People like playing games more than they like doing chores.
This premise has formed the foundation of the marketing movement that’s been sweeping the online world since 2010: gamification.
The definition of gamification
(noun) the application of game-like elements to non-game activities in order to increase user engagement with a product or service.
Simply put, gamification is a way of getting people to do the things you want them to do by turning the process of doing those things into a fun, game-like experience. Think Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar, with a competitive edge.
Gamification leverages our naturally competitive natures and our desire for recognition, status and achievement, amongst other things. To do this, simple game mechanics are used. These include:
While virtual rewards are the most common, real-world rewards are also used to incentivise engagement. These can take the form of discounts, vouchers, or even elite experiences relating to your brand. Examples include frequent flyer programs and supermarket loyalty cards.
By creating a platform that allows users to engage with and/or compete with a like-minded community, and rewarding desirable actions, businesses can not only develop brand loyalty, but also drive specific behaviour and collect valuable data.
The benefits of gamification vary greatly depending on the application and industry. Some examples include:
It’s not all just a marketing ploy – gamification can have some great benefits for users as well as for businesses. They include:
One of the most well-known examples of gamification is Foursquare, who launched their social network in 2009 with the goal of turning “life into a game” by rewarding users for “checking in” to real-world venues. Using points, badges, and achievements (like becoming “Mayor”), Foursquare became an unexpectedly large success, growing from 50,000 users to 50,000,000 users in just a few years.
Their unforeseen success ultimately caused the breakdown of their own game mechanics due to sheer numbers of users, but not before they convinced people around the world of the power and potential of gamification.
Gamification can be an invaluable tool, but it needs careful thought and clever design to really succeed.
Here are a few things to think about if you’re planning to gamify your website:
Refresh has recently joined forces with an experienced gamification partner, and are proud to add gamification consulting, design and development to our list of services.
Give us a call if you’d like to brainstorm ideas for a new project, or gamify your existing online offering. We can help throughout the process of researching, designing and implementing your gamification strategy.