Gam-i-fi-what?!?? The gamification buzzword has been thrown around frequently over the past year, yet companies might not have looked into what it means for their customer engagement and marketing strategy. Gamification can be explained as the use of points, badges, leaderboards, and other game mechanics that are applied to non-game applications. This is done in order to engage user interaction and motivate customers to invest time and, in many cases, money towards the business.
While this new trend is still somewhat unknown, it is growing rapidly. According to M2 Research, the gamification market reached $100 million last fall and is expected to grow to $2.8 billion by 2016. Similarly, Gartner Inc. predicts, “by 2014, more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one "gamified" application.”
Examples of Gamification Success
An example of the success of gamification analytics can be seen at Beat the GMAT - an online community for students who are preparing for MBA programs. Beat the GMAT enlisted Badgeville to create a gamified user experience. Once the gamification system was in place, Beat the GMAT saw a dramatic increase in social sharing and user participation. There was an increase of 1,500 comments within their social community and more than 900 community members ‘followed' their favorite schools. During this time, Beat the GMAT also increased pages-per-visit by 195 percent and time spent on site by 370 percent.
Another example of success can be seen from Nike who has implemented gamification in many creative ways through the Nike+ brand. There are mobile applications that can keep track of exercise times, run distances, and more. Users can level up as they progress. Nike+ makes it easy to see progress in exercise routines through these applications or online, through the Nike+ website. The Nike+ programs also feature social media integration, allowing the ability to share workout accomplishments and create competition with friends. Due to the implementation of these gamification techniques, the company has been able to increase brand awareness, create a larger base of fans, and expand the Nike+ program to a wide range of new products.
Tread Lightly or the Company Might Level-Down
While there is an explosion in the growth of gamification analytics, it is only something a company should approach if the company is willing to spend the time and resources to implement it properly. Forbes predicts that: “by 2014, 80 percent of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives, primarily due to poor design.” Similarly, Gartner states that: "gamification aims to inspire deeper, more engaged relationships and to change behavior, but it needs to be implemented thoughtfully… most attempts at gamification currently miss the mark, but successful and sustainable gamification can convert customers into fans…”
While the gamifaction analytics market is still in its infancy, there are a number of companies, such as Gigya, Badgeville, and Bunchball, (to name a few) which can help with implementing a gamification analytics approach. If done correctly, gamification can create a compelling experience that may lead to an increase of usable analytic data. If a company is able to create a compelling gamification experience, it will be able to determine what user behaviors align with their business objectives, measure existing performance around these behaviors, and carefully track ROI.
Enjoy the Game
In a digital world that can often be conformist, people haven’t lost the urge to create a strong personal identity online. Gamification is a powerful enabler of goal-oriented change that can lead to strong interaction and customer loyalty.
For those wanting to learn more about Gamification here are a few links where you can learn more:
- Social Media Examiner - http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/26-elements-of-a-gamification-marketing-strategy/
- White paper - Gamification 101
- Video - Fun is the future
- Analyst perspective - Gartner Predicts Over 70% penetration of Gamification by 2014
- Short, thought provoking film that stretches the ethical limits of Gamification called: Sight