24 Feb Puntalyser
Puntalyser is Australia’s latest fully fledged racing tipping service, providing high quality market analysis and selections across both Corporate Bookmakers and Betfair utilising a team of full-time racing and sports analysts to identify holes in the market which have provided profitable betting opportunities to the tune of more than $30,000 in profit since March 2018.
With extensive lessons drawn from more than 2 years of client expertise dealing with the sports and gaming industry, JJB Marketing & Consulting provided a fully automated tech stack that would allow for industry-first tracking of results, individualised user results, automated analysis formatting and best-in-class email and support systems that would provide unprecedented conversion rates and remove a large part of the manual labour that would usually need to be outsourced or handled with expensive employees.
A complete branding package along with full development of the website and a successful social media marketing and email funnel automation system were also provided, allowing the team at Puntalyser to focus solely on finding holes in the market instead of dealing with tech issues and manually copying data and sending marketing information to members and leads.
Member Analysis XLSX:
Product Landing Page:
Lead Gen & Checkout:
Dynamic Member Emails:
Having single-handedly taken a similar company in a similar niche industry from $50,000 monthly revenue to close to $200,000 monthly revenue, the development and growth strategy for Puntalyser would draw on many of the lessons learnt alongside the addition of extensive automation modules and taking full advantage of available APIs to reduce the overhead required with getting the latest marketing data and results.
The system can therefore be split into six major areas of development – the marketing platform which would provide email automation and paid social media lead generation alongside an organic content strategy; the member and subscription management system which would provide administration of user data and payment integrations with Stripe, PayPal and MerchantWarrior; the data entry and Excel sheet formatting system which would turn a given CSV sheet into a user interactive format and crunch data for later analysis; the results settlement system which would access commercial APIs in order to get near-instant results for the market positions automatically; and the distribution system which would hook into Amazon SES using customer data and individual encryption and management functions to send information to each customer seconds after being approved by the analysts; and finally, the security and encryption systems responsible for reducing Member and trial fraud as well as detecting file and account sharing.
Module Development & Challenges:
Although Puntalyser does not take bets of any kind and is not in a regulated industry, many of the standard CRMs do not provide a distinction between a bookmaker/casino and other businesses that operate around the niche.
Because of this, the choice of CRM is incredibly important and quite limited – the usual suspects of ActiveCampaign and Salesforce are off the market unless the decision to enter into an incredibly expensive enterprise contract is taken up.
In order to work around this, a custom plugin was developed to use the up-and-coming marketing platform Drip. Whilst the official plugin is available for WordPress and WooCommerce, it is incredibly limited and has many issues with integration including using outdated libraries and missing functionality.
Lacking a method for triggering automation via the plugin, the decision was made to instead create a custom library using the half-baked API documentation available, and to then sync customer data using SKU and subscription statuses (active, pending-cancel, cancelled etc.) alongside order information and personalised results data.
Payment Providers & Merchant Accounts:
As a subscription company the most effective payment processor integration would be Stripe or Braintree Payments who both provide extensive plugins, documentation and support for tokenised payments that allow for full subscription integration and management.
However, just like the CRMs, both of these payment processors do not allow for odds forecasting or market analysis businesses despite not being in a regulated industry nor being a bookmaker/casino that requires a gambling license.
The simplest work-around here is to integrate the basic PayPal checkout which off-loads the responsibility for subscriptions however the issue is that reference payments are not enabled by default and require at least 12 months’ worth of trading history – an obvious show-stopper for a brand new company.
The basic PayPal checkout integration also removes the ability to customise the checkout experience, with the dubious usability of a 4-part checkout process on top of a 2-part internal check-out form pushed as an example of increased conversion in the PayPal marketing but hardly one which has produced similar practical results.
The PayPal solution also removes any ability for the store to manage subscriptions from the back-end, with subscription dates and product prices being set and managed by PayPal and payments coming through within 1-3 days of the due date; meaning any product or price changes would necessitate cancelling the subscription, sending an additional link to the client, and then the client going through the check-out process once again – a usability nightmare that also results in significantly reduced revenue for the company not to mention the reduced conversion rate and increased user frustration.
