William Hill overhauls digital presence in personalisation push

William Hill is unifying its digital channels under a consistent user experience for the first time to deliver more personalised content, a move that comes as the company hails marketing for lifting online betting on the World Cup 211 per cent compared with the previous tournament.

Video: William Hill ”Make Every Moment Matter” advert


The country’s largest bookmaker revealed the overhaul, dubbed “Project Trafalgar”, is underway to introduce a responsive customer interface that eschews the need for changes to be replicated separately across desktop, Android and other operating systems.

William Hill says it paves the way for further personalisation through interactions such as push notifications and proprietary gambling platforms. For example, the betting shop is building an in-house platform for its Vegas casino brand that will extend the range of promotions to customer selection of preferred bonuses.

James Henderson, chief executive of William Hill, said the plan aims to shape a “single view of a customer’s use of our products” to elevate personalised play, marketing and customer service. A central data warehouse is being built to support the plan, the company added.

“For me, technology sits at the heart of everything we want to achieve in getting us closer to the customer and enabling us to differentiate our offering”, Henderson. “Our technology approach is a core competitive advantage. We combine the strength of our in-house capabilities and talent with the best external platforms to give us a bespoke system.”

Henderson takes over the top role from Ralph Tooling today (1 August) and said his priorities are to develop the company’s technology, expand internationally and profit from a stronger integrated customer proposition. The plan was handed a strong start thanks to better than expected revenues in the first half of the year due to the World Cup.

Betting on the World Cup jumped 80 per cent compared to the 2010 tournament, while online bets climbed 211 per cent in the same period. Total revenues rose 7 per cent to £805m for the 26 weeks to July, offsetting the losses it made during the Premier League season when it had to make big payouts after a number of favourites in matches won.

William Hill credited investments made to its marketing and services for giving the brand World Cup cut-through amid increased activity from rivals such as Ladbrokes. The gambling firm ditched its traditional promotions and product-intensive advertising tactic ahead of the event to focus on promoting the brand’s betting credentials more generally.  

The company’s marketing charge comes when the gambling sector is facing regulatory pressures on the content and scheduling of their advertising after the Government launched a four-pronged review of advertising codes and their enforcement. William Hill said it is working closely with ministers to identity “appropriate measures’ to tackle the concerns around sector-wide advertising alongside issues on gaming machines and high-street planning regulations.

The investigation builds on the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill, introduced by Culture Minister Maria Miller last year, to ensure all gambling brands attain a UK operating licence from the Gambling Commission in order to advertise in the UK.

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