UX and Gamification Techniques: The key to Increase Engagement

Posted on
October 5, 2020

How do you turn a boring task into an enjoyable experience?

Making users have fun with your brand is a must because the Internet is full of content that generates insubstantial experiences. Perhaps necessary, useful, new, but often trivial. Experiences that leave no trace and lack intensity don't increase engagement.

Gamification is the process of turning the way people consume content into a game. In other words, they assume a player’s role by interacting in an entertaining and funny way with playful content.

Gamification consists of using game mechanics in non-playful environments in order to transfer positive values ​​common to all games to your brand, which is a very powerful engagement tool and also creates loyalty.

In the context of marketing, gamification techniques generate a feeling of pleasure in users when carrying out activities that normally turn out to be monotonous and not stimulating. In this way, companies achieve a higher level of customer involvement in their marketing and sales content.

This occurs because the focus of gamified content is achieving optimal user experience during the buyer journey. The more fun users have the greater their commitment to the brand. This level of commitment enhances customer loyalty, and they may even become brand ambassadors, reducing your cost per acquisition (CPA) and the frequency of sales.

In addition, depending on the gamification technique you use, it can have a powerful social diffusion effect, as players (customers) invite other people to join and participate in the game (brand content).

Why does gamification affect UX?

In general, people respond well to entertainment and learning through games (scores, competition with others, rules, levels) to retain users with a product or service, a good strategy is to keep users attached to your content.

In other words, gamification is about turning a tedious process into something entertaining and engaging, helping users to achieve a goal in a more playful way. But it’s not that easy.

Gamification itself won’t create enough engagement. Your product or service must solve real problems and be relevant to your audience, have a great design, deep psychological concepts, among other elements.

People like challenges and your users are not the exception. They want to see progress towards a final goal: putting intermediate tasks, scores and phases. Also, it helps people compare themselves with competitors and encourages them to reach a goal. For example, in industries like e-commerce, placing intermediate points in a purchase process helps users know how far they have gone toward reaching their goal of purchasing a product.

Challenge your users with games

Gamification benefits 

As people are competitive by nature, using game mechanics to achieve specific objectives is a way to achieve a unique experience. Make your customers feel like heroes in their own story. You can add challenges that users overcome little-by-little and at their own pace.

Additionally, you can use medals, points and leaderboards to create engagement. Specifically, gamification will give your business the following benefits: 

  • It transmits the company culture and helps to retain users. A committed company in doing things differently is sending a message not only to its users but also to its workers and competitors.
  • It increases motivation and work performance by interacting in a more creative environment.
  • It improves productivity and there’s no secret that we are more productive when we feel motivated.
  • It encourages creativity and strengthens communication processes.
  • Gamification introduces innovative dynamics and transmits your brand in a playful way.
  • It helps to identify different targets and generate big data. Gamification tools generate a large amount of data through interactions between users and the system.

How to apply gamification elements to your products and services

Gamification alone is not enough to generate results. You have to assess how to apply it to your brand with clear criteria for achieving your business goals. For this reason, you should consider the following tips to make your brand stand out:

  • Know your audience. Before creating a gamification strategy, you have to be clear about who you are targeting. Although we all love to play, the type of game that works with millennials is different from the kind of game that works with other generations. If your game includes quizzes or trivia questions, you’ll have to take into account the most relevant topics for your audience after some research. 
  • Research. It is essential to know what your audience likes and what your competition is doing. Look for other gamified experiences or games that target the same segment. How do they work? What kind of rewards do they offer? What elements are working well? From this information, you can develop a series of good practices to design your own gamification experience.
  • Set clear goals. Gamification is part of your marketing strategy, and as such, it has to respond to the general objectives of your business. Make sure your objectives are clear and you know what you want to achieve with gamification, and how you’re going to measure it. In most cases, the game experiences include internal analytics that allows us to obtain statistics on user participation, such as the time spent in each level or the number of visits.
  • Establish incentives. For users to participate actively, they must have a benefit. Within the game mechanics, this benefit takes the form of rewards. For example, you can offer samples of your product, useful content or promotional coupons. Remember your platform must give rewards for fulfilling objectives within the game, for instance, badges. In addition to the research you've done in the previous section, you may want to survey your audience to learn what types of rewards they are most interested in.
  • Don't complicate your life. In general, we live in an environment overloaded with stimuli, so our attention span is quite short and if your users cannot quickly find out what the game is about and how to participate, they will most likely quit. It is also necessary that the levels are short enough that the players do not leave them in the middle. Remember that, sometimes, the best games are addictively simple (like Tetris, Pacman, Angry Birds).
  • Set deadlines. To develop and execute your gamification strategy effectively, you need to set milestones and deadlines. To keep things running smoothly, it's a good idea for marketing, creative, and technical teams to work together to clarify expectations and logistics.
  • Don't be afraid to evolve. Add virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, etc. New technologies bring a lot of new options to create interactive experiences and keep your audience hooked. Don't hesitate to try new things and lose your fear of failure. After all, making mistakes and learning is the only way forward.

