This Valentine's Day I shopped online, like I'm sure many of you have. I was unsure what I was looking for, but after some research I found something I liked. I went to a website after typing in my search phrase in Google and the page I landed on was nothing that I was looking for. I went to another, and another. Finally, I landed on a page that had what I was looking for, at a fair price. This retailer made the process fast and easy. They got my sale.
In this fast-paced world, delivering exactly what someone is searching for drives your business. Research shows that the first ten seconds of a web visit is critical. If you put roadblocks in front of a user, try and hoodwink them, or make them go to a page depth of three or four, or five or six on your site to find what they're looking for, you might as well put a dagger through your online business.
Scanning google trends I think this may be apparent for horse racing. This is a search index for "online horse betting"
Searchers may be more sophisticated now and don't use that term any longer, but if you scan subsets with horse racing, betting, wagering and online, the results are similar. It appears racing has a problem converting this term into a paying customer, and the customers are frustrated. Adding credibility to this, is that the lowest standardized search index for these terms are in states like Alaska and Wisconsin. Those places do not allow internet wagering.
Just like seeing an ad on TV for a Valentine's gift idea and looking for it on your iPad, if someone is watching the Kentucky Derby and wants to make a bet on the race or get more information online, quick and easy, they search for online horse betting, or online horse racing. They land on a page that is not very user friendly. It has residency requirements due to state and horsemen "home area" deals. It has roadblock after roadblock for a willing buyer. I get the sweats just thinking about it.
Fifteen or twenty years ago online businesses were finding ways to improve usability, ease of purchase, shipping issues and all the rest to ensure a smooth buying funnel. Most businesses online are still working at it today. It seems horse racing has not worked on this as much as they should have been. Perhaps that's why we're seeing frustrated potential customers not searching for horse racing betting online much anymore at all. It's not that they don't want to bet horse racing online, land on an NFL.com-type site with video and all the rest, or be a horse racing customer, it's just that they aren't shown an easy way to be a horse racing customer.