tweaking. Smaller retail chains often post when one of their stores will unexpectedly close due to the weather, a power outage, or another unforeseen problem.

More than 50% of all social media users are more likely to purchase from a brand that they are following on social media. Brands that do not invest in social media or use it effectively will forego a whole audience of consumers and, ultimately, suffer in the long run.

Why Brands Invest In Online Contests

The Internet presents an interesting conundrum in terms of marketing. On one hand, brands can reach the whole world at the click of a mouse via e-mail, advertising, social media, and other means. On the other, the digital market is so saturated that standing out online often proves more difficult than standing out in traditional media.

One online marketing strategy that brands are utilizing is contests. Online contests function like traditional ones. Entrants must give brands specified information in exchange for an entry in the contest. Often that information is contact information, such as the entrant’s phone number or e-mail address, as well as personal information, such as their gender or age.

Market research is one of the major reasons why brands conduct digital contests. Brands can gather information about their target audience. and use that information to tailor their messaging to appeal to that audience.

Another reason is follower growth. Online contests provide a valuable opportunity that traditional contests lack: peer-to-peer sharing. Many contests encourage entrants to share the contest via e-mail or some other digital means. For example, at FanLogic, we incentivize entrants to share our contests via e-mail, text messages, and social media in exchange for more ballots. In this fashion, we help our clients reach new audiences.

Speaking of followers, follower engagement is another reason why brands turn to digital contests. Today, many brands maintain social media accounts that allow them to interact with their followers. In fact, followers often expect brands with a social media presence to interact with their fanbase.

Social media interaction from follower to follower is another positive outcome of online contests. An increase in followers often means that new and old followers will interact on your brand’s social media. Enough interaction can lead to the formation of an online community – an online community centered around your brand.

Online communities are valuable assets to brands. They encourage comradery between followers, which in turn inspires brand loyalty. After all, if a group of people bond over a brand, then likely they will remain interested in it for as long as they maintain that bond. And existing customers are easier to sell to than new customers.

Social media-based online communities are particularly valuable. Followers who regularly discuss a brand are essentially advertising it to all of their followers – for free. Sooner or later, those followers’ followers are bound to join the conversation, especially if the brand presents them with a chance to win a fabulous prize. They might even start advocating for that brand, just like its current followers, or become customers.

Online contests are a multi-faceted opportunity. They gather consumer data, grow followers, and inspire brand loyalty and awareness, all of which are necessary to thrive in today’s ultra-competitive market.

Why Online Communities Work For Brands

Community creation is an online marketing strategy that more and more brands are implementing. Online communities are groups of Internet users who connect with each other. Sometimes they specify a platform for connection, such as a Facebook group or site forum. Other times, they simply respond to each other’s posts and tweets.

A common place for branded online community formation is social media. A recent study that examined social media’s potential to foster community development and growth concluded that the platform is, in fact, not ideal for general community creation. However, social media works well for specific-interest community creation.

The study’s researchers based that conclusion on social media’s algorithms. Users interested in, say, film discussion are not likely to stumble upon users who are interested in environmentalism or a certain religion. Social media algorithms are designed to show users content that they are interested in -- not content that is, for lack of a better word, irrelevant to the user.

It is that precise reason why social media is such an attractive option for brands to organize a community. Brands can talk directly to followers and make them feel valued. Some brands, such as the video game company CAPCOM, have hired full-time community managers who converse with users on social media. Besides which, consumers globally average two and half hours or more browsing social media each day. What better place to establish a community than on a platform where there is already a readily available audience?

One major downside to social media-based community creation is lack of moderation capabilities. Some platforms, such as Facebook, feature tools specifically for community creation, including moderation tools. However, many platforms – including Twitter – do not. If one user hurts the community, there is little brands can do to remedy the situation.

One solution is brand-owned and –operated forums and sites. They give brands full control over all content posted. Inappropriate content and users deemed to be detrimental to the community can be removed by moderators. Moderators can also foster discussions and redirect conversations that get off-track. Make-up company, Sephora launched its own community site, Beauty Insider, and enjoys productive discussions with its consumers on it.

Brand forums and sites are a costly investment. The brand assumes all responsibility for forum and site maintenance and quality. Additionally, moderation cannot be automated, so the brand must hire moderators and compensate them. For these reasons, some brands may question whether launching a site or forum just for consumers is worth the investment.

