NCEL Pilot Demonstrates Impact of Modern Screens on Player Behavior – La Fleur's Lottery World (2024)

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” This oft-attributed Dr. Seuss quote encapsulates the lottery industry’s challenge at retail. Lotteries are often compared to Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs), such as gum or energy drinks. True, they sit side-by-side on the counter, fighting for attention. Yet, while often hidden in plain sight amongst magazines, gum, and candy, lottery products are fundamentally different.

“The retail marketplace continues to be increasingly competitive, especially when trying to catch the eyes of consumers,” says Terri Rose, Deputy Executive Director, Brand Management & Communications, North Carolina Education Lottery (NCEL).

She felt it was time for the Lottery to distinguish itself. So, in August 2023, in partnership with Carmanah Signs, NCEL introduced 60 dual-screen Digital Menu Boards (DMBs)—animated displays of lottery products, typically placed above and behind the point of sale.

NCEL Pilot Demonstrates Impact of Modern Screens on Player Behavior – La Fleur's Lottery World (1) NCEL Pilot Demonstrates Impact of Modern Screens on Player Behavior – La Fleur's Lottery World (2)

“Retail has become a digital media channel,” says Jason Barrs, Senior Vice President of Sales & Business Development, Carmanah Signs. “Networked digital signage driven by powerful software, such as STRATACACHE’s ActiVia Media Platform (AMP), allows us to automatically target localized messaging to any screen, anywhere. This enables lotteries to communicate complex content, including progressive jackpots, live games, localized winner info, and much more.”

“DMBs bring relevant information to lottery players in real-time, from jackpot sizes to current promotions and new Scratch-Off games,” explains Rose. “Traditional point-of-sale advertising still works great, but DMBs dynamically deliver more timely information.” For the pilot, NCEL prominently showcased lottery offerings including Scratch-Offs, Fast Play, Keno, Mega Millions, and Powerball.

Measuring Impact

To gauge the pilot’s impact, NCEL and Carmanah Signs partnered with Leger—a top North American market research company with a dedicated lottery division—to interview players in Raleigh and Charlotte. Leger conducted in-person player intercepts with an experimental group of 68 players at eight stores with DMBs, as well as a control group of 64 players at four stores without DMBs.

Awareness of the DMBs was high, and their effect on future purchase behavior was positive, leading many players to try new products and increase their overall purchases. Half of the players (49%) said the DMBs reminded them to purchase a lottery ticket. 34% of players said they were more likely to purchase lottery products in-store because of the digital displays, and 26% tried a new lottery product because it was on the DMB.

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Scratch-Offs were the most purchased product, both on the day of the player intercepts (70%) and in the past six months (88%). New Scratch-Offs that were tried because they were on the DMB included 200X the Cash, $80,000,000 Cash Blowout, Big Ol’ Bucks, and Triple 7s, among others.

“With Digital Menu Boards, you can bring a focus to the games you want to boost the most, changing the show as needed. In North Carolina, that will definitely be Scratch-Offs. We will continue focusing on our most popular product line,” Rose says.

Players at stores with DMBs also purchased a significantly higher variety of games, trying almost every terminal game more than the control group. Drilling further into the data reveals the games that performed the best. In the six months prior to the study, 24% more players purchased a Powerball ticket at DMB stores compared to the control group; 38% more players purchased a Mega Millions ticket; 15% more players purchased a Lucky for Life ticket; and 21% more players purchased a Fast Play ticket.

NCEL Pilot Demonstrates Impact of Modern Screens on Player Behavior – La Fleur's Lottery World (4)

The impact on Fast Play and similar instant terminal games (ITGs) is noteworthy. In the first quarter of 2024, ITGs generated 4.5% of U.S. lottery terminal sales and saw 12% year-over-year growth, the second highest among traditional categories. However, progressive jackpots have been notoriously difficult to advertise, especially to potential new players. DMBs address this issue by prominently featuring current progressive jackpots at the point of purchase, increasing the likelihood that players will try these games. Player intercepts showed that 24% of players at stores with DMBs tried Fast Play games in the past six months, compared to just 3% of players at stores without DMBs. That’s the difference between 1 out of ~4 players trying Fast Play games compared to 1 out of ~33!

“Fast Play is a growth category. New point-of-sale advertising approaches provide a healthy and significant return to profit for the draw-based game category,” highlights Barrs.

Improving Perception

While players had high satisfaction with the lottery purchase experience and a positive opinion of NCEL signage in general, ratings were directionally higher in DMB stores. Half of players (49%) found DMBs improved their opinion of the store.
“We learned that the players surveyed enjoyed the Digital Menu Boards, liked the design of the information, and found the big 90-inch screens hard to miss,” Rose shares.

Retailers with DMBs received an 84% positive response to lottery signage, compared to a 75% positive response for retailers without DMBs. The DMBs also performed very well in terms of design and clarity. 90% of players agreed that the information displayed was clear and easy to understand, while 88% of players agreed that the purpose of the DMBs was clear.

The NCEL’s adoption of DMBs is a perfect example of how lotteries can stand out rather than blend in. The large displays capture players’ attention, reminding them to play and diversifying game choices. They also improve players’ perceptions of both the Lottery and retailers. The capability of DMBs to inform players about new games and promote a varied lottery experience provides lottery marketers with new levers to improve sales and attract customers in an oversaturated retail environment. Or, to put it in a more Seussian way—the Lottery will shine and be one of a kind, not lost in the checkout line!

NCEL Pilot Demonstrates Impact of Modern Screens on Player Behavior – La Fleur's Lottery World (2024)

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