Gamification Marketing For Dummies book cover

Gamification Marketing For Dummies

By: Zarrar Chishti Published: 10-06-2020

Grow your customer base with games!

Gamification is the practice of adding elements of gameplay into marketing materials to better engage customers. In Gamification Marketing For Dummies, you’ll learn to use this proven strategy to capture the attention of your target markets and boost your results using valuable gamification data.

Games are fun! That’s why gamification is so successful—customers will jump at the chance to play and win your custom-developed marketing game. You’ll connect with your customers and create lasting memories. Whether or not you are digitally savvy, this book will teach you the basics of gamification, from choosing the right game to capturing the user behavior data that the game generates.

  • Use games to increase customer engagement and marketing results
  • Learn how to choose or commission the right games for your market
  • Plan and execute a successful gamification strategy
  • Learn from data generated inside your game for valuable market insights

From simple strategies like customer loyalty programs to complex, branded, social game apps, this book will point in the direction of gamification that works for you.

Articles From Gamification Marketing For Dummies

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Gamification Marketing For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-22-2021

Gamification marketing can significantly change your marketing for the better—you just have to know how to harness it. The thing is, not all gamification marketing campaigns are created equal, so you need to know why campaigns succeed (and why they don’t). Remember that protecting your campaign from hackers is a critical part of its success.

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How to Build Seasonal Gamification Marketing Campaigns

Article / Updated 10-23-2020

Your gamification marketing campaign may not appeal to your audience year-round. Consider having a rebranded version of your campaign with a seasonal theme, such as for the holiday period. Holiday marketing is an exciting experience, but it’s also incredibly competitive. As other marketing teams around the world are scrambling to think of how they’re going to celebrate the festive season, you’ll have a campaign locked and loaded and ready to go. Think about rolling out holiday marketing slogans into your campaign that tap into the warm and happy feelings your audience will have at that time of the year. Your gamification reward options don’t need to change, but your designs can be instantly transformed to create the seasonal theme, as shown. For instance, your badges can have a very simple holiday makeover during the festive period. Whatever seasonal strategy you decide on, you need to keep in mind that your campaign will be facing a lot of competition for your audience’s attention. Your audience will be distracted with family, celebrations, and every other company launching its own holiday campaign. That means that almost every one of your competitors will be looking for a way to distract your audience and grab their attention. The key to success is to separate yourself from the rest of the noise. Try to avoid simply becoming part of the holiday collections, and instead find a way for your holiday gamification marketing campaign to connect with your audience through emotion, excitement, and experience. You can do this by connecting the festive feelings into a road map for the user’s journey. Your company will have a different experience to showcase during the holiday season than everyone else. Translate this to your team to build into the gamification model so that this uniqueness will differentiate your campaign. Here are some strategies you should consider when developing your holiday-themed gamification marketing campaign. Create anticipation Building up to the event is what the holidays are all about. When you make your audience anticipate the launch of your holiday campaign, they’ll naturally feel happier when they finally get to engage with the campaign. Some of the best holiday marketing ideas focus on the buildup of excitement. The Google Santa Tracker, shown, is a great example of building excitement. By releasing new Santa content every day of December, Google got its audience noticing its brand. Building anticipation isn’t just about building excitement for the big day; it’s also about building excitement for your campaign. Giving back At the holidays, people feel compelled to give back. Your holiday gamification marketing campaign can take advantage of this feeling, by offering your audience an experience so valuable that they feel compelled to give you something back. If your campaign delivers a rewarding and engaging experience, your audience will Come back next year because they’ll feel a sense of loyalty to your holiday campaign Share it on all their social media platforms and advocate for it personally in their posts Feel compelled to engage with your company’s products and services Make 'em feel festive When designing your holiday-themed campaign, make sure you leave your audience feeling happy and festive. If you do this, the audience will be more likely to engage with your campaign and go on to purchase your company’s products or services. Capitalize on the seasonal sentiment. For most people, the holiday season is a joyous time of year. After all, the end of December means more time off work, memories made with family, and of course, giving and receiving presents. People feel more uplifted and excited in general, so your campaign should amplify these feelings. Create urgency Your holiday-themed campaign should leave your audience feeling as though they’re missing out on something special if they don’t immediately engage with it. You can do this by displaying a very visible countdown timer that displays when your campaign will come to an end. The timer will prompt people to stop dithering over decisions and start taking action. If you can design your holiday strategy with a clear expiration date, you can appeal to your audience’s sense of urgency, which will inspire them to engage and purchase. The best holiday-themed gamification marketing campaigns are the ones that recognize the finite state of the festive period and make sure the audience appreciates the urgency of engaging immediately. Personalize your content When building your holiday-themed gamification campaign, think about how you can create content that your audience will want to share with their network. Typically, people will place a larger sense of value on things that they can personalize. Office Depot/OfficeMax’s ElfYourself, shown, is a great example of this. Office Depot/OfficeMax gave its audience the chance to create a completely customized experience, which could then be shared easily on all social media platforms. This helps your company to develop a stronger emotional connection between your brand and your audience. Another popular example is the Oreo Design a Pack campaign, which tweeted out an invitation to design and personalize a pack of Oreos for friends and family members.

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Build Loyalty Rewards into Your Gamification Model

Article / Updated 10-23-2020

When you are designing a gamification marketing campaign, you need to build loyalty rewards into the gameplay. After you’ve designed on the perfect game for your audience, you’ll need to keep them coming back and playing the game. You certainly want them to play your game more than once, and not just leave the campaign at the start of their gaming journey. By designing desirable loyalty rewards into your game, you’ll find that these players will be the ones who become your campaign’s best advocates, who will fuel your word-of-mouth marketing and ultimately attract other loyal players to your game. Gamification marketing reward options Rewards are the building blocks of all gamification marketing campaigns. Your audience will play your game so that they can win something, competing against themselves or others. Their naturally competitive game-playing instincts will be invoked, so you can motivate them further into your campaign using clever reward options, like the following: Points: Your audience wins redeemable points in the game. You can award points for positive actions and experiences within the game, as well as for things like providing feedback and sharing the campaign on social media. Starbucks uses multiple options, including points, to motivate and award its audience. Badges: Badges are visual representations that confirm your audience’s achievements in the game. Think of badges as visual status symbols. Interestingly, badges can lead your audience to participate in certain challenges just so they can earn the associated badges. Makes sure the challenges are designed to fit your marketing objectives. Leader boards: Allow your audience to see how their own success in the game ranks compared with everyone else with the use of leader boards. Leader boards can inspire more competition and show people which players have unlocked the most achievements. The desire to appear at the top, or even just be featured in the top ten, will drive your audience to earn more points, which will in turn drive them into deeper engagement. Performance charts: A performance chart is a graphical view of the audience’s historical representation in the game. This will motivate a much longer playing term for each user because he’ll be shown his performance over time. Your audience will be motivated to keep playing new levels as they look to improve their chart. Avatars: Avatars can be powerful for engagement. In more traditional platforms, users are encouraged to upload photo of themselves, but in gamification your audience will likely prefer to use an alter ego. Avatars are usually customizable cartoon models that represent a player in the game. Avatars can play a very critical role in the audience’s overall engagement because they become a part of a community, which can trigger more interest. Gamification rewards and recognition Think about interactive ways to use rewards for the game option you’ve selected so that your audience will have a positive experience while playing. Here are some rewards you’ll want to consider: Fun: You want to introduce an element of fun into your gamification marketing campaign. This is especially true if your company or industry is not usually associated with fun and engaging campaigns. When done properly, your campaign can create a disruptive, fun, and engaging experience for your audience. Competitiveness: You can easily do this by adding a competitive element such as a leaderboard. Another way is to award badges that rank their audience’s abilities. This is a great way to engage with your audience and provide good fun into your campaign. Exclusivity: Who doesn’t love earning her way into an elite club? Giving a VIP experience as a reward makes your audience feel like they have a special relationship with your campaign and brand overall. This goes a long way toward building brand loyalty. A good way to achieve the goal of exclusivity is to encourage your audience to achieve particular goals (as in the Starbucks green or gold stars program). Rewarding experience: Encouraging your audience to earn more rewards for a chance to redeem them against actual products or services can be a very powerful reason for them to keep coming back to your game. A lot of companies will, understandably, make scoring points difficult, which can potentially turn your audience off playing. However, you can counter this problem by making the process of redeeming rewards easy and attractive. Added value: One of the disincentives of a loyalty program is the difficulty in obtaining reward points. You may find that many of your players will abandon the game just because it takes too long to earn rewards. With this in mind, you need to be more creative and reward nearly everything in your game. This should be done on a sliding scale, matching the value of the points with the value of the audience’s input. Also, keep in mind that with gamification, it’s possible to have different types of rewards for each action, ensuring that everybody wins. Giving random rewards: By adding random rewards into your game, you’ll delight your audience and keep them engaged in the anticipation of more. Because everyone likes to win something, the fact that your audience is present and participating in your gamification marketing campaign is valuable enough to be rewarded.

