Ask the Expert

10/26/2011

- Deb Griffith, Corporate Marketing Manager

Q. What is Gamification? And how can it be used for my business?

A. Gamification is an engagement tool utilized to create fun customer experiences that generally drive additional visits or actions to a web or mobile site or even into a brick-and-mortar establishment. The purpose of this “sticky” activity is to build brand awareness, collect user data and stimulate repeat visits or behaviors like sharing information to social networks.

Earning badges, collecting points or becoming a Mayor are just some of the rewards a consumer can attain when engaged in Gamification. Probably the most popular application now is geolocation-based Foursquare that provides special deals, and rewards customers for check-ins, primarily when at restaurants or retailers. Foursquare also offers the option for users to broadcast their whereabouts so that they can connect with other friends nearby.

The concept of Gamification can also be extended to activities like scavenger hunts, following a fitness or diet routine using an online app or even having a progress bar on your website to encourage full member profile completion. Any achievement-based idea can be easily turned into a game when utilizing the Gamification mechanics of creating a challenge and dispensing rewards and there are many white-labeled services to help you build an activity that fits for your business.

As an example, the USA Network created “Club Psyche”, an online clubhouse that encourages visitors to become loyal fans of the show Psyche by sharing something on the site such as a game or video, or taking a poll and earning reward points. Page view activity increased 130% and return visits rose by 40% after implementing these activities.

Gamification usually works best for consumer based businesses or websites, where the individual will be motivated to win or achieve something. That said, a long-time favorite of trade show organizers was to implement a Passport or Bingo type game to encourage show attendees to physically visit participating exhibitors, thus providing the opportunity for engagement. These have become more interactive today as well.

So think about who your audience is and how they might promote or engage with your brand. From there you’re only limited by your creativity!

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