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How to Understand Points in Business Gamification Systems

Points help users know they’re in a gamified environment and that many of the small behaviors they take along the way are being recognized at a system level. Companies running gamification programs use points to spur desired behaviors.

If you successfully perform a task in a game, but you don’t receive points for it, did it even happen? The fact is, unless a player receives points during gameplay, he or she may not even be aware that the game is afoot.

In gamification, points are assigned for specific behaviors such as creating an account, signing in, uploading a video, commenting on a thread, mentioning an organization on Facebook or Twitter . . . the list goes on. These points can then be compiled into a score.

For example, say that you want to attract more users to your website’s forum and increase engagement among existing users. In that case, you might issue points to the following:

  • Existing users who mention the forum on Twitter

  • New users who create a user account

  • Users who log on to the forum

  • Users who leave a comment

  • Users who start a thread

Ideally, your target audience’s valued behaviors (the behaviors they perform because they’re worthwhile to them) should align with the behaviors your organization views as valuable. That will result in a seamless experience for the user. If they don’t align, your goal is to find a way to make them do so.

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