In 2009, the video game industry recorded revenues of $60.4 billion dollars, double that of the movie industry. One of the biggest draws to games is not the story or gameplay, it’s the competition and sense of achievement one gets when they beat their friend’s score, or a hard level. Many businesses have started applying game mechanics to non-game situations.
The term to describe this trend is gamification, but what is it, and how can businesses use it?
What is gamification?
Gamification is the application of game design techniques and mechanics to non-game applications. Foursquare and its badges is a good example of this – users check in at locations to earn points, unlock badges and compete with their friends. Do they win anything? Nothing physical, but there’s something satisfying with competing with other people to be the best.
While gamification got its start with technological related operations, it has since been integrated by businesses of all sizes. Business that have adopted elements of gamification have seen improved user engagement and ROI.
How can businesses leverage gamification?
Gamification is interesting because it can be applied in a variety of different business situations. For example, here are three such uses:
- To increase employee engagement. It can be hard at times to keep your employees engaged while they’re doing mundane tasks. One of the most common uses of gamification is deploying badges to act as a motivator to encourage employees to put effort into their job. When an employee reaches a predetermined level they are recognized for their achievement. This will go a long way in improving engagement.
- To create brand advocates. You can use gamification to turn your customers and fans into brand advocates. Before they start singing your praises, they need to be given a reason to do so. The best way to do this is to create a points/reward system. For actions such as purchases or reviews, customers gain points that can be spent on other services. Think of it as akin to the points system used by credit card companies.
- To generate traffic. Many SMBs are dependent on their websites for revenue but struggle to get traffic to their site. Gamification techniques can be employed to encourage people to spend more time on, and return to, your website, almost like a modern loyalty program.
There are many uses for gamification and we’ll continue to see new and innovative ways to deploy it in organizations. If you’re interested in ways you can implement aspects of gamification in your business, or would like to learn more, we are here happy to sit down with you for a chat. Please contact us.