When asking this question, brands should keep in mind the human need for connection. Consumers want products, but they need connection. Some consumers even prefer connecting with others via the Internet due to introversion or finding nothing in common with “real-life” acquaintances. Community creation is a brand-savvy online marketing strategy that meets a desire and a need.

Additionally, brands can use online communities to conduct market research. Posting a poll, creating a hashtag, or reading consumer posts can tell a brand how it can keep appealing to its target audience.

Another benefit for brands is user generated content. Many brands struggle to create content for their marketing strategies. However, consumers willingly create and post content for their favorite brands. Reviews, pro-brand quotes, and video dedications are a few examples of the kind of content that consumers post for their fellow consumers’ consumption – and for brands’ use.

When brands create an online community, they enjoy multiple benefits. Those benefits outweigh potential headaches and contribute to brand growth as well as consumer outreach.

The Psychology Of Gamification

Gamification is the method of implementing various elements of game design in contexts outside of gaming. The implementation’s purpose is to provide motivation to take a desired action. Online marketing is one common context in which gamification is incorporated.

Answering “what is gamification” isn’t as important as answering “why gamification works.” The process means nothing unless it earns brands the desired result. And understanding how gamification does just that means understanding basic human psychology.

Kevin Werbach, an associate professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, urges his students not to focus on mental state so much as behavior. How people think, he claims, isn’t as important as what people actually do. People have natural cognitive biases – certain instincts – that dictate their behavior without much thought. One of those instincts is an adverse reaction to loss.

For example, the Professional Baseball League gives badges to viewers who watch streams of covered baseball games. Viewers receive these badges when certain events occur during the games. The reception of badges gives viewers a sense of inclusion. That inclusion creates a community of sorts among the viewers who earn badges. As a result, the “game” of watching streams to receive badges takes on an addictive quality.

At the same time, the badges create a situation of potential loss. Viewers who don’t watch when an event occurs can’t receive a badge for that event. Not only do they miss the badge, they don’t feel included with the viewers who did receive it.

Gamification also generates feedback. One type of feedback is behavior-based. Whether or not people take part in the “game” indicates its success. Take speed detectors, for example. Speed detectors are digital boards that are set along roads and calculate the speed of passing vehicles. Speed detectors remind drivers how fast they should be driving – in other words, how they should be “playing the game.” On average, drivers who pass speed detectors slow down 10%.

Another type of feedback is progress-based. We see examples of progress-based gamification in numerous contexts, from video games to online surveys to self-improvement apps. In video games, players constantly receive feedback on their playing style. Chapter and level summaries display items gathered, accuracy rates, and the time it took players to complete the chapter or level. That way, players don’t have to wait until the end of the game to know how well they played.

Online surveys and social media profiles often include progress bars. These bars indicate the number of steps that users have left to complete the survey or profile. Self-improvement apps, such as the ones for fitness or learning languages, give users a task, cheer them on upon completion, and display both their progress and the steps left until total goal completion.

Thanks to the feedback mechanism, consequences are also part of gamification. Feedback creates an appointment-based mechanism that requires consumers to take a specific action regularly in order to participate.

One example is the popular ‘90s toy Tamagotchi. Tamagotchi were a brand of digital pets that players must care for via feeding, playing, and putting to bed much like real pets. Because the digital pets could need food, playtime, or a nap at any time, serious players carried their Tamagotchi at all times. If they didn’t, they risked losing their pet and having to start the game all over.

Another example is FanLogic. We reward entrants who take certain actions and successfully refer friends to our contests with additional ballots, thus increasing those entrants’ chances of winning. The entrant who continuously takes actions and makes referrals might not win, but the entrant who doesn’t act or refer at all almost definitely will not win.

In the end, gamification works based on inherent instincts rather than thought patterns. The instinct to succeed. The instinct to feel included. The instinct to avoid losses and not miss out. Online marketing strategies that stimulate these instincts are the strategies most likely to succeed.

How Successful Marketing Strategies Incorporate User Generated Content

Now more than ever, brands struggle to create content that appeals to their target audience. Some content, no matter how catchy or clever to marketing teams and agencies, simply don’t resonate with consumers.

The problem spans beyond failing to capture a target audience’s attention. Failed marketing campaigns waste time and resources. For that reason, brands are turning to user generated content.

“What is user generated content?” some brands may ask. User generated content (or “UGC” for short) is content that consumers create and brands use. Popular methods of inspiring – and obtaining – UGC include hashtag-based campaigns and digitally driven contests, such as the ones that FanLogic hosts.

