I previously discussed the tactic of utilizing memes when creating engaging content for your website or social media, as it is one of the most viral types of content. Here, we’ll review gamification as it tends to be one of the most sticky.
What is Gamification and how does it work for Marketing?
Gamification is the inclusion of a compelling and engaging user experience on your website or social media page that incents visitors to return repeatedly via some type of psychological “hook.” This can be either the physical satisfaction or rush that comes along with engaging in gaming, or some type of reward or prize. Smart marketers can benefit from this return behavior to build brand awareness, collect user data and stimulate sharing to social networks. Gamification usually works best for consumer based businesses or websites, where the individual will be motivated to win or achieve something.
Examples of Gamification
Interactive Google Doodles – From time to time, Google’s Doodle changes to reflect on or celebrate a milestone, some with an interactive element like engaging in a sport or playing a song on a Les Paul guitar. Check out our previous blogpost that recapped their recent Olympic Doodles. Branded Games on Facebook Pages – Most are trivia-based or a branded version of a common game like mah-jongg. Other popular games are related to movies or television series. Check out the Hunger Games interactive game -- one of their recent prizes was a map of the fictional Panem, something that actually adds to the understanding of the original books and movies.
Foursquare — This mobile app allows for users to “check-in” at virtual venues and unlock special deals, offers or information about the real venue while promoting the establishment via sharing to their social network. Users also earn points, badges and the ability to become the “mayor” of a business, which can often achieve additional perks from the business. This ability to reward patrons for generating word-of-mouth buzz for businesses often drives additional traffic into the establishments.
The concept of gamification can be extended to activities like online scavenger hunts, following a fitness or diet routine using an online app or simply implementing a progress bar on your website to encourage full member profile completion. Any achievement-based idea can be easily turned into a game when utilizing the gamification mechanics of creating a challenge and dispensing rewards.
Goals of Gamification
Gamification isn’t just about playing games online, it is about engaging your customer base. You can encourage certain activities that can lead to higher sales, ie a bike trail game that users can go on planned trips through your city (if you own a bike store), or you can simply use a catchy game like the Google Doodles, that get casual visitors to visit your site and perhaps take a look around when they are finished playing.
It is important to integrate your Brand into the game, or into a call to action that can be seen while users are playing. Your games should drive users to either better recognize your brand or to bring them back to your online property. Gamification can help you build a community online that will be there to have a good time and potentially become brand loyal customers.