Gamification is the use of game play mechanics or non-game applications, particularly consumer-oriented web and mobile sites, in order to encourage people to adopt the applications.
Gamification works by making technology more engaging, and by encouraging desired behaviours, taking advantage of humans' psychological predisposition to engage in gaming. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, or reading web sites.
Facebook at the forefront
- The phenomenon of gaming, particularly Farmville, on Facebook has been something of a surprise success.
- The statistics speak for themselves:
- 53% of Facebook users play games
- 19% say they are addicted
- 69% of Facebook gamers are women
- 56 million people play daily
Crossing into business
- It’s a phenomenon that has inevitably been latched on to by marketers who have seen the potential benefits of tapping into the growing “gamification” of our lives.
Big brands getting in on the act
- Big brands also understand the need for game-like connections. Traditional advertising continues to lose effectiveness with younger consumers, and customer acquisition costs remain stubbornly high.
- Interestingly, 30% of gamers “like” real world brands. Some of the world’s biggest brands have taken notice of how game mechanics can help their strategies. Airlines, hotels, and credit card companies all understand our desire to be rewarded and to achieve status and have recognised that gaming is just making it more of an adventure, and more social. The scale of the social gaming is such that, according to TechCrunch, Google has invested US$100M in the social gaming behemoth Zynga and is preparing to launch Google Games in the very near future.
The next frontier
- In 2011, watch out for major media companies and consumer goods brands launching gamified experiences. Expect to see the most innovation in finance, travel and TV.
- A Farmville equivalent will become a useful teaching and/or business simulation and learning tool in the enterprise; perhaps a user-powered cooperative. Companies like www.wisestep.com[Beta] are also pushing the boundaries of traditional business networking sites like LinkedIn by adding a gaming element that encourages and rewards interaction.
- 2011 will be a very exciting year for gamification and customer engagement overall. From small start ups working on energy consumption to the world’s biggest media properties, tools like points, badges, leader boards and challenges will be increasingly deployed to create emotional and brand loyalty.
Gamification was originally published in Future Perspective, a Burson-Martellar newsletter.
Download Future Perspective (pdf, 548 Kb)