After extensive negotiation with industry leading merchant facilities including Eway, ANZ, NAB and Westpac, it was decided to develop a custom integration with MerchantWarrior who would provide a merchant facility and API connection as well as the ability to tokenise payments and full subscription management from the back-end.
In order to avoid issues with the checkout usability and unnecessary redirects, a custom module would need to be created which met the XML requirements of the MerchantWarrior API documentation, and then utilise the required encryption libraries to pass all customer data through a transparent redirect and then capture transaction status and token for future processing of payments or display of payment and transaction errors (insufficient funds etc.)
CSV Input and Analysis Output:
The major output of most tipping companies is simply a set of text analysis sent in a plain email which is both a usability issue (opening the door for mis-interpretation) but it also means that many of the functions which would reduce the work-load of members – things like marking the taken price and the result of the position through-out the day – are unable to be integrated due to the nature of text-only input.
At the same time, the job of the analysts at Puntalyser is to focus on finding and exploiting holes in the market and their domain knowledge and time is best spent in this process – not manually entering data into an Excel spreadsheet.
In order to get the best of both worlds – that is; low input requirements from staff and highly usable output for Members – a custom CSV input system was put into place. This system would allow meeting by meeting analysis to be tied to an individual post with the input controlled by a simple standard CSV sheet template that can be updated from the back-end by the analyst.
This simple CSV template requires only 5 rows of data per position to be entered by the analyst and then for it to be uploaded to the website where the system will parse the information and output the Excel sheet – meaning analysts can produce fully formatted data within 5-10 minutes rather than the 60 minute+ manual process.
A custom Excel/PHP integration was produced alongside a specially designed XLSX template which would take all marketing and racing information, parse it into the correct sections of the sheet, update the functions with dynamically produced formulas (automatically taking into account special cases of the market), and then parsing it and producing an Excel sheet output that is tied to the market release and uploaded to the members section.
Analysts can then enter any additional plain text strategic analysis to accompany the Excel release sheet and preview the output email without having to do any further formatting – showing exactly what the Member will receive.
Once finalised, the system automatically handles provisioning the release data into the correct Member silos, encrypts all data, validates subscription and payment data, updates user results and sends out individual emails using the Amazon SES platform for enterprise-level deliverability and reputation management.
Analysis Distribution System:
Direct email was decided as the primary distribution method for Puntalyser; providing platform agnostic access to all members alongside the direct download capability provided through the Members Section of the website.
The first part of the distribution strategy involves tying the release category to WooCommerce product data, identifying the product SKUs which are relevant to that data release, and then following this back to active user subscriptions and retrieving the latest Member details to be used within the email.
Once a valid Member (active or pending cancellation) is identified, the unique crypto key is taken from their usermeta table (SQL) and used to encrypt the analysis product and a link connecting to the release endpoint is generated ready for insertion into the email template.
The system then queries the user account for personalised results and account data which is inserted at the end of the email (as part of the individual results module) and a complete email is generated taking into account membership level (Basic vs Platinum) and the given analysis.
In order to provide the highest level of deliverability the server makes a direct API connection to an external Amazon SES account passing user email, email headers and email content directly to the Amazon data-center for near instant processing with send times regularly clocking in under 1.3 seconds; potentially the fastest fully-featured tipping distribution system in Australia.
Full email analytics are then queried from Amazon SES and stored as part of the standard system logs in the Puntalyser database, allowing any user complaints or issues with deliverability to be quickly identified, fixed and then followed up with whatever measure is appropriate for the given situation.
Reducing Account Sharing:
Although the time-sensitive nature of the analysis means that there is a limited window for account and information sharing, the simple fact of the matter is that if a significant number of users are sharing data without paying for it then the value of the positions is eroded as the market absorbs the excess liquidity, and paying members suffer from reduced value.
With the plain-text based solution utilised by other tipping platforms it’s a simple matter of setting up an automated email forward filter each time a piece of analysis is received and members could potentially distribute the paid information to hundreds of people without paying for it.
