What is gamification?
Gamification is the introduction of game elements (Game mechanics) into non-game contexts. Gamification is about adding a new dimension to digital environments and applications with the goal of boosting participation. This is accomplished with the use of intrinsic motivations to inspire users to become involved, make more effort and stay engaged. Positive values that are common to the world of gameplay.
What is not gamification?
There is a common misconception thatgamification is merely the introduction of arcade and HTML5 games to a branded website and that the whole concept revolves around an entertainment hook. This misconception is further compounded by the actual term ‘Gamification’ which almost certainly doesn’t help the cause.
Although there are games present in gamification they are but one element of the bigger picture, perhaps the following examples of other gamification elements at work will help dispel the arcade game myths around what is fast becoming an essential business tool:
-Stars for sellers on eBay:
By adding a star rating to eBay sellers and buyers alike were motivated to earn a good reputation. Let’s concentrate on the sellers. 5 stars to a seller means more sales. Buyers have endorsed and championed the seller as having good service, quick delivery, competitive prices, good communication and quality goods. Sellers had to earn this rating by behaving in exactly the way eBay wanted them to. The system once implemented became totally automated and a seller falling short of the mark and losing good reputation has the added impact of losing buyer confidence. This is a perfect example of one simple aspect of gamification providing a business with the power to influence user behavior.
-Progress Bar on LinkedIn:
The more information housed in a LinkedIn members profile the higher the value of the overall network. Information is key. LinkedIn introduced the ‘Progress Bar’ as a means of nudging on members to complete their profiles. The impact was immediate, the quick progress at the beginning urged users towards 100% as it felt easily achievable and once on the journey nobody likes to stop their progress . Linkedin then added levels and graded them based on profile strength. The results are evident, LinkedIn possesses a wealth of information on individuals and as such is a very useful resource to the business community. A gamification element that successfully encouraged users to share personal information, or put another way, changed user behavior and influenced business outcomes.
So what Gamification is not, is just games. What gamification actually does is provide any business with the capability to bring about better performance from employees and customers alike. It’s about generating hard ROI for your business through a deeper connection, bond and influence with users. It leads to stronger loyalty and an increased lifetime value. Every business knows that repeat custom is the Holy Grail because it’s cheaper. Repeat custom is on average 6 times cheaper in fact, so enabling your customers to connect with your brand and become loyal is paramount to both short and long term business success.
How gamification works?
Introducing game mechanics to your business is quick and simple.
Adding game mechanics and gamifying high-value activities… allows marketers and managers alike to boost user interaction and drive more sales, content consumption and activity.
Integrating Gamification is not about re-inventing the wheel. it’s not even about creating something from the ground up. It is about amplifying the effect of an existing, core experience, by applying the motivational techniques that make games so engaging. It’s about making people feel special and rewarded for having spent time with your brand.
Adding game mechanics and gamifying high-value activities for customers and/or employees… allows marketers and managers alike to boost user interaction and drive more sales, content consumption and activity. It raises frequency and recency levels and adds a fun aspect where there once existed only a formal purchase transaction for example.
What are game mechanics?
Game mechanics are rules, mechanisms or actions that serve to transform any activity into a fun and deeper, more meaningful experience. This is accomplished using a set of key gamification elements such as points, levels, quests, leaderboards, badges, etc., that serve to increase user engagement and motivation
Here are some key game elements that boost user interaction in any digital space:
- Points: (Score Units) These are a numeric identification that can be used to reward users for their activity, participation, behaviour and goals achieved. Points can also be used as a status indicator. They can be used to unlock new content or redeemed for goods and gifts in the market place. Users love being rewarded and they love to win. Points are appealing to everyone. Whatever their rationale be it purely winning, exchanging or even stockpiling for a splurge, points have a very wide appeal as a motivational force.
- Levels: These provide a ramp for users to climb. levels facilitate more recognition for users achievements and their accumulation of points and goals. They are also a tool to maintain ongoing interest as each level-up can have it’s very own unique rewards and points structure, always something new to discover. Sharing a level-up on social media is a status statement for the user but more than this it is access to new users as exposure in each individual user social channel is achieved.
- Ranking: Also known as leaderboards are a classification system that recognises and promotes user commitment and activity levels. Rankings also allow users to know how they are doing compared to other users. This way competitive spirit surfaces and influences activity levels. This mechanic provides an aspirational desire, a sense of status and self-realization when users see their name above others. leaderboards are very versatile and can be:
Reset daily, weekly, monthly or since ever.
Multiple leaderboards to segment different types of user.
Setup to display people connected to your user profile or all users.
Setup to only display 10 above and 10 below for a dynamic ever updating display.
- Badges: Perhap the most recognizable gamification feature, They are employed to recognize the achievement of a goal. A badge is an element that acknowledges specific benchmarks (as predefined by the brand). Badges are like a floating reward system that can be used to confirm progress, surprise, delight and even trigger a level-up out of the blue. Badges reinforce a sense of progression as they are “Official Recognition” for the user directly from the brand. They are also, if managed properly another great opportunity to get the user sharing in social channels again.