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Gamification Models

Article / Updated 10-23-2020

The success of your gamification marketing campaign will depend on whether the gamification model you’ve selected appeals to your core audience. Not every gamification model will be suitable to your audience. In fact, you may find that only one or two really resonate with them. Before deciding which model is right for you, you need understand how gamification models perform with various audiences. Learn how to match the right model with your intended audience. If more than one appeals to you for your campaign, you may want to consider jotting down the alternatives for future campaigns. Here’s a rundown of the various models: Action: The key factor with action games is that everything has to be quick. These campaigns can be quick to develop, too, especially if you grab a white-labeled game already developed and tested. This means less development time and less cost overall. The game itself should allow your audience to easily learn the controls, quickly get into the playing screen, and start collecting rewards. However, if you don’t provide these things quickly enough, your audience will be just as quick to leave your game. To counter this high bounce rate, consider adding a leaderboard so you can create a competitive environment. In addition, when designing the game, make sure that the game’s mechanics aren’t too complicated and, instead, are intuitive for your audience. Simulation: In development terms, simulation is almost the opposite of an action game. It takes much longer to design and develop, and it costs a lot more, too. But before you dismiss this option, think about the many success stories for simulation games! If you can create a niche virtual world for your campaign, a dedicated army of players will find their way to your game, eager to invest their time. Audiences will invest their time in playing a good simulation game. You just need to make sure the game is designed with plenty of rewards and objectives so your users will keep playing. Simulation games require a lot of time during the storyboarding phase, to make sure you keep your audience interested. Interactive storytelling: Interactive storytelling an exceptional option because it gives everyone a unique story experience, centered around your brand. The audience becomes hugely invested as they customize their experience. Typically, an interactive storytelling campaign will leave a more lasting impression than action games do. Of course, this all comes at a huge expense in terms of staff, development time, and ultimately cost. Interactive storytelling campaigns can be extremely expensive and take many months to develop. The main costs will come from the custom and multilevel designs along with the expert advice required during the story-building development phase. However, your gamification marketing campaign can last for an entire quarter. Adventure: I find adventure games to be an excellent hybrid of action, simulation, and interactive storytelling. They require your audience to be willing to invest a lot of their time. But if you execute the game correctly, the experience can be extremely rewarding for both the audience and your campaign. Apart from the costs, the game usually requires your audience to invest their time to advance in the game and at the same time expose your branding. This can be done with consistent goals and objectives for the audience to continually achieve and aim for. Puzzles: These types of games are used in gamification marketing campaigns that want to associate puzzle solving around their campaign. These types of games involve some form of problem-solving skill for your audience where your campaign’s message can be embedded into the logic, pattern recognition, or sequence solving. I find that it’s usually easier to source a white label solution due to the vast number of puzzle games available to buy from good developers. To give the audience a reason to come back, it’s better to give a slightly unrealistic amount of time or attempts to solve the puzzle. Your campaign won’t be very effective if your audience manages to complete the game in one sitting. Skill based: This is my personal favorite type of game option to use in a gamification marketing campaign. With skill-based games, the outcome is determined by the audience’s reactions, mental abilities, strategic thinking, or trivia knowledge. This type of game is easy to fit into almost any campaign because there is no rigid formula. This means that you can develop one of these types of games to suit most budgets. Spot the Ball (shown) is a good example of a skill-based game; players have to use their skill of looking at where all the players are looking to determine the location of the ball. One favorable aspect of skill-based games is that there doesn’t necessarily need to be a right or wrong answer (as opposed to puzzles). Although this type of game mechanics falls into the “game of chance” category, players won’t see it as “gambling” as long as your campaign isn’t asking them to pay to play. With gambling or lotto-type games, users typically play a game that they have no control over. An example is a card-based game like blackjack. On the other hand, a skill-based game gives the user control by allowing him to use his skill to increase his chances of winning. Multi-player: As the name suggests, a multi-player game allows more than one person to play in the same game environment at the same time. The game should allow your audience to compete against one or more human contestants as well as the computer. I find it important to develop a multi-player game to allow audiences to partner up with other individuals instead of just competing against them. This provides the social communication element that’s missing from single-player games. Interestingly, by using the latest HTML5 technology, this kind of game can be developed to be played locally (over a local network like an office). This allows your audience to create competitive environments without having to constantly open their connections to the Internet (a security concern for professional environments). Educational: Usually dismissed as a game for educational establishments, this type of game is an extremely effective tool for any gamification marketing campaign. An educational game provides a useful way for your audience to learn something valuable about your product or business, all in an entertaining platform. The game should be educating your audience while they’re playing. At the end of the game, the audience should leave more educated on your business or product. This type of game is especially successful if there is some aspect of your product or service that is being used wrongly or is being queried by your customers. Also, educational games can help educate audiences in instances where there is some service or value that your company provides that isn’t widely known. Role playing: A role-playing game (RPG) is the least common type of game selected for gamification marketing campaigns. The audience controls the actions of a character immersed in a branded world. This world should be full of elements that are centered around your campaign’s objectives. Many RPGs come from tabletop games, such as Dungeons & Dragons. Try to emulate and use much of the same game mechanics to create an engaging game. Depending on your budget, you can develop a game as simple as a text-based console entry game, all the way up to a 3D version that can be played on a virtual reality (VR) device. The table lists the strengths and weaknesses of various game models when used in gamification marketing campaigns. Determining the Best Game Model for Your Audience Game Model Cost Development Time Brand Exposure Audience Interest Retention Action Low 1 to 2 weeks ** 1 week Simulation High 3 months *** 1 to 2 months Interactive storytelling Very high 4 to 6 months **** 3 months Adventure Medium 2 to 3 months ***** 1 month Puzzles Low 2 to 3 weeks *** 1 week Skill based Medium 1 month *** 2 weeks Multi-player High 2 to 3 months *** 2 to 3 weeks Educational High 2 to 3 months *** 2 to 3 months Role playing High 2 to 3 months **** 2 to 3 months Many companies discover that their marketing budget won’t cover the type of game they want to use. If that’s where you find yourself, don’t scale down the game to fit your budget. Instead, go for a cheaper game option and scale that game up with the remaining budget you have. If a game is scaled down, audiences will be able to tell right away. On the other hand, a less expensive game that has been upgraded in terms of design and development is more likely to be championed by audiences through social media channels.

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Gamification Marketing: Use a Unique Hashtag