For example, government agency Tourism Australia identified a need to appeal to social media-oriented Japanese youth. In response, Tourism Australia launched the GIGA Selfie campaign. As part of the campaign, the agency released an app that Japanese tourists downloaded onto their phones. Then, while in Australia, the tourists could activate the app, causing a distant camera to take a photo or video of themselves. They would then receive an e-mail containing the photo or video, which they could forward to friends or family and share on social media.

Thanks to the GIGA Selfie campaign, Tourism Australia became associated with numerous breath-taking shots of Australia and Japanese tourists enjoying themselves in the country. The agency obtained the content it needed to appeal to its target audience. As a result, its website traffic increased by 65%.

Another great example of UGC at work is soda company Coca Cola. Coca Cola is no stranger to successful UGC campaigns. The brand’s Share A Coke campaign helped them earn $10.5 billion in 2015.

After the end of Share A Coke, Coca Cola launched another UGC campaign, a competition, in which consumers submitted videos of themselves talking about why they love Coke. One lucky contestant won a grand price of almost $14,000. The campaign earned the brand six million mentions online. Coca Cola also reported 92% cost savings compared to other marketing strategies.

Cost savings are another advantage of user generated content. Traditional marketing strategies require planning, skilled labor, ad space, and air time – all of which can add into one hefty bill. User generated content is far cheaper, usually requiring only planning and content review.

What’s more, user generated content is organic and genuine. Although professionally shot photos and videos of models in front of beautiful backgrounds are nice, they are obviously “manufactured” so to speak. To consumers, user generated content is honest content. It is content created not for marketing purposes but for consumers’ love of a brand and its products. And that love resonates with consumers.

Gamification As An Effective Consumer Engagement Tactic

Video games operate on a system of performance and reward. When players perform well, they receive extra points, items, or tries. Thanks to this system, many players go out of their way to play well rather than only play well enough to complete the game.

Modern game companies have adapted this system further. They use the Internet, social media, and other opportunities to increase brand awareness. For instance, the popular Facebook and app game FarmVille encourages players to invite their friends. Players who successfully convert their friends into fellow FarmVille players can trade with them, gaining desired supplies. As a result, new consumers are exposed to FarmVille and its publisher, Zynga. We call this system of using rewards to increase and retain brand exposure “gamification.”

Gamification doesn’t just work for video games. Companies from numerous industries have implemented gamification as a way to engage consumers and keep them engaged.

Let’s take the healthcare industry, for example. Some healthcare insurers have created loyalty programs that reward consumers for participating in healthy activities, such as going to the gym or getting an annual physical. The reward could be anything from a reduced premium to gift cards to product discounts.

We often see gamification in similar marketing strategies. Various retail chains have in place their own loyalty programs that reward frequent shoppers with a discount, points toward free merchandise, or in-house cash. Online, we see gamification in the form of social contests such as the ones that FanLogic offers. Consumers participate in contests by giving the companies running the contest information that helps them learn about their target audience. Consumers can also perform certain tasks, such as sharing the contest with friends or taking part in surveys, to earn more chances to win. Both actions give companies valuable consumer data.

Gamification has even made a name for itself in the workplace. Some companies have incorporated gamification to keep workers engaged while at work, thus boosting their productivity. For example, the hotel chain Marriott International divided their employees into teams and introduced a digital platform that allowed them to compete against employees at other hotel chains. Marriott offered prizes to the teams that performed the best. Additionally, the chain garnered data that proved the teams improved their productivity by 10%.

Gamification is a proven system that works across multiple industries and platforms. Regardless of how it is incorporated, it engages consumers, turns them into customers, and ensures they stay customers.

The Necessity of Income Opportunities For Customer Acquisition

Last year, companies worldwide spent nearly $40 billion on media advertising. Experts predict that by 2022, global advertising will exceed $750 billion in total.

Considering the amount that companies invest in advertising, one would assume an online campaign or TV spot is all it takes to earn a handsome ROI. The truth is, it depends. The success of any advertisement relies on content, resonance, medium, audience demographics, and a myriad of other factors.

In the end, advertising is a necessary yet risky method for acquiring new customers. To succeed in today’s market, companies must venture beyond advertising to reach – and keep – customers.