- Quests: Also known as missions. Quests are a sequence of actions used to drive user behaviour and accomplish specific goals. Quests can accomplish things that individual activities sometimes fail to. When more registrations to a loyalty program is the brand goal this action can be arranged as step 3 of a 4 step quest for example. The act of registering, for the user, is less about registering and more about completing the mission.
- Direct Prizes: These are rewards that are delivered directly to the user as a result of performing very specific actions. Direct prizes are generally associated with higher value activities like spending over $1,000.00 or signing up to a new credit card, for example. They can also be triggered randomly to add an element of surprise and delight which once shared in social channels will trigger the interest and participation of new users.
- Games: The definition of a game is ‘Structured Play”. We, humans that is, are all pre-disposed to playing games. From eating an airplane instead of food as a child to Mario Bros as a teen and on to completing our profile on LinkedIn and leaving feedback on eBay. We follow the schemes, we do our best to get to the end and we like to win.
These elements are tried and tested, they each perform very effectively to engage customers and influence their behavior. Gamification is the ability to tie all these game elements together into one engaging and coherent thread that consumers are happy to follow.
Below is a breakdown of a typical gamified activity:
The newly rewarded user is encouraged to stay and play as they are propelled towards the next action or quest.
User is introduced to a compelling call to action.
User performs an action.
The action triggers the system.
The user receives feedback (Reward, Points, Badge etc…)
The Military have been using gamification to motivate and make loyal soldiers for many years, think stripes, promotions, teams, competitions, medals and so on. What greater loyalty is there?
The US military is heavily into gamification and layering game principals over mundane tasks, they know how to leverage it to get results. They have successfully used digital gamification to boost recruitment and onboarding with their “America’s Army” program since 2008. The success they saw led them to introducing another scheme in 2016 which gamifies parts of soldier training.
What is gamification in business?
The point of game mechanics is to create fun and engaging user experiences but from a business point of view each and every action has a purpose. They are are a tool to prompt and then drive users into behaviors that have positive outcomes for the business. That’s the beauty and value proposition of gamification.
As is the generally disruptive non-typical nature of most technical innovation, in order to get the required results from gamification you must begin at the end. Beginning with the desired outcome your business wishes to achieve, the game mechanics can be reverse engineered in order to influence and then guide the user to performing the actions or quests that will achieve your goals.
Game mechanics can be used to help users discover the value in your product. Users can be gently nudged into learning about your product, they can learn about it’s value and it’s power to improve their life. It can in short help them make their purchase decision. Once they have bought into the product, they have bought into the brand. Gamification can now be used to cross-sell, introduce them to new products, get their feedback, have them post a review or rating which will all help them on their journey to becoming a loyal repeat customer.
This is not a game… but users performing actions
Most businesses realize that innovation in their online media will help continue to grow their brand, consumer base and market share. The process of looking for new ways to create deeper engagement with users is never ending.
Gamification techniques are currently being applied to customer engagement and retention, employee loyalty and performance, training and education, innovation management, personal development, sustainability, health and wellness, sales…. and the list continues to grow.
With organizations becoming evermore focused on business objectives and efficiency, gamification can help make the workplace more engaging and productive. It means an organization can change the rules of engagement and inspire employees to adapt to new positive behaviors as a result.
In the digital world gamification can package motivation into an app or device and scale it to engage an audience of any size at very low cost.
Adding a gamification strategy to any brand’s digital space will allow registered users to begin collecting badges, points and rewards that will lead to more purchases. They can see other user activity and measure their performance against other users in the rankings. Why wouldn’t any brand want to engage with their consumers in the this way?
Transforming passive audiences into willing participants
As mentioned earlier It’s 6-7 times more cost-effective to keep a loyal customer than to acquire a new one and brands know it. The Insurance industry is acutely aware of this as new customers are actually 8 times more expensive to sell to than a repeat.
Gamification can build customer loyalty by providing incentives for return-visits in the form of rewards and recognition. It allows the brand to engage in a deeper way with the audience which permits the brand a heavier impact on their attention.
Gamification strategy is a guiding thread that helps brands to achieve their goals by leading users on a journey that aligns perfectly with desired outcomes. The Infographic below defines an onboarding quest using FunBound’s widgets.It provides a nice visual of the simultaneous results and experiences of user and brand.
The creation of a unique experience. The dynamic and vibrant layer that is added to a branded digital space when gamification arrives not only adds novelty and surprise to the user experience but it makes the brand stand out and makes it unique among the competition.
Take a look at the examples below:
Consum’s challenge with Consum: Danone, a multinational food-products corporation, wanted to launch a campaign to familiarize users with their products on a Consum’s environment. Its goal was to increase participants purchases by a 20%. Danone challenged customers to play new games each day to win prizes while they discovered new content about the products and the brand itself.