Article / Updated 10-23-2020

With user content being posted on all social media networks faster than ever, using a hashtag to raise awareness is not as easy as adding # to your company name. Your gamification marketing campaign will need to create its own unique hashtag and get people to use it. By successfully creating a unique hashtag, your team will be able to track and control the flow of the discussion generated on social media channels. Hashtags are a way for people to discuss specific events, products, services, and issues on social media. They’re used by millions of social media users on a daily basis, and they’re fast becoming an integral component of any marketing campaign. A hashtag is a word, or group of words with no spaces in between, with a pound sign (#) at the start. Using hashtags, online users can easily search for any topic and participate in the conversation. How hashtags work on the various social media platforms Hashtags got started on Twitter, where they were used for “tweet chats.” As “tweet chats” became more prominent, marketers began to see the importance and relevance of using hashtags in their campaigns. Today, most major social media platforms support hashtags. Knowing how to create and use them on each platform can help put your campaign directly in front of your target audience. In the following sections, I take a look at how hashtags are best utilized on the major social networks. Twitter By using relevant hashtags in your tweets, you can increase your campaign’s engagement. Twitter hashtags can be used to denote specific topics. If these hashtag-driven topics become immediately popular at a particular time, they’re referred to as a trend. Trending topics appear on the sidebar of your audience’s Twitter feed. A trending topic is a very powerful marketing tool because it can bring a mass volume of traffic to your campaign. In the past, hashtags have been the subject of mass abuse by marketing campaigns. As a result, Twitter immediately filters out posts that are blatantly spamming a hashtag. Any tweets that use a trending hashtag but do not add value to the conversation are also filtered out. Tweeting about a trend and then linking it to something totally unrelated is a violation of the rules. An example of spamming would be deliberately adding a trending hashtag like #SuperBowl to your tweet just to receive traffic to your message when your content has nothing to do with football or the Super Bowl. I recommend using a maximum of three hashtags per tweet. Instagram As opposed to Twitter, where hashtags should be used sparingly, on Instagram, using more hashtags often leads to more engagement. Instagram does place a limit on the number of hashtags you can use in each post (the limit is 30 hashtags). You may not need to use 30 hashtags in a post, but you can do so without being penalized. Try using the maximum number of hashtags so you can experiment with which hashtags work for your campaign. Instagram is the best platform for using multiple hashtags, so try a wide variety of them, and use them on posts, photos, and comments. Hashtags can be used to encourage users to submit their images and experiences with your gamification marketing campaign. For instance, some hashtags were created specifically for Instagram photo campaigns like #ThrowbackThursday (more recently #TBT), which encourages audiences to post past photos of themselves. Facebook Facebook was a late adopter of hashtag support and, because of this, the practice has not been picked up by their users as much as it has been with the other platforms. Nevertheless, Facebook will group your campaign’s posts containing the same hashtag. Even better, the results from hashtag searches are not limited to people you know. On Facebook, try not to use too many hashtags. I recommend using a maximum of two hashtags per post on Facebook. If you use more than that, your campaign is in danger of appearing unprofessional and will most likely annoy your Facebook audience. If you’re using a Facebook hashtag strategy, make sure all your campaign’s posts are public. This will enable your audience to find and share your posts and hashtags. Pinterest Using unique and relevant hashtags on Pinterest can help expose your campaign to a brand-new audience. On this platform, nonspecific keywords aren’t likely to do any good. So be sure to create unique hashtags that are specific to your campaign. Pinterest hashtags are placed in the pin description. When users click them, they’re taken to pins that contain the exact hashtag, plus pins with the same word or phrase in the description. LinkedIn Up to a couple of years ago, LinkedIn didn’t emphasize the use of hashtags. But recently, LinkedIn has made some important updates to its algorithm, which has resulted in a 50 percent increase in viral activity. Today, more than two million posts, videos, and articles are filtered, ranked, and displayed in the feeds of LinkedIn’s members. When you publish content on LinkedIn, use a maximum of three hashtags in the body of your post. The use of unique hashtags on LinkedIn will get your campaign in front of people outside your network, making it a great way to increase awareness. Create unique hashtags for your gamification marketing campaign If your hashtag is unique, it will stand out, and your campaign will gain a lot more engagement on social media channels. The goal is to come up with something unique that is shareable and memorable, and that instantly connects with your audience. In the following sections, I provide essential tips to keep in mind when creating a keyword. Making it brief but unique In general, when it comes to unique hashtags, the shorter the better. One good reason for this, apart from the fact that shorter phrases are more readable and notable, is that a longer hashtag may be unpopular with Twitter users because tweets are limited in terms of the number of characters. Plus, longer hashtags are just harder to spell and more likely to result in typos. If in doubt, just remember that less is more. Try to stick to no more than three words. And try to avoid two of the same letters in a row (for example, #marketinggamification), because it’s just harder to read. Starbucks used a unique two-word hashtag, #StarbucksRewards (see the following figure) to promote its gamification marketing campaign on all its social media platforms. Evoking an emotion If you craft your hashtag to evoke an emotion with your audience, you’ll instantly connect and leave a lasting impression. Not only will your hashtag catch their attention, but it will motivate them to share your posts. Here are some ways to evoke emotions with hashtags: Create a sense of belonging. In order to do this, you need to have a deep understanding of your audience. Try to include interests into your hashtag that are specific and unique to your company or industry. For instance, if your campaign is targeting one city or state, include that as a hashtag. Create a sense of thrill. Motivate your audience to take action on exciting events or issues. Celebrate local pride. Do your homework and see if you can connect with specific locations. Playing to an audience’s local team or event will evoke strong passions. Challenge your audience. If you can empower your audience to take up challenges, you’ll evoke a sense of independence and freedom. Going topical Carefully structuring your hashtag to incorporate a viral topic can boost your campaign instantly. A trending topic will already be generating a lot of buzz, and you may be able to redirect all that traffic to your campaign. For example, many campaigns piggyback on the Academy Awards season. Charmin capitalized on the public tweeting and messaging over which Oscar nominees wore the best dress by tweeting a picture of a red dress with toilet paper trailing behind with the caption “Good luck to the nominees tonight. Don’t forget to look down before your speech.” Tread with care. Most trends can turn negative just as quickly as they went viral. Plus, trends don’t last forever, so you can’t bank on them to last for the duration of your campaign. Being clever If you can craft your hashtags to be catchy, funny, and clever, your campaign is more likely to catch on quickly and spread like wildfire. A clever hashtag will be easier for your audience to remember. An excellent example is Charmin’s #TweetFromTheSeat, shown, which was both fun and actionable (because they tied it in with a contest). Being consistent with your brand While you’re generating your catchy and clever hashtag, make sure that it still fits with your company’s overall brand. Take into consideration what your audience expects from your company. Think of the tone your business adopts across all its social media accounts, and make sure your hashtag is consistent with that tone. You can come up with a catchy and clever hashtag that fits your brand, no matter what area of business your company operates in. For instance, the frozen pizza company, DiGiorno, was able to showcase its personality in a fun and clever way with the hashtag #DiGiorNOYOUDIDNT. Proofreading hidden meanings If you’re using more than one word in your hashtag, make sure to not fall victim to a serious hashtag fail. Check to make sure it doesn’t spell something other than what you intended. Back in 2012, a unique hashtag (#susanalbumparty) was created to promote singer Susan Boyle’s album launch. Unfortunately, this ended up creating a huge stir internationally, and not the kind Ms. Boyle was after. (Read it a few times and see if you can find the double meaning.) When a hashtag has an unintended double meaning, it can wreak havoc on your campaign and cause embarrassing damage to your brand. Proofread and triple-check your hashtag to ensure that there is absolutely no potential for any double meanings. Get as many people in your company as you can to try to find hidden meanings. You can’t assume users will use capital letters in your hashtag, so look at it with all lowercase letters, as well as with the first letter of each word capitalized, to see if anything stands out. Recycling hashtags You may find an existing hashtag works perfectly for your campaign. As you would if you were using an existing company name, do your homework and make sure there are no preexisting negative associations attached to the hashtag. Use an online tool, such as Hashtagify to actively check out existing associations with any hashtag.

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Gamification Marketing: User Rewards and Achievements

