There are so many trends that are starting to take action in social media. From location based services to content curation, it seems like there is no realm that has not been touched. One of the biggest trends making their way through this storm is Gamification. What is it exactly and why is all of a sudden so popular? Gamification is the application of gaming techniques to non-gaming applications with the main purpose of increasing engagement and creating buzz within a community. Their sudden rise in popularity is due to 3 things:
- Rewards: Users of gamification services love receiving awards (both digital and physical) for doing what they enjoy
- Brand Awareness/Marketing: Companies and businesses are starting to realize the sense of power that can come with adding a gamification aspect to their product or service
- Engagement in Communities: Gamification allows people to rally around one common interest, share their ideas and opinions on it, and retain the knowledge that they want to about a topic that they enjoy.
One of the main aspects of this trend that seems to really peak people’s interests is the concept of getting rewards for doing things that they love. Whether it’s a sticker from GetGlue or receiving a discount on an appetizer at a local restaurant from Foursquare, audiences have become more intrigued by the idea of gamification because it adds a sense of accomplishment to the experience. These rewards don’t have to be a badge or a set of stickers that you receive in the mail. There are different forms of rewards that can suit anyone’s needs:
- Points – This is something that most people may have or hear about from their personal banks. There are certain bank cards that you can apply for that will give you a certain amount of points for how much you spend. These points can be used to purchase merchandise or can be turned into your bank and exchanged for cash.
- Levels/Milestones – Starbucks is one franchise that has done well with adding a gaming aspect to their company. You can sign up for a Starbucks account and every single time you buy a beverage with your Starbucks card, you can receive a star. Once you have a certain amount of stars, you reach a new level which will allow you a certain amount of perks. (Example: When you reach the gold standard, you get a free drink after every 15 drinks you buy)
- Deals/Discounts – One of the best examples of this would be foursquare. When you check into certain restaurants at certain times, you can receive things like a free appetizer or a discounted percentage from something that you’re buying.
One of the best ways to market your brand is through the people who know your product or device just as well as you know yourself; aka your audience. They will be the ones who help spread the word about a new project that your company is working on are the people who are going to use or purchase it. Making a users’ experience interactive using a gamification aspect can help them not only retain information about your company better but it can also help spread the word about who your company is and what you want to accomplish.
Engagement in Communities
Engagement is one aspect that any company needs in order to become successful in their field. This can come from something as simple as people getting together and discussing their love of a topic or it could be as powerful as people rallying around a cause/campaign and using gamification as an outreach platform. No matter how it is used, it has the ability to bring people together those who are truly invested in what you have to offer rather than a mere spectator.
One of the perks of gamification is the role that it can play in getting feedback from your consumers. If someone is using one of your services and they decide they absolutely love or hate it, they can do things like leave a rating on your website or use an app to leave a comment about what they think should change and what should stay the same. It is a lot less tedious than filling out a customer survey and it will provide you with more accurate and detailed responses.
In The End…
In the upcoming years, gamification is going to play a bigger role in all aspects of business. Its ability to bring people together while allowing companies to take a closer look at who their audience is and what they want makes it an extremely valuable tool. Whether it’s something small like giving away a discount or a huge campaign for loyal customers, there are many aspects of gamification that can benefit any companys’ needs.