Any good statistician would tell you that gambling is a waste of time and money. Lets face it, you have a better chance of being struck by lightening while being hit by a car than you do of winning a lotto jackpot. Despite this knowledge, the thought of walking away with hundreds of millions of dollars is just so alluring! As many of you know, I succumbed to the draw of the lottery last spring when the Mega Millions jackpot reached record highs. I am glad to report that I successfully resisted trying my luck at the most recent mind-bogglingly large Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots ($314 and $330 Million, respectively). (I wonder what the odds are of both national game jackpots reaching over the $300 Million mark!) But just because I overcame my urge, did not mean that others across the country followed suit, as can be seen by traffic to megamillions.com and powerball.com. Much like my previous lottery blog, I looked at traffic to the Mega Millions and Powerball homepages relative to the jackpot sizes.
Not surprisingly, traffic to each site jumped the day after each lottery drawing as people scrambled to check if they had become millionaires over night. Since these two jackpot streaks occurred almost simultaneously, I compare site traffic to see if one game was more popular than other.
In terms of volume, the Powerball game attracted more share of visitors than the Mega Millions game. At first glace, it also appears that "the day after" effect was greater for Powerball that it was for Mega Millions. However, the opposite is true if you look at the percent change in visitor share using the first day of the jackpot streak as the baseline measurement (July 10 for megamillions.com and July 6 for powerball.com)
The overall rate of change in Mega Millions’ share was about 60% larger than Powerball’s. This indicates that Powerball has a larger base of regular player, where as Mega Millions is better able to attract new players when the jackpot value climbs high. This is even more impressive when you keep in mind that Powerball is played in 29 states where as Mega Millions is only played in 12. That probably means a lot of people traveled to a different states in order to purchase a Mega Millions ticket. But that begs the question"¦could Mega Millions overtake Powerball as the largest multi-state lottery if it expanded into more states? Perhaps, and just think about how that would increase the jackpot size!
Debra Miller Arbesman is senior associate, retailer and consumer products at Compete, a Kantar Media company that helps brands improve their marketing based on the online behavior of millions of consumers.