Consum - Hooptap Retail Customer Story
You can add fun to your strategy, provide new experiences for users each day with branded games: arcade, quizzes and trivia, mental and social skills, multimedia.
Cbeebies want to stimulate the children’s creativity with educative games that encourage their development, help children expanding their vocabulary and building a basic understanding of math, science, art, music and interpersonal skills, such as friendship and teamwork, while they play with their digital friends. Take a look at the gamification project in this video:
Cbeebies - Game Mechanics
Let’s not forget the ability for gamification to harness social channels. Brand visibility is boosted by the use of game mechanics that stimulate social behaviour. Mechanics that compel users to perform special actions such as voting, liking, posting, sharing, reviewing or challenging one another in order to be rewarded while brands gain visibility and recognition.
See this gamification example: Radlerluya, a gamified app by Heineken based on gamification in order to achieve the brand’s goal and promote the product on a fun, rewarding way.
The app was based on the game “hit the moles”, but completely customized to the look and feel of Radler. Users had 10 levels to complete which were exponentially more challenging. In each of these levels, users had different landscapes but always the same goal: tapping on a specific figure in order to earn points.
Radlerluya - Game APP
Users are constantly motivated through rewards so deliver them points, badges, prizes, promotions… This allows to attract and maintain their interest and maximize the return of investment. See this gamification example: Travel Club “Megapuntos”
Travel Club - Megapuntos City
FunBound: applying Gamification to business
FunBound leverages the power of gamification to create engaging marketing. It is a blend of innovation and engagement techniques integrated seamlessly across mobile and web. FunBound methodology creates a vibrant and meaningful user journey where brand goals can be achieved.
It fuses innovation, game mechanics, technology, psychology, engagement techniques and of course… FUN.
Funbound is transforming business models by creating new ways to extend relationships and drive customer loyalty. Retailers, brands and media companies are looking to improve their customer relationship and engagement levels.
FunBound aims to impact users in several ways: Improving their purchase decision processes, making it easier for them to get what they want, at the best price. Keeping them up to date in real-time, making them aware of where and who brands are by helping them recognise the value in the brand.
All the previous gamification examples applied FunBound methodology to accelerate customer conversion. What FunBound does:
It identifies brand goals to define the gamification strategy and scheme.
It creates actions to influence user interaction towards achieving these goals.
It rewards customer participation generating motivation and surprise.
The statistics module tracks and analyzes scheme performance in real time.
Hooptap’s FunBound solution works for any company that has a community on its site. We work with each client to define a program that will drive key business metrics and positive user behavior, using our game mechanics, fun and analytics.
It provides the ability to create a vibrant brand-consumer dynamic, it is both engaging and reciprocal. FunBound is a two-way communication loop that opens the door to a world of new engagement and loyalty strategies.
We have seen how our clients have increased shares, comments, and greater time spent on their websites by implementing points and rewards systems.
FunBound Solution includes Hooptap software that can reward anything you can track digitally. We help brands and web managers in all verticals drive up traffic and increase repeated engaged visits to their band’s web and mobile destinations. Recency and frequency are a key focus.
There is no magic in gamification, it uses the same motivational techniques that have been around for centuries. Building self-esteem and reinforcing it with peer recognition is a powerful means of unlocking motivation. We just updated it to be effective in the digital world we now inhabit.
We believe in the power of game mechanics to motivate people:
-Visit a point of sale: Turn boring tasks into fun challenges for your users. Give them clues and let them discover secret places where they can win amazing prizes: your stores!
-Rewards: Use rewards to engage users, promote the purchase of your products, perform cross selling actions and boost visits to your point of sale.
-Website Traffic: Ask questions and hide items that your users will have to find by exploring your website, make it a challenge so they will invite their friends.
-E-commercer: Enable a virtual point of sale directly on your users’ devices. Offer the possibility of purchasing the product shown in the app, directly from their smartphones.
-Social media: Spread the word! Users can share their experience, play with and against other users, follow social conversations and chat inside your app.
-Exclusive Content: Show a new commercial, characters’ bio, related curiosities or any article or information that complements your user’ experience.
-Launch a Product: Launch or promote any product in a fun way! The user will get to know it and become familiar with it by playing with it. Increase consumer trials with offers and promotions assigned to specially customized games in the app.
-Feedback: Let your audience participate actively in your content and obtain instant feedback, know your consumers preferences, demographics and target them with a bespoke experience from within the systems segmentation module.
“A brand that captures the heart of a customer earns his engagement”
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected 'http' (T_STRING) in /usr/home/hooptap.com/web/wp-content/plugins/cta/classes/class.cta.render.php(794) : eval()'d code on line 1
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected 'http' (T_STRING) in /usr/home/hooptap.com/web/wp-content/plugins/cta/classes/class.cta.render.php(794) : eval()'d code on line 1