Article / Updated 10-23-2020

One of the main advantages of using gamification marketing is the real-time audience engagement. Your audience gets real-time feedback and statistics that are influenced by their engagement on your campaign. Rewards and achievements will motivate your audience to keep coming back to your campaign so that they can complete or proceed with a challenge or task. Gamification marketing allows your audience to see immediate progress. This is the edge that gamification marketing has over traditional marketing. With traditional marketing, your audience doesn’t instantly and visually receive any form of feedback and reward for their efforts. With gamification marketing, you can reward every action or task that your audience completes. Reward your players Your audience should receive points or earn experience as rewards for their actions within your campaign. Essentially, your campaign should be designed to encourage your audience with strategically clever rewards throughout the campaign. These gamification rewards and recognition will entice them to return over and over again. Following is a variety of rewards you can offer your players, from points to progress bars to badges and more. Points Points are relatively straightforward to design into your campaign. The concept is simple: Complete a task, and earn points. Some websites use points as a way to encourage users to post in web forums, which helps the forum owners get more content on their site. Points are the simplest way to reward a player. Every mission or action that you want to include in your gamified campaign can be rewarded by a specific number of points. You need to choose carefully the number of points depending on the difficulty of a mission or action. In most campaigns, points act as a measure of how well the user has mastered the game. So, the points signify the level of skill a person has managed to accumulate. You might award points for the following: Clicking on call-to-action (CTA) buttons: For instance, downloading the app, signing up for an account or even just clicking the Start button on your game could be CTAs that garner points for a user. Completing a level: You can even award points in areas within a level. Spending time playing the game: If the user logs a certain number of hours playing the game, he can be awarded points. Sharing the game with friends: If the user clicks your specially designed Share buttons, she can earn points for herself and/or for the person she has shared the campaign with. Offering feedback: Give the audience a reason to give you valuable feedback on your campaign. Did something go wrong technically? Was it too hard or too easy? Would they like to see more levels? You can use points to create a leaderboard, which is a running list of users who have the most points. Levels and progress bars Progress bars are graphic visualizations that show your audience their progress within areas of your campaign. For instance, they may show the progress the user has made to get to the next level. Progress bars can also be used to denote the number of points the user has to obtain in order to earn a badge. No matter their context, progress bars help keep your audience motivated. Levels can help keep users motivated, too, but they also give the audience a sense of direction for their motivation. Users are more focused and determined if they can see where they’ll end up if they keep playing. Levels and progress bars can do the following: Give the user a sense of progress. Give the campaign a more structured design. Help keep the user motivated. Help you design specific challenges within the campaign. Badges Badges are extremely important in gamification marketing campaigns because they make your audience feel important and skilled. In my experience, badges strengthen the audience’s connection with the campaign. When designing your gamification campaign, tie the points you’re allowing the audience to earn to the badges you’ll be awarding. Badges boost the audience’s engagement because they’re a visual representation of the points they’ve earned. Plus, badges are just more entertaining and fun than points (which are just numbers). Many gamified apps and sites have used badges for high user engagement. For instance, Waze, a very popular driving app, uses ranks, which come with visual badges, as shown. When designing your badges keep in mind the following tips: Badges should be designed to acknowledge specific audience behaviors. Use a limited number of badges so your audience will feel appreciated and valued. If you shower your audience with badges, the badges won’t mean as much. Brand your badge names and icons to your campaign’s theme and content. Create multiple levels within badges, which can be accompanied by points. Leaderboards The points your audience collects can be used to create a leaderboard in your campaign. A leaderboard is a running list of users who have the most points. This kind of friendly competition can act as a motivating factor for audiences to keep returning to your campaign. If executed correctly, leaderboards can be powerful motivators. Here are some tips when designing your own: When you have a large number of players, show just the top players, but give people the option of seeing where he ranks in comparison. Give points and possibly a special badge for the top three players. You could give a separate badge to players who retain their high ranking for a certain period of time. Offer the option for players to receive an alert if they get knocked out of the top positions. If a user is positioned lower than the top ranks, visually show her how far she is to the next position up. Ways of creating customer loyalty Creating loyalty in your audience will not only keep them coming back to your campaign, but also increase the likelihood that they’ll actively promote it to everyone they know. In fact, loyal audiences go on to subscribe to future campaign, actively follow your company’s social media channels, and are more likely to buy from your business. In order to create loyalty, you need to have a relationship with your audience. Relationships convert audiences into customers and spokespeople for your campaign. In the following sections, I offer tips on how to build the kind of relationship that will engender loyalty. Making customer service a priority To create a loyal audience, you need to provide consistently amazing customer service. Your audience will evaluate every interaction they have with your campaign based on the service you provide them. Here are some examples of where this interaction could originate: The contact form on your landing page An email or phone call A tweet directed to your Twitter profile A question posted on your campaign’s Facebook page A direct message received through Instagram or other social media channels Make sure your replies are friendly and that you convey to the user that you hear them and are working to resolve their issue. Your support, regardless of how the audience reaches you, should have the same energetic and positive tone. The replies should aim to solve their problems in a timely fashion. Your campaign’s responses should be engineered to answer questions or address problems quickly, on all platforms. Most people on social media expect a response within an hour. I advise, particularly on Twitter, to aim to respond within half an hour. Polling and questioning Requesting and responding to your audience’s feedback is the best way to build loyalty. The sad fact is that most of your audience won’t give feedback unless they’ve run into a problem with your campaign. For this reason, you want to get ahead of any potential issues and design different ways to actively obtain feedback from your users. This will demonstrate to your audience that you want to hear from them, regardless of whether they had a good experience or a bad one. Also, the responses you get will go a long way toward perfecting your next gamification marketing campaign. Another positive outcome of actively soliciting feedback is being able to identify the reasons audiences are not returning. What’s making them leave? Why are they not wanting to return? On the flipside, you may learn what you’re doing well. What does your audience love about your campaign? Why do they keep coming back? There are few different strategies for getting your customers to give you this feedback: Feedback polls on social media channels: Most social media channels offer forms, polls, and questionnaires that you can send to your followers. Customer satisfaction surveys: Customer satisfaction surveys are a straightforward way to collect feedback from your audiences. Send them out a few days after the campaign’s launch so you can identify any technical or functional issues right away. Requests for reviews: These work really well if your campaign has a mobile app. Typically, it’s better to ask for a customer review after your audience has engaged with your game a few times. You want to give your audience enough time to have familiarized themselves with the campaign. An emoji-themed survey: These surveys are becoming very popular because they allow your audience to give their feedback simply by clicking the emoji that represents their mood. Typically, response rates are far higher than with text-based surveys. Some great online tools, such as Customer Thermometer, shown in the following figure, can help you quickly implement this type of survey in your campaign. Celebrating on social media Make sure that you take the time to celebrate your most loyal audience members on your social media channels. After you’ve given them a voice to express their feedback and experiences, you may want to make them feel special for supporting you. Showcase their thoughts and ideas on your social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. This will not only promote loyalty with your current audiences, but also let other people know that you value your audience. Referring the love One of my favorite methods to encourage loyalty is to offer your audience referral programs. Referral programs reward your audience every time one of their friends joins the campaign. People who love your campaign will naturally want to share it with their friends through word of mouth. A referral program goes one step further and encourages that behavior with incentives for both the referrer and the referred friend. Design your incentive program to: Offer points to both parties (referrer and referred) if they share a special code. Award badges to referrers who hit a milestone of referrals. Create attractive and eye-catching images that your audience can share on their social media accounts.

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How to Create Perfect Gamification Campaign Settings