One effective method is the “income opportunity.” Income opportunities are chances for customers to earn their own ROI while participating in activities that increase companies’ ROI. We frequently see income opportunities implemented in gaming apps and platforms.

For example, popular games Candy Crush and Farmville give players the opportunity to earn more in-game by referring their friends. In Farmville, players’ “neighbors” are their Facebook friends, who can give them farming supplies. Candy Crush rewards players who send their friends app invites with extra lives. Game Loot Network, a multi-faceted gaming platform, utilizes a similar model in which players can compete against friends, make new friends, win prizes, and even participate in game development.

Lance Baker, founder and CEO of Game Loot Network, recently talked about the significance of the income opportunity to his company’s business model. Specifically, he spoke about the importance of a “culture of partnership” between companies and customers.

Said Baker of the model’s success: “Our members have trust and patience because they are stakeholders IN our mission, while being ambassadors FOR our mission.”

Income opportunities don’t come without some difficulties. One such difficulty is customers having to rely on friends to accept the referrals. A customer who does not successfully refer many friends may grow frustrated with the platform.

Another difficulty is reliance on third-party platforms. For example, many income opportunity-based models include the ability to refer friends via social media sites. Social media sites are an ideal platform for outreach due to their popularity. In the United States alone, nearly 80% of the population maintains some sort of social media account.

However, social media sites tend to change their APIs often. The changing of APIs can lead to breaks in linking. Just this month, Facebook implemented an API change that disallows Twitter users to cross-post tweets to their Facebook pages.

Nevertheless, income opportunities are a necessity for customer acquisition in today’s market. Minor hiccups in the model should not deter companies from seeking a more even – and profitable – relationship with their customers.

How Brands Win – And Keep – Customers

The backbone of every company is its customers. Companies that fail to win and keep customers struggle to stay afloat.

Today, the struggle to grow and maintain a strong customer base is a common problem among many companies. Poor customer service is often cited as a major reason why customers lose interest in the companies they follow. In fact, one study indicated that by 2020, poor customer service will lead to more customer defection than high prices or product issues.

In today’s digitally inclined society, customer service is not an obvious answer. Mobile devices and Google give customers the tools to find desired information without any help from reps. However, customer service features something that Internet searches do not: personalized, human engagement.

Consumers latch onto the human side of companies. In an age of touch screens and automated voice recordings, companies that offer one-on-one, human engagement leave a better, longer-lasting impression than those that do not.

In fact, companies that show their human side generally find more favor with customers. For that reason, many companies have taken measures to present themselves in a personable manner – and demonstrate that they care about meeting customers’ needs.

For example, companies are now turning to video advertisements and vlogs to show off their products. Videos are eye-catching and allow customers to see the people behind the brands.

Another approach that companies are taking is community creation. Many companies are using social media and unique hashtags to track and participate in customers’ conversations. Some companies, including make-up giant Sephora, have launched their own online communities that offer forums and content just for customers to partake in. Some communities have grown so large that companies have hired Community Managers to moderate comments and ensure customers engage in healthy discussions.

Partnerships have also proven a valuable opportunity. Partnering with influencers and other companies for events exposes brands to new customers.

An unexpected opportunity for brand-customer connection that companies have seized is social stands. Although risky, social stands have ensured customers that the brands they follow are worthy of support.

Last year, Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad “Born The Hard Way” depicted the harsh realities that the company’s founder, Adolphus Busch, faced when he first immigrated to America from Germany. The ad drew its share of criticism due to its seemingly politically charged subject matter. The ad also garnered support thanks to the subject matter. One YouTube user commented on a video of the ad: “I will drink to this with a Bud Light, cheers.”

Overall, customers want authenticity from the brands they support. They want a human element that they can latch onto. Companies that can provide that element will fare better both short-term and long-term.

Sports Gambling Is A Success In Delaware

Delaware has a spotty track record when it comes to sports gambling. Forty-two years ago, the state’s venture into football gambling cost the state nearly $70,000.

Despite that loss, Delaware was the first state to legalize sports gambling following the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) this past May.

The state opted to start small, opening sports books in only three casinos at the beginning of June. Those casinos include Delaware Park and Casino, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino.

The state’s governor, John Carney, placed the first symbolic bet in Dover Downs. He wagered $10 on the Philadelphia Phillies versus the Chicago Cubs. He won.

The Delaware Lottery, a state-sanctioned organization, handles the state’s gambling industry. This month, the Delaware Lottery released the total number of bets gathered from June 5th to June 24th. During that time period, Delaware recorded over $7 million worth of bets.

