At the time of writing, there are 7.7 billion people living within 386,000 states, communicating via the 7,000+ languages spoken throughout 193 recognised countries of the world.
With this much diversity, it’s hard to imagine any scenario where a single product or idea will satisfy the incredible array of cultures and tastes that are present on earth today.
Hitting the right note
For that reason, many companies looking to sell their products in new environments need to be mindful of the audience that they want to capture.
Some differences can be subtle due to the nature of the product, but to really appeal to any potential customer, any product needs to ‘speak the language’ of the buying party in more ways than one.
Often, without realising it, people feel an association or affinity with something they recognise and that they find familiar.
This can be as obvious as using the language they speak for them to properly understand your product, or as subtle (and simple) as the colour choice for your branding or service.
For instance, red is a powerful and instinctual colour that is immediately recognisable, but it is perceived differently depending on the culture that sees it.
In Western cultures, it is often associated with danger, or passion. Whereas, in China it represents luck, prosperity, and happiness.
However, in South Africa, it is closely linked with death and mourning.
Equally, while some Middle Eastern cultures connect the colour blue with spirituality, the Indian subcontinent often associates blue with acts of strength and athletic prowess.
Although understated, these fundamentals are deeply engrained aspects of an individual’s psyche, interconnected to the person’s history and culture, which are effective influences on how they recognise the world around them.
Creating a personalised product or associated content is key to draw out an audiences’ emotions, allowing for a connection with what is on offer, cognisant of the distinctions involved.
Simply taking a product and putting it in their language is not enough to be able to fully appeal to the individual.
Numerous factors need to be considered, with a nuanced understanding of the customer that you are looking to promote and ultimately sell to.
Similar, but very different
Gambling is a perfect example of a popular pastime that may seem the same from the outside, considering the ultimate goal. However, this ancient form of entertainment, practiced the world-over, has fundamental differences between cultures.
In one form or another, gambling can be traced back to the Palaeolithic period, with evidence of dice-based games in existence even before the written word or known currencies.
The ancient Greeks are understood to be the first society to implement gambling restrictions into law, and there is indication of gambling as a source of entertainment from every part of the globe.
However, how each culture perceives and participates in this pastime can wildly differ, depending on the location of the participant and how it evolved within their segment of society.
Although immediately recognisable and found in many pubs and social venues in the UK, the traditional slot machine is not something that would be immediately recognisable to someone from Brazil, who may be more familiar with games such as ‘Jogo do bicho’.
In the same vein, a flashy and heaving Pachinko parlour, ubiquitous in any Japanese city, is a world away from the Indian betting staple, ‘Andar Bahar’.
Content is still king
Ostensibly, it’s clear that online casino content which would resonate with one customer is very unlikely to be successful for a player on the other side of the world, simply down to the differentiation in their experiences and expectations.
The iGaming industry is aware that it is required to continuously evolve and look for new revenue sources to keep ahead or further revenue opportunities.
Regulation changes, tax considerations and advertising cost increases in traditional markets dictates that the industry must look to attract from new or untapped locations.
The ‘emerging markets’ have been a focus of iGaming companies for several years now and many have attempted to explore and master new markets, with varying levels of success.
Operators that can adapt their offering effectively, delivering an attractive proposition to the market they are looking to prosper in are better placed for success.
But simply saying you are local is not enough. You must prove it.
Poor approximations of the user’s language or culture can be more detrimental to your efforts than not attempting to penetrate that market at all.
Mistranslations, poor choices of themes or colour schemes could be perceived as untrustworthy, or in some cases downright offensive and should be avoided at all costs.
It is not cheap to enter a new market, and ill-conceived attempts are very quickly recognised by even the casual observer, often leading to a loss in investment, or even damaging a brand’s reputation.
Statistically, you have 0.05 seconds to make a good first impression online, and that happens before they’ve even had the chance to read anything on site.
Even if English is the standardised language for many iGaming companies, for the end users of their products, this is not the case.
According to CSA research, 87% of internet users will not consider engaging with a site not in their native language, especially so if fiscal transactions are involved.
A recent study in Sweden, the nation with the highest proficiency in English outside of non-native speakers, reported over 80% prefer to shop online using Swedish.
Gaining trust and loyalty of an audience, especially in iGaming, is an incredibly important step to deliver the potential revenues from any given market.
It is not enough to translate your site, have a specific currency available or use recognisable imagery. The content available needs to be relatable to the customer on site, because, ultimately, that is where income is made.
If an operator has gone to the lengths of translating the site accurately, providing customer service in the target markets’ language, delivering tailored marketing campaigns, and deals with local payment service providers, why would you expect them to want to play on games that they don’t understand or recognise?
RNG is a new concept for many emerging markets. That twinned with the different understandings and opinions of online casinos, not having a tangible product that they can relate to is a huge blocker.
Sports betting, table games and poker are far more recognisable generally, but video slots are still quite new to many, and distrust can be a factor.
Casino is widely recognised as the main revenue-generator within iGaming, so it makes sense to follow the pattern as established markets, to cross-sell to newer, or less knowledgeable players to that product.
Again, trust is a significant factor when looking to convert and retain customers.However, this can only be achieved by introducing these new players to a product that is instantly recognisable, which communicates directly to them, on numerous levels.
Use the right tools
Using considered, localised content, players from the emerging markets will find products that resonate with them, delivering trust and subsequent revenues by ‘speaking their language’.
Yolted’s proven, focused content is an important tool in any operator’s arsenal, when looking to maximise these specific revenue opportunities.
Our games have been created in conjunction with local players, casino experts and specialists from the wider entertainment industry, to ensure we create slot games that work in the markets they are created for.