Article / Updated 10-23-2020

In addition to working out what your gamification campaign will include, you need to decide how your campaign will run. This includes thinking about the demographics, duration, and frequency of your campaigns. This information will help you shape the final shape of your campaign and create a consistent message both for your team and your audience. Choose the right game for your audience Deciding which gaming elements will work with your audience is essential. One method for finding the right elements is to look at the Bartle player types, a classification of game players based on a 1996 paper by Richard Bartle. According to the Bartle player types, there are four different kinds of players, each motivated by a different incentive for playing: Achievers: Achievers are all about points and status. Here are some characteristics of achievers: They want to be able to show their friends how they are progressing. They like to collect badges, trophies, and in-game status. They respond well to incentive schemes, such as air miles. They want to gain points or get to the next level. They like proof of success, such as points, possessions, or prizes. They seek rewards and prestige with advancement in the campaign. Around 10 percent of players fit into this category. Explorers: Explorers want to see new things and discover new secrets. They aren’t as concerned with points and badges. Here are some characteristics of explorers: They value discovery more value than in-game status, such as badges. They’re okay with repetitive tasks as long as they eventually “unlock” a new area of the campaign. They enjoy the surprise element that is possible in a gamification campaign. They want to discover new things; they love to find hidden treasure. They like to dig down and find something new or unknown. Secret pathways and rare finds excite them much more than prizes do. They care more about the gameplay than the end result. Around 10 percent of players fit into this category. Socializers: Socializers want to interact with other people. If you want to appeal to this group, the social interaction elements in your campaign will count more than the campaign’s gamification strategy. Here are some characteristics of socializers: They experience fun in their games through their interaction with other players. They’re happy to collaborate in order to achieve bigger and better things than they could on their own. Their reward is in the relationships formed within your campaign. Around 80 percent of players fit into this category. Killers: Killers have strong competitive instincts. Here are some characteristics of killers: They like scoring points, competing against people, taking part in challenges, winning, and showing off their knowledge. They’re similar to achievers in the way that they get a thrill from gaining points and winning status. What sets them apart from achievers is that killers want to see other people lose. They’re highly competitive; winning is what motivates them. They want to be the best players in your campaign. Less than 1 percent of players fit into this category. To attract killers, include elements such as leaderboards and ranks. Consider having audiences compete against each other if possible. If you know the Bartle player types of your target audience, you’ll be able to meet their needs when designing your campaign. To increase the success of your campaign, look at ways you can attract more than one type into your campaign. There are other demographic factors to consider when developing your next gamification marketing campaign, including the following: Gender: My research consistently shows that gender differences exist when considering the motivations for game playing in marketing campaigns. For instance, female audiences have been found to be less attracted to competitive elements. Male audiences are more likely to enjoy action games. Interestingly, women are more attracted to games that involve long-term relationship building, whereas men tend to respond more to task- and achievement-oriented elements. Avoid gender stereotypes. You could end up alienating your audience with the wrong research data. Age: Your main concern should be if your audience will instinctively know what to do when they get to your campaign. What does your current customer data tell you? A younger, more tech-savvy audience will hit the ground running. If you’re seeking an older audience, you’ll need to make sure to include multiple explanation elements along with a simpler graphics and mechanics. Determine gamification campaign's duration and frequency Consider the longevity of your gamification marketing campaign. How long will your campaign last? This is especially important for gamification campaigns, where you’ve invested huge resources creating a unique marketing vehicle. Ideally, you want your campaign to last long enough for your target audience to engage fully. If your campaign is shorter than one month, you’ll be seriously reducing the likelihood of your audience seeing, understanding, and engaging with the gamification elements you’re marketing. Similarly, you don’t want your campaign to go on more than six months because you run the risk of your gamification elements becoming stale. If a gamification campaign becomes too familiar to your audience, it eventually loses its appeal. Even legacy brands like Coca-Cola and Nike change up their gamification campaigns frequently in order to keep their audiences interested in their marketing messages. When considering the duration of your campaign, keep in mind the following: What’s popular today may not be popular tomorrow. Gamification works best when it’s based on trends, but you need to identify a sensible longevity for those trends. Try to provide a means for getting customer feedback. This can be through forms, chat bots, and social media platforms. Then keep track of public interest in your campaign and make adjustments accordingly. Being able to show your audience you’re listening will produce a positive reaction on social media. Be flexible. Don’t be afraid to end the campaign sooner than you thought, if you identify interest going stale or, worse, you’re getting negative feedback. Figure out what’s working in your current marketing efforts. You may not need to change everything — just adjust anything that’s causing negative reactions. Be innovative. Innovation is what gamification is all about. Be creative with your gamification elements. Pay attention to what’s current. Don’t be afraid to be a trendsetter! After you’ve worked out the ideal duration for your campaign, consider the frequency of it. How often will you bring out a new campaign? Gamification elements are expensive to design and develop, and gamification campaigns can take a lot of effort. All the elements you create — from the animation to the designs to the coding — can be reused over and over again. These elements are assets for your company. The first development will involve the biggest cost. After your first campaign, it will cost considerably less to revamp and recode new campaigns. Think about how you’ll be reusing the gamification elements when developing your first gamification campaign. There are three frequencies I recommend considering: One-off: When the campaign ends, so does the narrative for the gamification elements. When reusing the gamification elements for the next campaign, you’ll produce a brand-new narrative. This approach works well when your audience is exposed to your campaign over longer periods. In this case, a new narrative will reignite their interest in your marketing efforts each time you launch. Series: Just like a TV series, your campaign’s narrative continues from where it left off with the last campaign. This approach can be extremely profitable in marketing terms. Your message is repeatedly pushed to your audience with minimum effort (after the first launch). This approach works for campaigns that are short, leaving your audience wanting more. Seasonal: Here, you deck your campaign with the seasonal themes. The most popular version is Christmas, which has historically been the most engaging time for gamification campaigns. This approach can work for medium to short-term campaigns. It can even work for long-term ones as long as the seasonal theme is incorporated within the campaign rather than treated as a relaunch. The table compares the various frequencies against the gamification models. Determining the Best Frequency for your Gamification Model Game Model Cost Development Time Best Frequency Action Low 1 to 2 weeks Series, seasonal Simulation High 3 months One-off Interactive storytelling Very high 4 to 6 months One-off Adventure Medium 2 to 3 months One-off, seasonal (incorporated) Puzzles Low 2 to 3 weeks Series, seasonal Word-based Low 2 to 3 weeks Series, seasonal Skill-based Medium 1 month Series, seasonal Multi-player High 2 to 3 months One-off Educational High 2 to 3 months One-off, seasonal (incorporated) Role playing High 2 to 3 months One-off

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What Gamification Can Do in Marketing

