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July 31, 2017

What is Gamification and how it can help your business?

Gamification is a term that’s been around a while but hasn’t quite hit the mainstream. A lot of brands use it internally and even externally but few end users realize what’s happening. We’re going to do a deep dive into Gamification and highlight some of its Key Features that can help your business learn from and consider its implementation.

What is Gamification?

If you’ve never heard of it and are thinking it must have something to do with “games”, then you’re not too far off. Gamification is the incorporation of game mechanics into already existing applications. Bringing video game-style progression into real-life scenarios was nothing short of genius. When you’re playing a game, you keep getting rewarded every time a task is completed and you’re able to track all your accomplishments, failures, skills, etc.

Suppose I have an application that helps you lose weight, by giving you tips and keeping track of your weight. This alone would be fine. But, it would be even better, if I reward you with points each time you lost a significant amount of weight. Along with points you’re treated to a variety of statistics. It doesn’t just stop there. Video games are highly visual platforms so a highly colorful and dynamic environment is created that demands your attention more so. Now add in a social component where you can “play” against friends by competing on who loses more weight and gets in more exercise and you’ve got a fully gamified application.

Gamification amplifies the outcome of an existing application.

Key Features

1.    Treat users differently based on experience

It is important to implement multiple experiences for each user, during different periods of their lifecycle. The more a user gets used to your app, your app should treat them differently, like making it more complex. A user is able to “level up” within the application so that they are made aware of their progression within your “game”.

Let’s take Candy Crush’s example: you begin with simple levels so that you definitely win. Once you’re really into the game, the difficulty begins to rise with the level. The difficulty of each level has a delicate correlation with the user’s interest. Too challenging may drive a user away, too easy and it may get boring.

2.    Reward users for key actions

There may be a select number of actions you really want your user to interact with. Incentivize those actions with rewards so they feel encouraged and know that they are progressing. Rewards can be in almost any form. Humans are prone to act positively to any form of reward, regardless of how insignificant it may be.

In games, you get rewarded with random loot or extra health. Such rewards happen on a regular basis and each individual reward is usually insignificant but it undoubtedly created a positive feel for the player and urges them to keep chasing a higher reward. When you buy something from Souq.com, they tend to throw in Clear Trip vouchers and other vouchers that you may or may not use but the feeling of getting something “extra” for “free” creates positive emotion, bringing the customer back to the website.

3.    Rewards as currency

Rewarding currency for each action that can eventually be used to purchase/unlock a larger prize is the oldest trick in the book. You can provide certain resources in limited quantity so a user is only able to take an action they really need to when that resource is available.

Dating app Tinder, awards its users with a limited number of Super Likes every 24 hours with which the user can indicate an extra interest in someone. A simple microtransaction allows you more or unlimited Super Likes.

4.    Make them owners

In Farmville, players are given a farm where they plant various crops. Playing the game for a few days gives them a feeling that they are owners of the farm. Work done on each farm feels like a tangible investment. That keeps bringing them back. Though this feel is short-lived with most players, the most successful games devise new ways at every turn to entice and bring players back.

5.    Introduce a social platform

Competition is the cornerstone of humanity’s growth and success. Pit people against each other in friendly battle or brutal rivalry and watch them shine like never before. Not only does the competition help each user do better, but it also keeps them wanting to come back to the application to do better than they did before.

In Clash of Clans, various gamers are grouped into clans to plan their strategy of attack and also compete against opponents. In My FitnessPal users get to share their meals, nutrients consumed, gym performance, and weight loss. Connect it to Facebook and you can see the same of all your friends sparking fierce competition to continuously wanting to outdo the others.

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