If increasing engagement is your goal, gamification is a powerful tool that can help get you there
Mohammed Iqbal & Syed A Suffiyan
It was not until early 2010 that gamification started catching up as a mainstream digital strategy. In 2010, corporations spent $100 million on gamification, and this number is expected to rise up to $2.8 billion by the end of 2016. Tracking the trends in shifting digital strategies will help to understand the importance of gamification and its relevance going forward. Between 1990 and 2004, marketers relied heavily on one-way communication; it was about making claims and telling a story.
Today, digital marketing strategies are based more on engagement and connections. Reviews, likes, ratings and comments have become an integral part of information online and marketers can now view trends in social forums to identify user needs and expectations. This has led to several downsides, as social maturity has caused information overload and network fatigue, resulting in a passive consumer audience. Between July 2009 and June 2011, there has been a large level of decline in contribution and active participation on Facebook.
Marketers now realise the need to transform passive behaviour into a dynamic high-end user engagement and involvement activity. Gamification and its essential dynamics, coupled with social networks, is a very powerful tool to enable multiple levels of engagement.
Human behaviour studies indicate that people need to play. We love the feeling of achieving mastery in a game by overcoming obstacles, learning, gaining skills and earning rewards for our achievements. Playing a game also has aspects of entertainment and escape; it allows us to role-play and be a part of a story. The social aspect of playing increases this fulfillment.
What is it that makes playing games so engaging? Every game includes gaming dynamics, some of which are described below:
Positive reinforcements: A reward is a form of positive reinforcement given or received in recompense for actions performed or time invested in the game.
Rewards for users come in the form of points, badges and power-ups. Some points can also be used to buy merchandise and other game- related items.
Risk mitigation: Risk mitigation is any reinforcement that requires a minimum activity to avoid negative occurrences (e.g., Farmville crops that die when a user neglects to water them).
The power of free: This dynamic shows users that they can get something free from someone else’s actions (e.g., Groupon).
Goals: A goal is a result or achievement towards