Article / Updated 10-23-2020

Using gaming elements in your marketing campaign may sound strange at first. But gamification is a highly effective marketing strategy, no matter which industry a brand is in. When you gamify your campaign, your audience will have fun interacting with your brand, which means your company will increase its overall engagement. It’s a win-win situation! The ultimate goal for gamification is to drive your marketing objective to collect big data. You can analyze big data to glean insights that can lead to better decisions and strategic business moves for your company. So, it’s not just about giving your audience a fun experience — it’s about gathering data about your audience while they’re having fun. In the following sections, I explain what exactly gamification is, tell you how you can gamify your marketing, and share some examples of successful gamification marketing campaigns. What is gamification? Gamification is simply the process of applying techniques and concepts usually found in games to something outside of games — in this case, your marketing campaign. Chances are, even if you’ve never heard of gamification marketing before, you’ve experienced a gamification marketing campaign, whether you realized it or not. Gamification can be as simple as incorporating badges or achievement elements. On the other end of the spectrum, you can develop a fully integrated gamification campaign, as when McDonald’s and Hasbro teamed up to create the McDonald’s Monopoly game. Adding gamification elements even to a negative situation can make things a little better. For instance, when Google’s Chrome web browser can’t load a page for some reason, it presents the user with a simple yet highly engaging minigame, as shown. Gamify your marketing Gamification elements can be based off a number of game types that have their own gamification elements, such as trophies, badges, or rewards. In my experience, when marketing content incorporates gamification elements, audience engagement increases. This increase in engagement means that your audience will not only remember your campaign, but also share it with their friends and family on social media. This means you have a bigger potential to increase your brand’s awareness to a far larger audience. When you expose a gamification marketing campaign to your audience, they’ll start to think more about your brand, which can lead to a huge increase in newsletter subscriptions and can even lead to purchases of one or more products or services related to the campaign. The most effective result of gamification marketing is that your conversion rates will spike as audiences become motivated to complete tasks for rewards. Some examples of gamification Here are some examples of gamification from brands you’ve probably heard of: Verizon Wireless: Verizon enjoyed a 30 percent increase in login rates due to its gamification campaign. The company did this by adding leaderboards, badges, and social media integration, among other gamification elements, to its website. With this campaign, Verizon managed to engage with its customers on a much closer level. More than 50 percent of the site’s users participated in the new gamification features. And users who took advantage of the social integration spent 30 percent more time on the site and generated 15 percent more page views than users who used the traditional login method. Volkswagen Group: Volkswagen invited its consumers in China, one of its largest and most important markets, to help the company develop new versions of the “people’s car.” Participants were given gamification tools to help them easily design their new vehicle, and they were able to post their designs online. The designs were then open for others to view and rate. The results were tracked on leaderboards so that contestants and the general public could see how the competing designs were faring. Within ten weeks, the online crowd-sourcing campaign had received more than 50,000 ideas! By the end of the campaign’s first year, at least 33 million people had visited the site, and the general public had chosen three winning concepts. This campaign owes its success to the fact that Volkswagen recognized that participation in a popular business initiative needs to be not only enticing and rewarding but also engaging and fun. Because Volkswagen’s marketing team using gamification, the campaign went viral in China. How gamification differs from other online marketing tactics When I first started consulting on gamification marketing, traditional marketers viewed gamification as just a temporary fad that wouldn’t last. Today, gamification is one of the most profitable forms of marketing worldwide, with engagement from millions of audience members. Gamification marketing can be very profitable and lucrative for your company. Over the years, I’ve helped and witnessed companies from all industries successfully implement gamification elements into their campaigns. In the following sections, I walk you through the advantages of gamification and show you how you can take your user experience to the next level. Looking at the advantages of gamification Gamification provides the answer to problems inherent in traditional marketing. Gamification taps into the basic instinct humans have of wanting to play and compete. It also provides a way for all marketing campaigns to provide real value to their audience and a positive digital experience. When you use gamification techniques, you’ll build brand awareness, drive engagement to your brand, and develop a long-lasting loyalty program. Here are some of the advantages gamification has over traditional marketing: It enables you to put some fun into your brand or message. Gamification incorporates elements of fun and competition in any marketing strategy. This is good news for your brand, because your gamification marketing campaign will actively draw people who want to participate, follow, and share your brand’s message. It enables you to get better and more meaningful feedback. Sadly, we’re all inundated with requests for feedback from websites these days. Because of this, generating meaningful customer feedback for a traditional marketing campaign is rare. If you rely on traditional marketing techniques, you’ll likely have no clear picture of how your audience feels about your company, brand, and campaign. Gamification helps make the process simple by offering a more engaging and fun campaign that increases response rates. It generates an emotional and immediate response from your audience because they respond without thinking about their answer. So, as your audience is being bombarded with requests for feedback, gamification helps your campaign stand out by making the process simple, seamless, and fun. It generates loyalty. Your audience is inundated with all forms of noise — special deals, offers, and advertising messages everywhere they look. In order for your marketing campaign to be successful, it needs to engage customers, retain their interest, and develop loyalty. With so many options aggressively competing for your audience’s attention, this task is becoming more and more difficult. Gamification can power effective customer loyalty programs, creating a more valuable and sustaining customer relationship. When done well, gamification loyalty programs have an impressive impact. It personalizes your audience’s experience of your brand. Gamification marketing can create a more personal experience for your audiences during the campaign. Segmentation and personalization are critical to driving conversion, developing trust, and building customer loyalty. The more you tailor your marketing to your target group, the more effective your campaigns will be. You can create custom game experiences targeted to specific audience segments and then develop these game experiences to your brand values. By doing this, your marketing campaign will connect with your audience on a deeper level. It gives you big data. Big data offers insights from all kinds of structured and unstructured data sources to help improve how companies operate and interact with consumers. Gamification, which allows you to connect with your audience in a more interactive and intimate way, gathers valuable data that can be turned into new insights to create detailed market segments for future campaigns. Gamification creates a lot of data that your company can analyze, especially when users are asked to sign in via social networks where a lot of your audience’s public data can be captured. More interestingly, this data can be integrated to provide context with all the other gamification data you’re storing. It enables you to influence customer behavior. Gamification has a major advantage over traditional marketing campaigns when it comes to influencing customer behavior. A gamification marketing campaign engages universal experiences, such as stimulation and motivation. It drives engagement. If your marketing campaign is engaging, it’ll be worth sharing. Gamification can help drive engagement by getting your audience to share your campaign with their family and friends. Gamification plays on the psychology that drives human engagement — the human desire to compete and improve, as well as wanting to get instantly rewarded. The technology is merely the means to put that psychology to work in the business sphere. It appeals to a younger audience. By promising a fun and engaging experience, your campaign will grab a younger audience’s attention instantly. Younger audiences have been quick to adopt the newer digital and social technology revolutions. This makes gamification an even more important method of marketing if your campaign wants to appeal to young people. Gamification forces your marketing to practice creativity, which is bound to draw younger audiences. It increases reach. No matter what kind of campaign you run, one of the main objectives will always be to gain new customers. It doesn’t matter what market segments you’re targeting or which sector your company works in, increasing your consumer reach will always be a fundamental part of your marketing. The brilliance of gamification marketing campaigns, in which everyday situations are turned into games, is that they’re layered and multifunctional, naturally improving both audience engagement and brand reach. It builds better brand awareness. By using gamification, you can attract new customers when they notice your branding as part of an innovative and fun campaign. Your audience, old and new, will experience your marketing campaign in a fun and interactive way — an experience that will leave your audience more aware of your company and branding. By exploiting rewards, points, ranks, leaderboards, and competition, you can encourage your audience to follow, share, and like your brand on social media. This way, you can increase your reach and, ultimately, your brand awareness. Taking your current user experience to the next level A gamification marketing campaign will trigger emotions that are linked to positive user experience. These emotions can play a very important role in the way you engage with your audience overall. Here are some ways using gamification elements can affect your audience: Giving the user control: Leading your audience toward your desired marketing goals becomes part of the user journey. Nobody likes to be forced to a destination. Most people like to feel in control. This is the core of what gamification is all about. Your campaign will become more like a “choose your own adventure” campaign, which is what’ll make people engage with it. Going on a journey: Gamification elements can help your audience navigate where they’re going in your campaign. People like to know where your campaign is heading and where they are in the process. Consider a simple gamification element like badges: You can see how badges can act as progress maps for your audience. They know where they are in the process and what the next steps are. In a way, these elements help break up the journey your audience is taking, which makes it more manageable and engaging — and more likely that they’ll keep going. Giving a real sense of achievement: Achievement is one of the most powerful driving factors for your audience to remain in your campaign. Whatever they do in your campaign, they’ll want to feel like they’ve achieved something. If you can make them feel a sense of achievement, they’ll keep coming back to your campaign. By using gamification elements such as points or rewards, you can create this sense of achievement at regular intervals. Setting competitive goals: Your audience will be competitive by nature. Most of them will want to push themselves further and harder. By applying elements such as leaderboards, you can convince your audience to come back and try again. Competition is the driving factor behind the popularity of the Nike+ app. Exploring: When you give your audience the freedom to explore, it creates intrigue and excitement, which are two very powerful and positive emotions. Of course, the gamification element should be carefully structured so your audience is neither overwhelmed nor bored. With a combination of levels, strategy, and storyline elements, you can transform any campaign into one that allows your audience to feel like they have room to explore inside your campaign. Giving rewards: People love rewards. Earlier, I explain the importance of creating a sense of achievement. But this sense of achievement should be supplemented with a tangible reward. Consider the Starbucks Rewards program, in which Starbucks offer rewards after a certain number of purchases. Create your rewards in a way that your audience will go out of their way to get their hands on them. Offering exclusivity: Your audience will do just about anything for exclusive gamification elements, such as status levels. Exclusivity creates intrigue and curiosity. Your audience will work hard to achieve that status. This is akin to unlocking the secret level on a video game. Creating collaboration: Another key driver is community and collaboration. Community elements allow audiences to collaborate in order to achieve bigger and better things than they could on their own. If you can make your audience feel like part of a team within the campaign, you’ll create loyalty and a positive user experience.

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10 Benefits to Gamifying Your Marketing

