All That You Need to Know About Gamification

Posted on May 4, 2012 by Danie Moller

Gamification is a technique being used across a large number of products and websites we interact with every day.

By using games mechanics, Gamification is primarily used for marketing purposes with the aim of driving public engagement with products, services or processes which are not traditionally related to the games field and influencing audience behaviour by showing a path to mastery, helping to solve problems, and taking advantage of human’s susceptibility to take part and react to fun activities.

Brands, and in particular the big players, are integrating game mechanics into their products and online functions in unique and compelling ways, all with the purpose of driving user engagement. Others look to encourage people to perform tasks they would normally avoid such as reading websites and completing surveys.


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In the simplest form, the trade-offs for engaging these gaming techniques are rewards such as vouchers and special deals. For example, Starbucks, the coffee chain, which incorporated game mechanics into their popular loyalty program. By incorporating multiple levels and associated rewards and perks per level with a progression tracker, users were enticed to continually engage with the brand.

Earlier examples of this type of Gamification are based on rewarding points to people who share experiences on location-based platforms such as Gowalla, the “Place” feature on Facebook and Foursquare. Users can unlock badges; receive special offers and rewards such as discounts to specific retailers while also tracking against friends via a leader board. Another technique involves embedding small casual games within other activities. DevHub, the free  site, has increased the number of users completing their online tasks from 10% to 80%, by “gamifying” their service. To keep up with the rewards and ensure you don’t fall behind your competing friends, a simple Facebook download or the app to the other participating platforms to your device will suffice.

Gamification has been used by marketers and website product managers as a tool for customer engagement, and encouraging desirable website usage behavior. A number of products and services organisations have incrementally been using gamification as a technique to promote their brands and acquire customer data. High levels of engagement on social media sites have facilitated this task, with companies using prizes, rewards, information and levels of status as ways to entice followers into participation.

Gamification has also been making an appearance in the enterprise industry as a workforce engagement, motivational and a management tool. Staff who are loyal and who are willing to voluntarily promote the business they work for has long been a key marketing strategy, however it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve with each passing year. But through gamification, the current generation has acquired an ingrained culture of having clearly defined goals but maximum flexibility in how to achieve them. It is clear recruiters, HR and marketing function within large businesses will increasingly turn to social gaming to train and communicate with staff, increase productivity and loyalty and ultimately drive brand value.

Gamification is progressively being adopted in almost all aspects of life. Whether beneficial to us or purely manipulative, it is practically impossible to get away from it and leads to the thought: is life just becoming one big game?

About Danie Moller

Danie Moller is a Technology journalist from London. A geek at heart who loves everything related to mobile and gadgets. He is quite fond of the flying spaghetti monster.

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