In order to work around this, Members at Puntalyser are provided with a unique link attached to each email which is tied specifically to their account. This link does three things; firstly, it logs the user in which invalidates any additional sessions that may be active on other devices; it then records the access to the server log for automated analysis against other member data; and finally it validates the user’s unique crypto key against the records in the database and checks the subscription status of the user.
Each Member has a unique crypto key which is combined with a variety of proprietary encryption methods and custom modules in order to validate access. Members who have an expired subscription are instantly unable to access the analysis (even if it’s an email they received weeks ago) and a variety of device fingerprints are automatically calculated to determine if the Member has been sharing or creating multiple accounts.
The system will then automatically merge duplicate subscriptions together, end the members’ trial (if any) and apply the latest renewal with the subscription renewal date based off the start date of the duplicate subscription.
Whilst there are still ways to get around it, this system covers the low-hanging fruit and most common strategies used by fraudsters to gain access to the analysis with the alternatives all involving intense and consistent manual work which culminates in significantly reduced account sharing. Those that are found to be account sharing are charged accordingly and any excessive exploitation will see their membership permanently revoked and all devices banned from accessing the website.
Tech Stack Used:
Optimised Spot Instance on AWS
A custom Amazon AWS server was spun up in the Sydney data-center overseen by a set of custom scripts which constantly ping the Amazon API to check bid amount against the market price and then automatically provision/decommission/roll-over servers as needed. This approach to DevOps sees an 80-90% reduction in monthly server costs over a typical on-demand approach and access to latest generation server hardware that far outperforms the shared hardware provided by their current system.
With a set of five high cost hardware servers making up the Elastigroup cluster powering Puntalyser, and with each server dedicated to a separate part of the system, the price reduction achieved through server allocation optimisation provides monthly savings in the 5 figure amount, significantly reducing the monthly operating cost which would dramatically cut into Membership revenue.
WordPress and WooCommerce (PHP/CSS/JS/SQL NGINX stack):
Open source copies of WordPress and WooCommerce were installed on an NGINX stack using an optimised and cache-ready Ubuntu server with pagespeed installed. The installation was connected to an optimised WordPress ready database with PHPMyAdmin as the administrative interface.
Centralised Custom Plugin:
All custom modules and extensions including widgets, results automation, email tracking, member access, custom templates etc. are packaged into a custom Puntalyser plugin which centralises the code-base under a MVC framework providing for easy extensibility and re-usability of code via standard class methods and native WordPress functionality.
Drip Marketing Platform:
Using a variety of WooCommerce action hooks, the custom Drip module connects to the API endpoint and parses data into the required format, allowing bi-directional data sync from the CRM to the data stored within WooCommerce – allowing marketing campaigns and automated emails (abandoned cart, trial reminders etc.) to be triggered as part of a funnel whenever customer data is re-synchronised.
MerchantWarrior Transparent Redirect Payments:
The official MerchantWarrior transparent redirect plugin was redeveloped to work in the custom environment and extended to include additional features for ease of subscription management and optimisation of the messy code base.
This strategy provides for an incredibly quick check-out process consisting of a two-step payment process with all customer payment details sent directly through to MerchantWarrior and significantly reducing the PCI-DSS requirements for the company.
The in-house extension further provides a native integration with the existing WooCommerce payment system which allows for complete administrative control including the ability for Members to automatically upgrade, downgrade and cancel their subscriptions from the Members Dashboard.
All customer purchase and action events have been connected to the Google Analytics platform allowing for enterprise-level analysis of purchasing and activity data.
All major social media pixels have been integrated with a custom script to provide eCommerce feedback and easily trackable ROI on marketing spend.
Average 30% Quarterly Growth
With the analysis produced by the team at Puntalyser constantly breaking through records and identifying opportunities for profit, Members have seen consistent profit multiples against the cost of their Memberships – encouraging an incredibly high retention rate.
This intense and consistent growth means that the company is now on track to push through $50,000 monthly revenue by the late 2019, with a six-figure monthly income possible within another 6 months once the content strategy and marketing budget continue to see dividends for the business.
Average 6.36% Conversion Rate
An incredible industry smashing long-term conversion rate of 6.36% has been achieved in combination with the incredibly specific marketing strategy and the simple and easy to use website combined with repetitive and obvious calls to action that streamline the interface for Members.
