Gamification: so much more than just game-playing

Gamification | 09 September 2015

Of the most pressing challenges any post-modern entrepreneur is bound to face in an ever-changing environment is how to first, attract users and second, keep them engaged: that is where gamification can help out, by seamlessly keeping people coming back for more. At Hi INTERACTIVE, we believe that gamification can be a very useful tool to use in an array of different situations. So why not learn a bit more about it?

What is gamification? 

The rationale behind gamification in business environments is that most individuals love playing games. Many lose themselves for hours in computer games being motivated to win and compete successfully.
Cornelia Nussbaum in “Gamification – A Trend to Improve Your Business?

Regardless of whether our own childhood happened before or during the digital age, we can all relate to the act of exploring the world through playing and, more specifically, through games. In the last decades, computer games have most undoubtedly evolved to the point where they can present their players a self-contained virtual world, or worlds, capable of keeping players ‘hooked’ for days and even weeks on end. While your business may not need that kind of attention, gamification can become a very sound digital strategy disguised as pure entertainment. At the very core of gamification, we find our own lust for competition and winning, which can be freely exercised in game-like activities; that very same drive can be used for marketing purposes, in order to create engagement.

How can gamification create engagement?

Again, drawing from our own experience, we know that some games are inherently more enjoyable than others; this principal of enjoyment is essential to create the kind of engagement your website or your app is craving for. For gamification to be successful, it must fulfill a core set of criteria, including those presented in the Fogg Behavior Model, named after its developer, Prof. B.J. Fogg from Standford University.  Fogg’s model rests upon three simple elements: motivation, ability and trigger. All three must be present simultaneously to produce a certain behavior. Any gamified system should therefore provide its users with the motivation to do a certain action, as well as the ability to complete it and, last but not least, a trigger or a cue which makes it possible to conclude it. Then there are also quite a few techniques that you should most definitely incorporate into your gamification planning:

  • A reward system: By reward, we mean everything and anything which makes your user feel positive. The key is really the positive feeling coming from the experience. Some of the most common rewards are virtual and may consist of specific awards or privileges, like for instance prizes.
  • Loss aversion: for many people, the risk of loss truly outweighs the chance of winning. Therefore, if you give something right ahead to your clients, it will be harder for them to leave. One of the greatest examples is Farmville: if you don’t tend your crops, they will wither and die.
  • Status, competition and reputation: If there is something people tend to yearn for is status; more specially, a status which allows them to outrank all others. If we believe this principle to be true, then it is easy to understand why achievement badges, leaderboards and rankings are a good idea. People will outdo themselves for the privilege of outranking their peers.
  • Feedback: By creating a feedback system, you let your users know that someone took stock of your actions; if your feedback system creates smaller goals, users will also feel more compelled to keep going, since they are more likely to pile on achievements. (This last feature is one of the main components to make games addictive).

How can gamification improve your business?

Gamification will most likely be a very welcome addition to your business mix if, for instance, you are looking for ways to improve your productivity within your own organization. Here are a few examples that can be accomplished:

  • Engaging employees in solving problem
  • Improving engagement in project
  • Increasing return on investment (ROI)
  • Improving the delivered data quality
  • Finishing projects on time
  • Overall motivation to learn and add to the employee’s skill sets

(From Gamification – A Trend to Improve Your Business? by Cornelia Nussbaum)
At Hi INTERACTIVE, we strive to discover new always to apply the principles of gamification while attending to our clients’ best interest. Our next project could be yours: give us a call.