The abundance of video games these days refuse to be ignored, as well as the devices that allow gamers to play. If gamers were limited to consoles and computers in the past, they now have smartphones to add to the array of gadgets they can use. In fact, gaming ranks as one of the most popular activities people do on their smartphones.
In a research by the IDC called “Always Connected,” 60% of the 7,400 iPhone and Android user respondents play games on their mobile phones. This makes gaming one of the top smartphone activities along with email, Facebook, and web browsing.
However, what makes gaming more interesting is how its concepts can be applied to other disciplines such as marketing. In an effort to keep clients engaged and to generate leads, marketers have found a way to harness their skills into a whole new system that is gamification. By incorporating methods of how games are played into marketing campaigns, entrepreneurs can build their brand in a way that is exciting and rewarding for their clients.
In this post, we will explore the elements of gamification and how its principles can be applied to multichannel marketing.
What is Gamification?
Gamification is the process of applying game mechanics to nongame activities in order to engage their target audience and solve problems. In the case of marketing, gamification banks on people’s inclination to achieve mastery and autonomy in games, and then leverage this to advance a business’ campaign or its certain aspects such as data gathering, selling, or getting feedback.
Gamification relies on people’s inclination to play and be rewarded, and marketers can take advantage of this by driving their target audience to perform an action such as Like, Share, or sign up so that they could get their prize. With this in mind, the users do no only enjoy playing and getting rewards, they also help in spreading word about the brand.
Basic Elements of Gamification
Some marketers agree that not all businesses can be turned into actual games. However, there are certain elements to gamification that can be applied for marketers to achieve certain goals. Listed below are five elements you can easily factor into your gamification project.
1. Goals and Progress Indicators
Just like your normal marketing plan, your game should have clear goals. For starters, you can establish whether the goal of the game is to compete with other players or outdo the game itself. You can also establish smaller goals like gathering a certain number of points before moving on to a new level or to unlock an important feature. Keep the users motivated by providing them progress indicators to help them keep track of their accomplishments.
Apart from goals, rules are what give games sense. Set clear rules that are easy to understand and execute to keep players engaged. The rules will help steer the users to the right direction and will also serve as a guide if they take a wrong step.
3. Levels or Stages
The levels in a game not only work as progress indicators, it also helps the user keep up with the information that comes with each stage. The levels give the players a concrete idea of what they need to achieve to make it to the next stage of the game, as well as the rewards they can get such as points or say, gold or new powers. You can set up a few tasks for users to execute to complete each level and increase the difficulty as they progress in learning how to use your product.
Speaking of rewards, you can boost the anticipation of players by awarding them badges whenever they accomplish a task. This will encourage players to share their achievements in social media and thereby promote your game and your brand to their respective networks. Players are likely to repeat tasks or levels until they earn all the badges required to become masters of the game. With repetition, the players become more familiar with how your product works, which can strengthen their engagement.
5. Feedback System
Aside from fun and learning, you also have to provide your players a means to communicate with you within the game. Allow users to provide feedback or reports so that you can monitor how they are doing in the game. It’s important that the users enjoy the whole gaming experience as well as the learning.
Benefits of Gamification
People love to win and this includes your clients. It would help your to establish a stronger connection with them if you let them play for a prize that they want from your brand. Gamification can also help you build a stronger community of followers which can help increase brand recognition and quality leads.
If you aren’t sure yet how gamification can help your business, here are four key reasons on why you should consider gamification for your next marketing campaign.
1. High Engagement
The idea of playing and earning rewards can trigger the excitement among your target audience and can push them to stay tuned to the game. Once you’ve stirred their interest, engagement will follow, and this is a crucial metric that will help you see how your gamification efforts are faring.
For instance, an increase in your engagement will tell you how many unique visitors you have since you launched the gamified campaign, as well page views per visitor and depth of visit. Other factors that engagement will tell you are time spent on site by visitors, frequency of visits, participation, and conversions.
2. Collect Customer Data
Not all customers are keen on sharing information especially when the forms are not optimized to their preference. However, gamification can help you gather considerable customer data especially if you require players to use their social media profiles or a valid email address to join.
Once they sign up, the clicks, badges, and points will clue you in to what makes your players tick, such as which prizes most people go for. Their profiles will also give you a clear idea of your leads’ demographic, which will factor into the modifications you need to apply to the campaign to make it more interesting to your audience.
Keep in mind though that the amount of data will only make sense if you know how to analyze them. Using the data you generated will require sharp analytical skills for you to be able to filter which ones are useful at the moment from those that can be put in the backburner. If you don’t have a designated analyst, you can also avail of analytics services from third-party agencies.
3. Improve Client Education
Educating your leads about your product or service is crucial to retention, but not all of your leads may have the time for extensive materials such as white papers and e-books. While it’s still important that you make such information available, gamification is a fun alternative to client education.
One of the ways you can do this is by allowing users to test your game, and in the process, teach them how your product or service works. You also have to give the users a sense of achievement as they become more familiar with the game to keep them motivated.
For example, instead of merely giving out free trial versions of your software, you can split the trial into several stages and reward users for accomplishing every level after applying what they learned in the tutorial. This way, users will have a better chance at absorbing and retaining the information as they enjoy the game.
4. Relevance with Customers
Games, generally, should be fun. While you ensure that your target audience is entertained, you can also use this time to provide them content that they will remember. Apart from consumer education, it is also important that the content you publish on your site is related to the stages of the users’s gaming journey. In addition, your content should also be fresh and substantial so they remain on top of the readers’ heads.
Integrating Gamification to Multichannel Marketing
While not all businesses can be turned into a game, gamification can be an effective arm when paired with social media and applied to a multichannel marketing campaign. While different platforms can be used to execute a multichannel strategy, social media has proven to be a fertile ground for gamification.
Setting up contests in social media has been a common practice for different brands. However, in a lot of cases, we have seen a mere process of people sending material such as photos and videos for judges to pick the best from, or gaining as many Likes or Shares as possible. While these procedures remain relevant, they don’t help the target audience much in understanding and retaining the information that comes with the contest.
In gamification, marketers can have a better opportunity at educating their leads while giving them an enjoyable way to learn. Gamification also gives users a sense of accomplishment especially when the elements of levels and badges are applied to the game.
Take, for instance, the way the US Army has gamified their recruitment process. They produced a game where the players’ characters are placed in a virtual combat setting to give them an idea of how it is to become part of the army.
Nike also launched their gamified campaign in the form of NikeFuel where players are encouraged to share their measurements in social media and track their progress throughout their exercise program. Those who achieve their fitness goals are rewarded by trophies and badges which helped them advance brand visibility while supporting their followers on their mission to become healthier.
Our exposure to video games has begun a few decades ago and it only makes sense that marketers use this as a leverage to pique the interest of leads and keep them engaged. As games and devices steadily ascend to ubiquity, it is safe to say that gamification is a feasible idea to incorporate in your marketing plan.
Stay tuned to Atipso blog for more posts on gamification and how to boost your multichannel marketing campaigns by applying gaming methods.