PokerStars was already the world’s largest poker site, dominating most markets in which the Amaya-owned website competes.
But there’s always room to grow, and PokerStars’ latest marketing campaign seems to be drawing even more players into their virtual poker room.
According to figures on PokerScout.com, PokerStars’ main, global website is now averaging 15,500 cash game players over the course of the past week.
Analysis by Poker Industry Pro says that this represents an 8.6 percent increase in traffic since a month ago, before PokerStars began their latest advertising blitz.
The new marketing campaign was designed to target a wide range of people from around the world, with PokerStars finding perhaps the best names and faces to accomplish that task: two of international soccer’s biggest superstars.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona FC’s Neymar Jr. were at the center of a series of ads that debuted on Facebook about a month ago and a promotional effort that began shortly after.
Neymar and Ronaldo have worldwide appeal amongst soccer fans, and both were signed to sponsorship deals by PokerStars earlier this year.
It stood to reason that the poker site would use them in a big way, and the nature of that plan became apparent in early August.
That’s when previews of new advertisements starring the two players were shown on their Facebook feeds.
Combined, the two have more than 157 million Facebook fans, making that the perfect way to launch what is being called the site’s most ambitious marketing effort ever.
“This is the biggest PokerStars marketing campaign in history,” said Rational Group Interim CEO Michael Hazel when the previews were released. “Both videos show how each of the stars love the game of poker in their own unique way. The vast numbers of fans who engage with both stars make Facebook a great platform to reach a big audience.”
Given the nature of the campaign, it would stand to reason that PokerStars would see the biggest gains in areas where soccer is the most popular.
And while it’s impossible to break down the company’s traffic in every country, looking at a few of the segregated markets in which it operates appears to bear this theory out.
In Spain, where both Neymar and Ronaldo play their club soccer, the promotional efforts began on August 3 and have produced a 20 percent increase in cash game traffic since then.
In Italy, cash game traffic is up nearly 30 percent, enough to make PokerStars.it the largest ring-fenced regulated poker site in the world.
In France, the gains have not been quite as dramatic.
However, that may be due to the fact that the promotion only began there on August 24; despite this, cash game traffic is already up about five to ten percent just over a week later.
The advertising campaign has been paired with the Dream Team Collection promotion, in which players on PokerStars can unlock portraits of Ronaldo, Neymar, and Ronaldo Nazario by completing tasks on the site.
By doing so, players can earn prizes including tickets to tournaments and cash rewards, as well as the potential chance to play in a $1 million shootout tournament.