Of that $7 million, the state kept $1 million.

Delaware Park earned the most, recording over $5 million worth of bets. Dover Downs followed with more than $1 million. Harrington Raceway recorded nearly $600,000.

In fact, on opening day alone, the three Delaware casinos garnered over $320,000 in bets.

The good news doesn’t stop there. Last week, Delaware lawmakers approved a 1% tax cut for Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway. The cut is expected to help bolster revenue for the gambling venues, which have struggled in the past.

The cut is also expected to aid the venues in competing against Maryland and Pennsylvania’s budding gambling industry.

Vernon Kirk, director of Delaware Lottery Games, is pleased with Delaware’s sports gambling success thus far. He contributes much of the success to the state’s established gaming infrastructure for parlay cards. The only real issue that casinos have encountered, he said, is the sheer volume of bets wagered.

“We had one brief moment when we were overwhelmed on the second day,” Kirk elaborated. “There was a pro basketball game and Delaware Park was a little unprepared for the volume.”

Presently, the state has not yet incorporated mobile gaming. Kirk hopes that changes by football season. Delaware law requires all mobile gaming be in-state, meaning that mobile gamblers will need to register prior to placing bets.

Speaking of football season, Kirk anticipates some growing pains once the season is in full-swing. One concern is, again, volume and whether or not casinos can handle what he expects to be a high turn-out of gamblers.

Another is small vendor turn-out. In the past, gamblers have purchased parlay cards from small vendors rather than casinos. Kirk expects gamblers to turn to casinos, where sports gambling is also available, for card purchases in the future. The change, he says, is a necessary one due to the equipment and infrastructure that casinos already have in place.

Rhode Island Legalizes Sports Gambling

Sports gambling is officially legal in Rhode Island.

Last Friday, the state’s governor Gina Raimondo signed Bill S7200A into law, legalizing the once-outlawed practice. The Rhode Island government issued a press release later in the day, confirming the bill’s status.

The legalization of sports gambling is part of Raimondo’s proposed state budget plan. Per her plan, the Rhode Island government will fund various projects, including public school improvements, using funds garnered from sports gambling.

Earlier in the week, the state’s senate had voted almost unanimously to pass the bill.

Rhode Island is the third state to legalize sports gambling since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known simply as “PASPA,” earlier this year. Prior to the Act’s overturning, only Nevada could allow sports gambling. Now the practice is legal in Nevada as well as New Jersey, Delaware, and Rhode Island.

Initially, only two casinos will offer sports gambling in Rhode Island. Both are Twin Rivers casinos, one located in Lincoln and the other in Tiverton. The state will grant each casino $100,000 to host the practice. Online and mobile sports gambling is currently forbidden.

At 51%, the state will take the biggest slice of all sports gambling-based profits. Vendors will take 32% while casinos will receive the remaining 17%.

Roll-out of the new law will likely be slow. At its earliest, legal sports gambling could become available by October of this year.

The next states expected to legalize sports gambling include West Virginia and Mississippi.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling on Sports Gambling And What It Means For Online Gambling

Recently, the state of New Jersey took on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The federal Act, which is also known simply as “PASPA,” outlaws most instances of sports gambling outside Nevada.

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that PASPA violated New Jersey’s tenth amendment. The amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Justice Samuel Alito Jr. released a statement about the Court’s decision. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own,” he said. “Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.”

The Court’s ruling in favor of states’ rights over federal law paves the way for other states to enact legislation that allows sports gambling and betting.

Many New Jersey gambling establishments are already poised for the sports gambling window to officially open. Delaware, West Virginia, Mississippi are also preparing to move quickly. Other states, including New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, will likely pass their own legislation within the next 90 days. Some states have already held their house meetings and must wait several months to pass new legislation allowing sports gambling within their boundaries.

In total, it’s estimated that up to 32 states will enact some form of legislation allowing sports gambling within the next five years.

The Supreme Court’s ruling covers virtually any kind of sports gambling recorded via sportsbooks, including horse racing, golf, combat sports, and professional and college sports. The ruling also covers non-American sporting events.

Currently, various sports leagues are urging the banning of certain types of sports gambling. One type is betting on player actions, such as whether the first pitch of a game is a strike or a foul.

Some in-house bills are encouraging the availability of online and mobile sports gambling options.