These types of numbers are only achievable through a combination of intense and consistent optimisation combined with a focus on ease of use and standard strategies like multivariate page testing, bright and contrasting colors on CTAs and an optimised checkout experience all backed up with best-in-class hardware and caching to reduce user frustration.
This type of conversion rate also produces an ROI on marketing spend that is a multiple of the money invested – allowing the team at Puntalyser to strategically place money into paid marketing and receive an almost instant return within a 2 week period, and a long-term retention rate that sees the cost of acquiring a user a mere fraction of the revenue generated.
20.4% Conversion From Trial To Paid
With an incredible 20.4% conversion rate from a lead taking up a $1 trial to becoming a fully fledged member, roughly 1 in 5 trialists will continue to stay with Puntalyser for at least 6 months – this is roughly a 400% increase in conversion compared to competitors in the space who only manage to achieve a 1 in 16 conversion.
This incredibly high metric allows the marketing budget to be easily and effectively maintained as the cost per acquisition and cost per lead break-even point can be calculated using a simple formula ( CPA / * 5 ). Straying from this number means the campaign needs to be further optimised whereas any multiple of the cost means significant extra return for the marketing budget.
80% Reduction In Hardware Costs
Using a cohort and machine driven algorithm approach to optimised spot market bidding across the AWS platform combined with automated roll-over and health monitoring has allowed Puntalyser to take full advantage of excess hardware across AWS resulting in 80%+ reductions in latest generation dedicated server hardware cost.
An automated set of rules sits on top of the Elastigroup cluster and is responsible for tracking the IO and CPU resources required by the system with resource allocation automatically scaled down to the minimum required when not in use, and scaled up within a few minutes once the server requires additional resources. This significantly cuts down on I/O and therefore costs produced due to idle hardware with the Puntalyser product mostly running on Wednesdays and Saturday rather then 24/7.
Segment Driven EDMs:
All customer and sales data is now synced with ActiveCampaign, allowing for the automation segmentation of customer marketing strategies by metrics such as location, lifetime value, time since last purchase and cart abandonment.
This opens the door for significant increases in revenue off the basis of automated and semi-automated marketing strategies including newsletter integrations and triggered checkout abandonment campaigns.
All major social media pixels have been integrated with a custom script to provide eCommerce feedback and easily trackable ROI on marketing spend.
Content Driven Strategy
Puntalyser is well positioned to take advantage of the incredible conversion rates going forward and reduce the monthly spend on marketing by transitioning to providing a content strategy via “Punting Pro Tips” and public access to the race releases and summaries.
Transitioning to this new system will involve the design and development of several new modules to automatically output Member data to a publicly accessible area of the website under a new mini-blog area.
The addition of punter specific tools such as Bonus Bet calculators, in-depth tutorials, podcasts, eBooks and other bits of specialist knowledge will form the backbone for many parts of the new content strategy and require significant resource investment from the analyst team.
It is expected that the content strategy will begin to produce results by the end of the first quarter after launch, with consistent lead generation and revenue expected as the “ever-green” approach to content allows for marketing staff to promote articles across the newsletter and search engines continue to index the additional resources.
Continued Social Media Growth
Puntalyser is in a unique position whereby a dedicated social media budget produces an instant profit and a significant multiple of revenue against the spend. This should be an area for continued growth and improvement with a dedicated social media manager one potential strategy for continued engagement.
The continued expansion of the marketing budget should also move into different areas of testing in order to allow for a larger volume of lead generation as well as to identify areas of potential spend optimisation, with the expectation that the automated marketing funnels will continue to provide high-converting returns.
CRM Funnel Expansion
Whilst there are extensive funnels already in place – particularly with onboarding Members and contacting those who have recently cancelled – this should be further expanded to utilise the additional content generated within the blog system as a way to further improve Member knowledge about the industry and how to play the markets.
At the end of the day a large number of Members will need to improve their skills and abilities at making decisions in the market that will affect their results, so by providing this information in a clear, consistent and standardised way, it’s expected that Puntalyser will not only help to improve the bottom line for Members, but also foster good will and position itself as a strong source of in-depth niche knowledge in the market.