Gamification: How can you tap into the next trend in user engagement?

img-01by Lina Fenequito

It’s no secret that games are powerful and have the distinct ability to keep us engaged, motivated, and most importantly, to have fun. What if you could use the power of gaming to motivate and engage your audience, allowing them to voluntarily participate in promoting your company or organization’s objectives while having fun and gaining rewards? Well, welcome to the wide world of Gamification.

Gamification as an idea–using game elements and techniques and applying them to solve non-game problems– isn’t new. Companies and organizations have been incentivizing loyalty and engagement for decades now via rewards programs and contests. (I can’t count the number of hours I wasted in my youth listening to the same five songs on the radio, just so I could be the 100th caller to list “yesterday’s top 10 hits” for chance to win a trip to Hawaii!) However, with the ability of today’s network information technology to create rich, personalized and immersive experiences, and then track, aggregate and analyze them in real-time, the impact of gamification has recently reached a whole new level.

Gamification is now an emerging business practice, incorporated by companies such as Microsoft, Nike, and AXA Equitable, to name a few. There are also many social causes that have benefitted by the gamification, from education and traffic safety to sustainability.

“Striving to make everyday business tasks more engaging a growing number of firms…are incorporating elements of video games in the workplace” – The Wall Street Journal (October 10, 2011)

“Suddenly, gamification is the hot new business concept with many of the worlds most admired companies signing on” – Fortune (October 17, 2011)

Gamification uses the power of psychology, design, strategy, and technology to thoroughly understand users motivations and develop interactions that are engaging and solve problems. Here are some examples we like, in various contexts:

EXTERNAL GAMIFICATION

Gamification can be used in marketing, sales, and customer engagement. When applying game techniques to marketing strategies, results often lead to increased sales, page views and site visits, sharing via social media and more.

Club Psych – USA Network’s goal was to increase engagement on the website for Psych, one of its TV shows. They launched a fan loyalty program called Club Psych that lets users win weekly prizes by completing different challenges. To enhance Club Psych, USA launched Psych Vision, a mobile app that let users access behind-the-scenes videos, play trivia games to earn points and unlock prizes, and chat with other fans, all while watching the show. With this tie-in, USA became one of the first marketers to offer a complete “second screen” experience where fans could experience Psych not only on their TVs, but via mobile as well. Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223039#ixzz2Q5ub2HvN

The results were impressive:
• Overall traffic on the USA Network site increased by 30%
• Online merchandise sales increased 50%
• Pageviews increased 130%
• Psych content shared 300,000 times on Facebook, reaching 40 million users

INTERNAL GAMIFICATION

Gamification can be used to improve productivity among employees or motivate employees to do accomplish tasks.

The Dueprops mobile app allows you to instantly give feedback and points to everyone you work with–peers, superiors and subordinates. All interactions are backed by virtual items and rewards, and not only recognize people for their contributions, but helps companies to effectively understand and analyze their employees’ strengths and weakness.

BEHAVIOR CHANGE GAMIFICATION

Gamification can be used to nudge people to make significant changes in their everyday behavior that benefits the social good.

fold.it – The University of Washington’s Center for Game Science collaborated with the Biochemistry department and created FoldIt, an online puzzle video game about protein folding. Foldit utilizes a game-like puzzle interface that allows people from all over the world to “play” and compete in figuring out various protein structures that fit a researcher’s criteria. In 10 days, 240,000 “players” registered and competed viciously against each other, to come up with a solution for M-PMV, a crystal structure for one of the AIDS-causing viruses called the Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV) which top scientists were not able to decipher for 15 years. It was a major breakthrough in the AIDS research field…all possible through gamification. Source: http://techland.time.com/2011/09/19/foldit-gamers-solve-aids-puzzle-that-baffled-scientists-for-decade/

Safe Driving Lottery – The city of Stockholm experimented by rewarding people who adhered to speed limits by photographing their license plates as they drove by a special sign, and automatically entering them into a lottery to win money. The winnings were pooled from the tickets of speed offenders. The new system alone reduced speeds by 20% along that stretch of road.

It’s not easy, but a well-researched and thought-out gamification “game plan” applied to your company or organization’s business plan, can yield some pretty impressive results. We’d enjoy hearing from you if you’ve already started thinking about how to integrate gramification into your current goals and objectives or would like to get some more ideas on how to do so.

First one to comment gets a prize 🙂

1 comment(s)

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