Article / Updated 10-23-2020

For good reason, marketers everywhere are looking for new and innovative ways to reach their target audiences. In fact, this goal has become even more challenging as consumers are turning away more than ever from traditional online advertising. In a recent survey, respondents stated that online ads have little or no influence on their behavior. Gamification can provide the answer to the problems in traditional marketing. Gamification taps into the basic instinct for humans wanting to “play.” It also provides a way for all marketing campaigns to provide real value to the audience, as well as a positive digital experience. Gamification marketing can help build a successful campaign for your company, one in which you build brand awareness, drive engagement to your brand, and develop a long-lasting loyalty program. Build brand awareness By using gamification, you can attract new customers in an original way and draw back old customers when they notice your branding, set against an innovative and fun campaign. Your audience, old or new, will experience your marketing campaign in a fun and interactive way — an experience that will leave your audience happy. Happy audiences instantly spread the word about your brand in the form of social media mentions, as well as word-of-mouth marketing and online reviews. All these scenarios result in a stronger brand awareness than you can achieve in a traditional marketing campaign. By exploiting rewards, points, ranks, leaderboards, and competition, you can encourage your audience to follow, share, and like your brand on social media. This way, with gamification marketing, you can increase your reach and, ultimately, your brand awareness. Increase reach No matter what kind of campaign you run, one of the main objectives will always be to gain new customers. It doesn’t matter what market segments you’re targeting or which sector your company works in, increasing your consumer reach will always be a fundamental part of your marketing. Ideally, every company would have access to a marketing budget that would instantly bring its marketing campaign vision to the required audiences. With an unlimited budget, your market reach could be limitless; however, in the real world, most companies have limitations in terms of how far they can go with their marketing plans. The brilliance of gamification marketing campaigns, in which everyday situations are turned into games, is in creating a layered and multifunctional campaign that naturally improves both audience engagement and brand reach. Here are some of the ways reach can be increased through gamification: Word of mouth: Word-of-mouth marketing is more powerful than ever and it has only increased its dominance as a prominent motivator of social influence. Gamification is one of the most efficient ways to influence word of mouth; as your audience has fun and enjoys your campaign, they’ll talk about and share it. If the game options are developed properly, your audience will have an engaging and fun experience. This increases the chances that they’ll discuss it with people in their lives. Social media: Social media is the avenue by which almost all sharing trends take place. Social media has the unique ability to encourage sharing and even propel marketing campaigns from simply okay to full-on viral. Gamification campaigns tend to do exceptionally well when it comes to going viral. The reason for this is simple: Games are perfect for encouraging social behavior. From incentives and rewards to collaboration and leaderboards, a well-developed campaign can become viral and return tremendous results. Incentivization: As your audience enjoys and engages with your campaign, they’ll need to be incentivized to share it, thereby increasing your reach. With gamification, incentives can take many forms. From awarding user-generated achievements to rewards, you can create the motivation required for your audience to promote your campaign in their social spheres. Instantly appeal to a younger audience Your business can build lifelong audiences if you manage to find ways to make your brand appealing to younger people. As the famous marketing rule goes, “If you brand them while they’re young, they’ll be your customers forever.” As we’ve seen in recent years, younger audiences have been quick to adopt the newer digital and social technology revolutions. This makes gamification an even more important method of marketing if you want your campaign to appeal to young people. Gamification forces your marketing to practice creativity, which in turn creates an engaging and motivational platform for younger audiences. Often obsessive about their phones and any new technology, younger audiences are naturally intrigued by gamification marketing. By promising a fun and engaging experience, your campaign will grab a younger audience’s attention instantly, the way Coca-Cola’s Shake It campaign did. Drive engagement If your marketing campaign is engaging, it will be worth sharing. Gamification can help drive this engagement so your audience can connect with your brand and campaign in a fun and engaging manner. However, there are certain methods you can use to ensure your gamification model drives engagement: Using rewards cleverly: To attract new audiences to your campaign, you need to offer them rewards for playing, purchasing, loyalty, and referrals. Educating audiences: Gamification can help your audience leave the campaign more educated on your business or product. Instead of creating a campaign that simply talks about the message you want to convey, embed the message into the game. This will compel your audience to read and understand the message as they have fun playing for their rewards. Promoting a new product or service: With a fun, informative game, you can introduce your new product or service to both current and new audiences. By installing discounts into the rewards, your audience will actively play until they gain the discount and make a purchase to redeem the reward. Inject fun into your brand To put it simply, gamification makes fun and competition part of a marketing strategy. This is good news for your brand, because your gamification marketing campaign will actually generate fans — people who want to participate, follow, and share your brand. Gamification can inspire user engagement in a more meaningful manner, which in turn fosters loyalty. The best example of this strategy can be seen in Starbucks Rewards. Loyal Starbucks customers can earn points and receive benefits. This entices customers to choose Starbucks over the competition. Gamification forces your marketing team to think of more creative, fun elements for your campaign, which ensures all audiences will have an entertaining and engaging experience with your marketing strategy. By using fun elements in your marketing, you build customer loyalty. Influence customer behavior Gamification has a major advantage over normal marketing campaigns when it comes to influencing customer behavior. A gamification marketing campaign engages universal experiences such as stimulation and motivation, which allows you to influence customer behavior. Gamification’s ability to influence behavior can help you build a stronger and broader social network for your brand, too. For instance, interactive gamification options such as quizzes are a great incentive for sharing with your social connections. The desire to earn rewards will encourage users to ask for help on their social networks, which will spread the word about your campaign and your brand. Accrue big (customer) data Big data offers insights from all kinds of structured and unstructured data sources to help improve how companies operate and interact with consumers. Gamification, which allows you to connect with your audience in a more interactive and intimate way, gathers valuable data that you can turn into new insights to create detailed market segments for future campaigns. Gamification creates a lot of data that can be analyzed, especially when users are asked to sign in via a social network where a lot of your audience’s public data can be captured. More interestingly, this data can be integrated to provide context with all the other gamification data you’re storing. You can also use gamification to better understand how your audience behaves and performs within the campaign. For example, look at how Netflix introduced the era of gamification of TV. By giving viewers an interactive choice of how the story pans out, Netflix was able to gather more information on each audience segment. This information could then be used to improve its future productions. Personalize brand experiences Gamification marketing can customize your brand’s message for your audience, creating a more personal experience during the campaign. Segmentation and personalization are critical to drive conversion, develop trust, and build customer loyalty. The more you tailor your marketing to your target group, the more effective your campaigns will be. You can create custom game experiences targeted to specific audience segments and then develop these game experiences to your brand values. By doing this, your marketing campaign will connect with your audience on a deeper level. Gamification allows for two types of personalization: Audience demographics: Select game options that appeal to the demographics you’re targeting. For example, if you’re aiming for people with young families, a game that they can play together with their kids would be ideal. Audience likes: If your audience share something in common (for example, an activity or type of entertainment), you can customize your game to feature this shared preference. Build customer loyalty Your audience is being bombarded by noise — options, offers, and advertising messages are everywhere. For your marketing to be successful, your campaign desperately needs to engage customers, retain their interest, and more important, develop loyalty. With so many options aggressively competing for your audience’s attention, this task is becoming more and more difficult. Gamification can power effective customer loyalty programs, which creates a more valuable and sustaining customer relationship. When done well, gamification loyalty programs have an impressive impact. Identifying the right gamification strategy with the right rewards will elevate your loyalty program and keep your customers engaged. Here are two tips to elevate your loyalty program: Introduce a competitive element. The idea of gamification is to offer some form of competition to your audience. This could be a leaderboard or badges for audiences to work toward. Introduce elite clubs. Being part of an elite club makes your audience feel like they share a special relationship with your brand, which goes a long way toward building loyalty. In gamification, this elite status is developed as an “achievement.” When customers achieve a particular goal, they become part of that exclusive set of customers with additional benefits. Gather great customer feedback and research Your audience is being inundated with brands and websites requesting feedback. Sadly, it has become rare to generate meaningful customer feedback for a traditional marketing campaign. This leaves you with no clear picture of what your audience feels about your company, your brand, and more important (in the short term), your campaign. Gamification helps make the process simple by offering a more engaging and fun campaign, which increases response rates. Gamification generates an emotional and immediate response from your audience because they respond without thinking about the answer. So, even though your audience is being bombarded with requests for feedback, gamification helps your campaign stand out by making the process simple, seamless, and fun. Focus on the following two areas: Playability: Concentrate on the overall playability of your game. The key here is to have a game that can be picked up easily and one that your audience will want to keep playing. Stay away from advanced 3D graphics and ultra-complex gameplay. Develop a game that is simple enough to appeal to the majority of your audience while maintaining a competitive edge. Rewarding feedback: If you want to encourage feedback, particularly over the long term, enabling your audience to earn points and rewards will be instrumental. Your audience will want to feel that their feedback is earning them privileges or rewards.

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10 Best Gamification Marketing Examples