Despite the Court’s ruling, businesses shouldn’t start opening their own sports gambling operations just yet. In no way does the ruling imply that the activity is legal throughout the entire United States. The decision means only that states can now pass legislation allowing sports gambling within their boundaries. Not every state will legalize sports gambling. Even those that wish to do so may have to wait months – even years – to pass the appropriate legislation.

What are social influencers

The Internet provides a platform for anyone who has something to say. Thanks to this "open mic" aspect of the World Wide Web, social influencers have risen into positions of authority – and marketers have taken notice.

Social influencers are everyday people who've managed to garner an impressive online following. They're bloggers, vloggers, models, animators, and other content creators whose work has found success within a particular online community. Because of their success, they're seen as knowledgeable and trustworthy within that online community. Each online community caters to a specific niche of people, be they fans of a certain television series, theater buffs, or fitness enthusiasts.

A myriad of benefits come with social influencer marketing. These benefits include:

  • Immediate brand awareness. Once you've gained a social influencer's endorsement, you've won access to an already interested, loyal audience. You won't have to worry about reaching your audience because you'll have already reached it.
  • Established credibility. Social influencers are trusted by their followers. In fact, followers trust social influencers as much as their own friends. Once you've won the social influencer's trust, you've won their followers' trust.
  • A sincere spokesperson. Social influencers become social influencers because they have something to say and they're honest when they say it. That's why social influencers are seen as "experts": they're knowledgeable and use their knowledge to back up their opinions. A social influencer's endorsement is seen as far more sincere than any ad campaign.
  • New content. Every digitally driven campaign struggles to churn out new, exciting content. A social influencer can help there. Social influencers create content of their own accord, taking some of the burden off your marketing team.
  • Networking. An social influencer can introduce you to fellow social influencers, social influencer managers, and other people who have a lot of pull in the celebrity realm. Working with a social influencer is a valuable networking opportunity that could result in massive exposure for your brand.
  • Conserved resources. All marketing efforts require time, effort, and money. Those resources go into planning a strategy, creating content, and putting everything into play. Campaigns not focused on capturing an audience's attention are focused on maintaining it. Promotion via a social influencer takes away much of that hassle. Thanks to social influencers, you can cut out a huge portion of the campaign development process, saving you resources.

How to choose the right social influencers

Social influencer marketing has become a staple of digitally driven strategies. For those who are not yet in the know, social influencers are niche-based personalities who specialize in creating content for their niche. Consumers of that niche recognize social influencers as knowledgeable and trustworthy, making them a valuable resource for any marketing campaign. At FanLogic, we've started to tap this plentiful well to help our clients make the most of our social contests, social fantasy games, and other services.

There is a right way and a wrong way to select your digital campaigns' social influencers. Choosing the wrong social influencers results in a waste of resources and a potential loss of interested consumers. To pick the right social influencers, you'll need to conduct some research. It might be tempting to check out a potential social influencer's number of followers or likes and just stop there. But don't. Instead, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are they already following you on social media? You shouldn't be concerned with whether or not a potential social influencer is already following you on social media. After all, they may not have heard of you. However, it is always easier to convince a current customer to vouch for you.
  • Does their brand align with yours? In today's digital market, it's important to ensure every consumer-facing action you take is brand-aligned. After all, brands outlive products and services. Make sure your brand appeals to your chosen social influencer's niche, or you'll risk wasting resources and time on an uninterested audience.
  • How often do they post? The social influencer whom you choose should post frequently. Frequent posts are a sign of activity. Activity attracts – and holds – followers' attention. Social influencers who post infrequently fail to hold their followers' attention.
  • How often do their followers interact with them? Lots of likes, comments, and shares indicate that the social influencers' content is not only attention-grabbing but also successful. Successful content inspires followers to engage with the social influencer's posts.
  • Do they have loyal followers? Loyal followers are the first ones to like and comment on social influencers' new posts. Loyal followers like each post, and they always have something to say about it. In essence, they hang onto the social influencer's every picture, video, and word.
  • Do they have any questionable posts? Most people, including social influencers, have posted something embarrassing on social media at one time or another. However, a social influencer who perpetually makes questionable posts is not a social influencer you want to represent you. In fact, that kind of social influencer could potentially hurt your brand image.
  • Are they genuine? Social influencers gain a following because they are earnest in their interests and opinions. Consumers enjoy reading or listening to what social influencers have to say. Because social influencers are so honest, consumers trust their opinions