Turning Processes into Games
From toddlers enamoured with their iPads games to adults playing poker, we’ve all got a deeply ingrained instinct to achieve something – this innate drive has been cleverly exploited by the gaming industry moguls, and for good reason too. USD$ 18.4 billion – that is the value of the video game market in 2017 in just the U.S. according to Statista. Verto reports 99% of mobile app users engage in social media and at least 57% play mobile games (1.15 billion hours). Ford Motors’ sales went up by more than USD$8 million and boosted Facebook likes by 600% because of gamification. What does that tell you? Why, to gamify your interactions with potential leads, of course! Though gamification itself and the thought process surrounding it is still morphing, here’s what we have gathered:
Defining Gamification: An Amateur’s Walkthrough
So, the thing about content nowadays? – Consumers would rather experience something than just scroll through it. And that’s where gamification comes into play; by latching onto a visitors’ curiosity and then engaging with them in a game, you’re laying down the groundwork for successful conversions. In other words, when you apply the ‘fun’ mechanics of a game (activity structures, visible achievements and competition) in any non-game context, especially as leverage to amplify success metrics, that is the essence of gamification.
Happn – a French social app engages with their flighty users by using a guessing game called CrushTime – they must guess who has a crush on them and it encourages them to spend more time on the service and even subscribe, as there is a daily limit to the number of tries. Good ol’ McDonalds has long been attracting a crowd (especially families) by including a playground within their compounds and the seasonal activities they introduce (monopoly, colouring sheets, word puzzles – even including a collectable toy in a child’s happy meal). And it works too: after adding gamification elements, DevHub mentioned an increase in the number of users that completed their online tasks from 10% to 80%. Wikipedia shares that generally, with marketing, gamification comes under four primary categories:
Brandification: a.k.a. advertising within a game, relying on the said game’s visual counterparts to inject interest.
Transmedia: narratives or projects displayed across multiple platforms.
Through-the-line (TTL) & Below-the-line (BTL): iFrames a.k.a. advertising texts or images above, side, or below the main game screen.
Advergames: Basically, what you get when you modify popular game templates and then integrate them into your system via platforms to promote brands, products and services.
Designing Gamification: Redistributing stats and unlocking achievements
Adjusting your behaviour or completing a task that bequeaths you a reward is a rudimentary game system that has been ingrained into us long before we fully understood it as children. The gamifying methodology has been applied to a myriad of aspects in our lives and when used in marketing, it has proven to be especially profitable and prevents banner blindness (when one consciously or unconsciously ignores information on banner-like structures). To encourage students to spend more time on the website learning (as it is the goal for them), Khan Academy devised a badge system. This rating structure recognizes the work students put into completing a lesson and gives them a sense of achievement – bragging rights of a sort.
With the bounty of technology, gamification has so many possibilities that can be segmented to fit your marketing strategy. One of the more common games that you’ve probably come across is the ‘spin-to-win’ wheel where the purveyor can control the winning factors – the psychology behind this is that if they’ve won a promotion, they’re more likely to consider purchasing something. This can be a physical wheel at fairs or a digital one on a designated platform. Or amp up the experience even further by employing the use of augmented reality, interactive videos and even virtual reality.
Delivering Gamification: The META players
OptinMonster has summed up aptly the six phases when gamification is a hit: awareness, consideration, preference, purchase, loyalty and the best part: advocacy. We’ve covered what gamification is and how to implement it after segmenting the audiences. Let’s have a look at a success story, the Nike + Fuelband. The fitness tracker displayed statistics to their users, driving their sense of accomplishment with immediate feedback if they’ve hit a goal and empowers them. Another great gamifying factor is the social dimension which has without a doubt helped to grow the awareness of Nike’s Fuelband (advocacy at work) and perpetuates a deeper momentum among users with its leader boards. Though the bands were eventually discontinued, the ‘game’ has fortified Nike’s brand as the epitome of fitness.
Bunchball, a stronghold in the gamification world reports that their customers (including Warner Bros., Victoria’s Secret) have seen an 80% increase in blog traffic from social media, a 45% incline in website traffic and a 57% rise in internal social network activity.
Deciding Gamification: Useful support, not a main player
While exploiting the competitive nature of today’s consumers by motivating them to complete tasks for rewards will aid in lead conversions, it’s not a cure for engagement ills. “Only if motivation is the issue, can gamification be a legitimate way of influencing behaviour,” says user-experience researcher, Sebastian Deterding. He points out that when implemented seamlessly, the design patterns can better intrinsic motivation (as opposed to extrinsic motivation) turning a possible fad into a useful long-term strategy for boosting consumer engagement.