Practical tips to include gamification in your marketing strategy

In practical terms, how do you implement gamification? Gamification is a pleasant process for users and profitable for companies. But, for achieving the perfect mix between the needs of users and business, you must take into account the following factors:

  • Set pre-defined objectives and rewards. Your users must know the “rules of the game” and be clear about what exactly they will achieve with the game.
  • Customer-centric. The gamification strategy must revolve around the tastes and interests of your customers, not your business. The more value you provide to users, the more value they will return to the brand.
  • Entertainment. Entertainment is the foundation of gamification. A person who has fun when consuming your content is a loyal user, promoting your brand with their friends and consuming your service continuously.  
  • Simplicity. Gamified content is easy to understand and easy to consume. If users notice a certain level of complexity, they will not even choose to try it. That's why intuitive and friendly content is so important.
  • Percentage of completion. This is a strategy, in which individuals need to complete the baseline requirements to reach 100% completion. These achievements unlock specific milestones (rankings) to show your awesomeness to the whole community. Having progress visibility is addictive for many people and implementing these kinds of strategies will increase the number of users engaged with your products.
  • Activity counts. Tracking actions performed and assigning a value to them is a way to increase engagement. The more actions or steps your user takes, the higher the value.
  • Present graphical elements and percentages. Showing the individual's performance compared to the whole community is an incentive to improve in the game. The more important it is for that individual to be on top of the game, the harder they will work to improve their performance.

Finally, measure your results to check the effectiveness of this strategy and determine what works and what doesn't. Define which channels are worthwhile to promote and share your content, and don’t underestimate feedback. Users like to give feedback, so propose new game mechanics and dynamics that make them interact with your brand continuously. So, create tasks or activities that develop new skills for users. Do not be afraid to risk, innovate and have fun!

Examples of gamification and big brands

EBAY. eBay is one of the largest companies in terms of e-commerce and it developed a training program based on gamification techniques for preparing its employees differently.

This game-based learning platform allowed Ebay’s new employees to take a series of online courses to develop certain technical skills, personal competencies, and general knowledge of the company. The simple fact of interacting and even accessing the platform gave them reward points and, as with any video game, more points, better rewards. And it allows the company to keep track of employees and their commitment.

LinkedIn. In the early days of LinkedIn, people rarely filled out their user’s profiles due to poor visual feedback of progress. However, after implementing a profile progress bar, LinkedIn increased its completion rate significantly.

Wikipedia. The reason users contribute to Wikipedia is partly that they believe in the purpose of making the world a better place by spreading knowledge for everyone and having a purpose, to make them participate in this platform.

Starbucks. Starbucks was able to retain and win millions of customers thanks to a simple star system. How? Each time a user consumed a coffee, they accumulated stars that they could exchange for prizes.

Nike. Nike developed the Nike + mobile application, which aimed at amateur and professional runners who wanted to keep track of distance covered, speeds reached, calories burned, among other metrics. With this data, each runner can compete against other users of the application or against themselves to improve their achievements.

Volkswagen. Currently, we seek to be as technological as possible, we make use of virtual reality or augmented reality, but the truth is that not all gamification has to be digital. The joke is to turn any process into something fun that allows us to play. Volkswagen got it pretty well when they put up some amazing: musical stairs.

Let’s play!

Correct implementation of gamification strategies allows us to go from mere connectivity to engagement, from a monologue to a conversation with users and unique experiences. It enables users to engage with the brand by seeking a reward, which translates into greater loyalty and the generation of stimulating experiences for them.

Gamification is more than adding elements like leaderboards, points and badges. It’s a careful evaluation of what motivates users to engage with your platform. Gamifying a digital product is not a panacea. If after the playful effect there is no value proposition, users will end up leaving. 

If you want to add new ideas to your business, reach out and chat with the PUNCHY team!

Posted in
October 10, 2020