Paddy Power hails ‘exceptional’ World Cup marketing for customer growth spike

Paddy Power has credited its “exceptional” World Cup marketing activity – which included high-profile PR stunts and advertising pushes featuring Professor Stephen Hawking and Luis Suarez’s biting antics – for record acquisition of new customers in the first half this year.

Paddy Power Suarez
Paddy Power has credited its World Cup marketing activity, such as this reactionary billboard, for boosting its new customer numbers in the first half of this year.

The bookmaker reported a 35 per cent year on year increase in new online customers to 795,000 in the six months to 30 June, with “no increase in marketing costs” per new customer. Over the World Cup period alone, Paddy Power acquired 148,000 new online customers and a 130 per cent increase in stakes placed versus the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

Overall, “sports book” sales in the six months to 30 June were up 17 per cent on the same period last year. Net revenue grew 7 per cent.

The company says its use of the “unique” Paddy Power brand and its “leading capability” in social and digital marketing, alongside product innovation such as recent updates to its iPad app, means it has achieved 39 per cent lower marketing cost per customer acquired than its other UK multi-channel peers.

The perennial mischief-maker ran a number of PR and advertising pushes during the World Cup as it set out an objective to “own the conversation” with offers that cut through to the mass market and devised a media strategy based on analytics and “informed insights”.

Memorable activity included signing up Professor Stephen Hawking to assess England’s chances of success in Brazil. It then went on to cause outrage by creating a hoax image that made it appear the bookmaker had carved “C’MON ENGLAND, PP” into the Amazon rainforest.

Alongside these stunts, Paddy Power signed up former Manchester United midfielder and England international Paul Scholes to write exclusively for its blog and launched reactionary brand activity including billboards on Luis Suarez’s infamous bite incident, England’s early exit and “justice payouts” for Italy fans after their team were knocked out of the tournament by Uruguay.

As well as scoring financial success, the activity helped Paddy Power’s Twitter and Facebook followers grow 17 per cent in June.  The bookmaker claims it had more than 10 times the total consumer engagement with its Facebook and Twitter posts than nearest competitors Coral, Betfair, Bet365 and Sky Bet over the period.

Paddy Power says its targeted investments in football also increased its TV share of voice from 9 per cent in the first half of 2013 to 14 per cent. The company says it still remains a relative challenger brand in the football market, but has set it out as a “substantial opportunity”, having grown turnover in this particular area of the business by 22 per cent in the period, compared with growth of 1 per cent and 3 per cent respectively in the second half of 2013.

However, despite the customer gains, Paddy Power blamed “punter friendly” results in racing and football for a 14 per cent year on year drop in operating profit to €60.1m in the first half.

Paddy Power says it continues to apply “deep analytical rigour” to improve returns, which has included applying “leading new insights” on the brand’s choice of marketing media, timing and content.

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