How to Weigh Points in a Business Gamification System
To really drive desired behaviors, game designers can weight points. Weighting points means awarding more points for those behaviors deemed more valuable or that require more effort in a gamification system.
For example, if your business objective is to drive more user-generated content, then it’s more important for visitors to create a new blog post rather than simply like an existing one. In that case, you’d weight your gameplay point system to favor users who create new blog posts. In this way, you both reward users for performing desired behaviors and indicate to users which behaviors are most valuable to you.
To figure out how to weight points, you first must know your business gamification objective — that is, the specific pain point you want to address. At Samsung, for example, they noticed that although the website provided robust user generated content tools and welcomed millions of users, only a small percentage of those users actually created content or came back on a frequent basis.
To improve retention, Samsung launched an engagement program called Samsung Nation, which focused on rewarding gameplay behaviors that required customer time and attention. Samsung opted to reward behaviors based on the behaviors’ value to the company and the effort required by the user to complete them:
Register Samsung products: 500 points
Submit comments and reviews: 300 points
Provide answers in Q&A: 300 points
Watch videos: 200 points
Like on Facebook: 200 points
Share on Twitter: 100 points
Submit questions in Q&As: 100 points
All this is to say, not all gameplay behaviors are created equal. Although posting a question about a product is valuable to Samsung (100 points), it’s a lot easier to ask the question than it is to come up with an intelligent answer, which Samsung credits with 300 points.
As you weight points, you may find it useful to be familiar with the Power Law of Participation. As outlined by social media guru Ross Mayfield, the Power Law of Participation deconstructs the idea of participation into more granular behaviors: reading, tagging, commenting, and so forth.
Mayfield describes some of these behaviors as low-threshold gameplay behaviors. They’re the ones that are easy to perform and require little in the way of participation. Other gamelay behaviors are considered high-threshold and little more work. Assuming they’re valuable to your organization, high-threshold behaviors would likely garner higher point values due to the fact that they require more effort to perform.
When devising your gamification point system, should you go with big numbers or small ones? That is, should users receive 10 points for commenting, or 100? When they upload a video, should they receive 20 points or 200? Often, people prefer big numbers — but before you go that route, make sure your user interface has enough space to support those big-digit numbers.