Article / Updated 10-23-2020

This list highlights 10 of the best gamification marketing campaigns ever produced. Find out why the company produced the campaign, how they developed and promoted the campaign, and how successful the campaign was. These companies have been quite open with their success metrics. Plus, their campaigns were easy to track online, but you don’t need to be a huge multinational corporation to put them to work for you! Each of these gamification models is within the grasp of your company’s marketing goals. Starbucks: Starbucks Rewards In my opinion, Starbucks Rewards is one of the most successful gamification marketing campaigns ever produced. It was intrinsically based around the reward and loyalty programs. Many people already buy coffee on a regular basis, often on their way to work. However, a higher price point and an ever-increasing number of competing coffee shops meant that Starbucks had to work harder to get people to keep coming back. Starbucks needed a campaign that would increase not only brand loyalty, but also repeat visits by customers. To solve this problem, Starbucks created the Rewards app, which rewards members for coming in multiple times over a certain period of time. The brand used gamification tactics to enhance the Starbucks experience. This helped boost brand loyalty as well as sales. For this campaign, Starbucks opted for a mobile and web app where customers would register for Starbucks Rewards. Then every time customers purchased Starbucks products, they earned rewards, which actually looked like cups that were graphically filled in. The gamification marketing campaign didn’t stop there. Starbucks introduced levels — progression through each of the three levels depended on customer loyalty. When customers visited Starbucks stores, they earned upgraded rewards. Examples of rewards included an extra cup of coffee, a birthday present, and even customized offers. As of March 2019, Starbucks Rewards had a staggering 16 million active members, with an 11 percent growth of its user base in the second quarter of 2018. Chipotle: A Love Story Game Chipotle launched a memory game based on its animated short film called A Love Story. The film, which had more than 60 million views at the time of the game’s launch, is a cautionary tale about two young entrepreneurs whose rivalry results in competing fast food empires that sacrifice quality for quantity. The gamification marketing campaign, called A Love Story Game, allowed customers to match real ingredients while avoiding the use of added colors and flavors. The game was consistent with the brand’s overall image of making natural, healthy foods. Chipotle’s gamification marketing campaign cleverly rewarded winning audiences with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for any food item. This is an excellent example of gamification marketing providing an opportunity for customers to interact with your brand while bringing attention to the company but also rewarding them at the same time. As opposed to the Starbucks example (see the preceding section), where the platform was a mobile app, Chipotle went with developing the campaign with HTML5. This meant that their customers could play the game and receive rewards on all their devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and computers. According to internal research, after Chipotle’s gamification marketing campaign, over 70 percent of users reported that they believed the brand used high-quality, whole ingredients, and 65 percent said it made them more likely to trust the company. Also, according to the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, Chipotle was number one in customer loyalty. Chipotle went on to create another gamification marketing campaign after A Love Story Game called Cado Crusher. The campaign, which was launched two weeks before the Super Bowl, required players to collect ingredients to create guacamole for the big game. This concept was tied into Super Bowl parties that might feature guacamole. Nike: Nike+ FuelBand Incredibly, since Nike launched this gamification marketing campaign, it has developed into a worldwide popular gamified sport. The idea was simple: to encourage lifestyle changes by helping Nike’s audience to keep themselves fit. The campaign centers around the Nike+ FuelBand, which is a bracelet with technology that can monitor user movements. By implementing the campaign on a mobile app, Nike was able to take advantage of the mobile device’s native features, which meant its audience could track their progress on a very personal level. Statistics (like the number of calories burned) were displayed to provide feedback to users. The app also collected personal data from users and kept a close update on their physical activity, displaying their latest achievements and overall performance. Ultimately, the app converted the users’ performance into points, rewarding them for their efforts. These rewards came in the form of trophies and badges after completing different levels. Nike’s gamification marketing campaign went one step further and introduced a social element to the game, which undoubtedly helped to expand awareness and demand. Audiences were given the opportunity to challenge friends, which provided a great incentive to share the campaign. Users’ points accumulated based on the distance they traveled. This was then revealed to their community, where everyone could track who was ranked at the top of the leaderboard. Furthermore, when rewards are won, consumers are encouraged to share their results on social media, increasing the brand’s presence and visibility on all social platforms. Encouraging and engaging users to promote your campaign will boost your campaign’s momentum. Within two years of launch, Nike had 11 million Nike+ FuelBand players. The gamification marketing campaign greatly boosted Nike’s customer loyalty. More important, the campaign allowed Nike to collect lots of data over a long period of time; Nike could then use this data to market its products and services directly. M&M’s: Eye-Spy Pretzel The M&M’s Eye-Spy Pretzel app is a good example of how a simple gamification marketing campaign can create a huge impact. I always recommend that you keep your games simple and not make them too difficult or include too many elements. By doing so, you ensure your audience won’t feel overwhelmed or frustrated, which means that they’re more likely to share your campaign. The idea for the campaign came when M&M’s was about to launch a pretzel-flavored version of its popular candy. In order to promote M&M’s pretzel products, the company launched this marketing campaign. The idea was clever: The users had to find a pretzel hidden in an image full of M&M’s. This straightforward puzzle game, which ran solely on Facebook, brought in tens of thousands of new likes for the company. More important, the campaign was shared by thousands of people in a very short period of time. This gamification marketing campaign brought real-life, tangible benefits, including creating user engagement with the brand. At its high point, the campaign resulted in 25,000 new likes on the brand’s Facebook page, as well as 6,000 shares and 10,000 comments. Target: Wish List Target’s gamification marketing campaign was entirely focused on children. The campaign, a mobile app called Wish List, combined gamification with Target’s registries technology to create an interactive shopping list. The campaign, which was presented as a fun way for kids to create their own wish lists, was also an easy way for parents to buy their children gifts. They could also, in turn, share these gift ideas with other relatives. Designed for the holiday season, the users had to navigate through a 3D animated game that takes place in Target’s Toy Factory. The audience would drag-and-drop the toys they wanted to build their holiday wish list and then send the completed list to Santa. Target used a 3D animated gaming platform to create a highly successful gamification marketing campaign. The app was an instant success, with the initial launch generating approximately 75,000 downloads. Over the course of the holiday season, more than 100,000 wish lists were created, made up of 1.7 million total items, which represented a total sales potential of $92.3 million. Target’s research found that 61 percent of its audience used the app multiple times a week, including 31 percent who used the app multiple times a day, generating over a million page visits to Target.com via the app. Citroën: Game of Scroll For the launch of the new World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) season, Citroën unveiled its gamification marketing campaign, called Game of Scroll. This was an adventure-type game that allowed the audience to participate in a car race. The purpose of the game was to scroll as fast as possible to keep your car ahead of the rest and set the best race time. The game, which was designed and developed using HTML5 technology, was accessible on mobile phones, tablets, and computers. The campaign rewarded the top players with one of ten VIP passes for two people to the French leg of the WTCC at the Le Castellet racetrack in France. The campaign also included a social element, where players were encouraged to share their scores and challenge their friends by using the hashtag #GameOfScroll. During its limited run, the campaign enjoyed much international success for Citroën, notably in Morocco, Germany, and Argentina. Coca-Cola: Shake It Coca-Cola is known to be at the forefront of developing creative and innovative product promotions, and it has run several gamification marketing campaigns, all successfully. Shake It was run primarily in Hong Kong, where users were encouraged to download the campaign’s app onto their mobile phones. After they had downloaded the app, they were asked to shake their phones. Although this may sound like a strange choice for a game, the campaign was aimed at teenagers. At the time, the word chok, which means “rapid motion or shake,” was a slang term used exclusively by teenagers in Hong Kong. The campaign only worked while the TV ad aired, at which point the teens had to have the app running and then shake their phones. The players were rewarded with instant prizes and discounts, including real-life discounts at restaurants and also virtual prizes that could be redeemed on other apps. The campaign was an instant success and proved to be hard to resist for the target audience. Coca-Cola aligned the campaign with its mission to bring happiness and optimism to the world. Netflix: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Although Bandersnatch was not launched as a standalone marketing campaign, it was an incredibly innovative gamification campaign, hailed by many as the “gamification of television.” Due to the arrival of Apple’s and Disney’s streaming services, Netflix had to be as innovative as possible if it wanted to maintain its dominance in the market. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was the answer to Netflix’s stronghold problem. The premise of an interactive TV movie may sound wrong, because the whole idea is that viewers want to “switch off.” But Bandersnatch proved that audiences wanted to become fully immersed in the world of an engaging story. In fact, the feedback received was that a gamified movie actually helped to enhance the viewers’ experience. This campaign, which is essentially a Choose Your Own Adventure–style game, became so ambitious that Netflix opted for a feature-length runtime as opposed to the standard length of a Black Mirror episode. Set in 1984, Bandersnatch is the story of a young video game coder named Stefan, who sets out to build a multiple-choice game based around a science-fiction book. The viewers also follow the multiple-choice formula, where they have multiple options to choose from on how the story plays out. The worldwide success of Bandersnatch has, according to Netflix, ensured that gamified TV will continue because it looks to be a potential gateway to a higher level of audience engagement, with great potential to be an extremely lucrative medium. Nissan: CarWings Electric cars are exploding into the automotive market with exciting and technologically advanced features. The whole premise of electric cars provides an excellent platform for car manufacturers to initiate innovative gamification marketing campaigns — and this is precisely what Nissan has done with CarWings. Nissan released its Leaf electric car with a video game tracker, which is displayed on its 7-inch LCD screen. The campaign creates a competition with all other drivers and rewards the winner with the Platinum Leaf Cup. Based on their performance, drivers can then earn medals, from bronze to gold, and eventually reach the coveted platinum cup. Drivers can see how many miles they’re getting per kilowatt hour of energy, and how they stack up against others drivers in their country and around the world. The competitive desire of drivers will naturally lead them to better driving habits, which is exactly the message Nissan wants to promote with the electric car. According to Nissan, the gamification marketing campaign is a success, with half of Leaf drivers opting to participate in CarWings. From Nissan’s research, one of the top features of the campaign has been the ability of drivers to view their position in worldwide rankings of driving metrics. Magnum: Pleasure Hunt Magnum, an international chocolate company, wanted to create a novel campaign for the launch of its ice cream bar, Magnum Temptation. Its gamification marketing campaign was centered around an adventure game similar to Nintendo’s Super Mario. However, the campaign went one step further and integrated the playing field across pages on the Internet. The players, who can select from several playing themes (such as hand gliding), are encouraged to accumulate “bonbons” in order to build their ranks on a leaderboard. Cleverly, Magnum raised awareness of this gamification marketing campaign through social media — so much so that the URL managed to become the most tweeted one around the world in one day. On a final note, Magnum’s campaign team not only advertised its product, but also provided a window of exposure to its partner brands, guaranteeing them advertising.

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