SEO: Declining poker sector means search market evolving towards Twitch and social

27 April 2016

The online poker sector is evolving into new formats, as shown by the numbers following the game on Twitch and market leader PokerStars releasing new variants in an effort to attract new players.

Poker affiliates can look at these trends and adapt them to address the relevant target audience, writes Alex Humphries of Blueclaw.  

"We start by looking at the search trends around poker and online poker phrases, which attract an average monthly search volume of 33,100 and 6,600 respectively. It turns out that both phrases follow a similar downward trend over the same period of time, as previously highlighted in our article back in October 2015

 

At the time, we found that this was not as a result of people searching for particular games such as Texas Hold’em, and neither was it as a result of a shift towards mobile. 

However we did discover that there was a rising interest in new variants of the game such as ‘sit and go’ games, and looking at the top keywords it seems that once more there is a new offering which is grabbing attention.

Highlighted in blue, ‘social poker’ providers such as Zynga are making up a fair proportion of the searches. Could this suggest that players are moving away from the traditional method in favour of playing on social networks or on apps?

This is a possibility, however also noticeable in the top 100 keywords is the number of operators mentioned. This could suggest that there is still an audience for 'traditional' poker platforms, even if users have preferred operators.

Having said this it appears that these searches are considerably down compared with their 2011 peak, according to the graph below.

Moving away from keywords, and returning to alternative methods of engaging with poker, it is interesting to find that searches for poker being broadcast on Twitch TV have soared since 2013.

As the methods in which people interact with the game of poker change and evolve, as indicated by the amount of searches for social games, surely it can only be a matter of time before operators realise they can’t rely on traditional distribution and marketing channels any longer, and have to move with the times. 

One example of this could be PokerStars’ Apple TV offering, which live streams the PokerStars.tv service, offering coverage of various PCA, EPT and PokerStars events and competitions from around the world.

This shows initiative on PokerStars’ part, as there’s a huge potential audience for operators in new mediums and technology. The brand has gone beyond simply being a publisher and is a broadcaster. 

In turn, this will provide new opportunities for affiliates, which they will no doubt welcome with the 'traditional' platforms for poker in such decline.