If you've ever collected points or miles with a loyalty program, ran from imaginary zombies within an app, or completed your LinkedIn profile just to reach that all-star 100 percent, you've experienced gamification.
Gamification today is a major tool in making the user experience more valuable and engaging. While you may not notice it, gamification has grown significantly in the past few years. The market was valued at $6.8 billion in 2018 and will grow a projected 32 percent to $40 billion by 2024.
So, what is gamification, why does it work so well, and how does it appear?
Gamification is the concept of using game-design elements in nongame situations to make them more fun. It works by encouraging users to engage in desired behaviors by showing a path to mastery and inclination to engage in games and competition.
Gamified situations typically involve some type of reward for a desired action, and the ability to use that reward for a prize or privilege. For example, by purchasing a plane ticket with your frequent flyer account attached, you gain extra miles, which opens the door to a new membership level.
Gamification implements game elements, such as points, rewards, badges, competition and leaderboards, with the possibility to level up in any situation. These small tokens encourage users to get the next reward, compete with one another, and build status and pride through achievements.
All of these motives and principles are built on basic human psychology, like introducing positive reinforcements to strengthen our motivation to repeat the behavior.
According to “Gamification by Design” co-author Gabe Zichermann, “gamification is 75 percent psychology and 25 percent technology.”
Motivation, Ability and Trigger
There are three main emotions to evoke for gamification to work: motivation, ability, and trigger.
Gamification in everyday situations works great as it plays on our very human motivation, such as being rewarded, driving to explore, fear of missing out and competing with our peers.
It often breaks down bigger tasks into smaller actions, increasing our sense of ability to do them. For example, in the 0 to 5K running app, the first exercise is to walk for 20 minutes, which is an activity many runners can easily achieve.
The third component is the trigger, which is placed in the path of motivated users when they feel the greatest excess in their ability, hence they're more likely to take the next step.
Gamification in Practice
In 2019, gamified experiences were found anywhere companies wanted to drive others to complete a desired action. This often appeared in mobile applications and customer loyalty programs, but also drove employee performance and satisfaction. Let's look at the most common use cases:
Keeping employee satisfaction and engagement high is no easy feat. This is why competitions and games can be an effective motivator in almost any work environment. Take, for example, Amazon.com, which has a notoriously bad reputation for employee satisfaction in its warehouses. Amazon has implemented games for repetitive tasks such as packing boxes. These activities were imposed on a virtual environment and awarded for speed and quantity. We've yet to see whether the gamification here will help employee engagement or turn the warehouse into an even more competitive and manipulative environment.
Whether it's language, coding, fitness or weight loss, transformative learning journeys have had huge success using gamification. In applications like Duolingo, Code Academy, and Noom, gamified progress has helped millions of people to engage better and learn more. Journeys throughout are awarded with badges, progress meters and competition boards for added motivation.
Customer relationships and engagement can be significantly increased by making the journey more like a game and less like a purchase.
Extraco Bank in Texas has tested a gamified process to teach its customers about the benefits the bank can offer. The bank's conversion rate rose from 2 percent to 14 percent for customers who switched to a bonus banking account from their free checking account.
Teleflora, a floral wire service, gamified its entire store. The retailer awarded points for a wide range of user actions, such as product reviews, comments and responses to other customer queries. Users were awarded badges and could compete for a spot on the leaderboard. The results speak for themselves: Teleflora experienced a 105 percent increase in Facebook referrals, a 10-fold increase in the number of pictures and videos uploaded, and an improved conversion rate by 92 percent. This is a great example of successful gamification in e-commerce.
Gamification uses very human motivation to trigger action in a digital environment and is all around us. We can go on endlessly with examples. Now, we want to hear from you: What's your favorite gamified experience?
Steven Lin is co-founder and CEO of Gojoy, a social commerce community. Gojoy is the only marketplace where every vendor and shopper share in a portion of revenue, on the hour, every hour.
Steven Lin is co-founder and CEO of Gojoy, a social commerce community. Steven has been an LA-based tech entrepreneur and investor for over 20 years prior to joining Gojoy.
Gojoy is the only marketplace where every vendor and shopper share in a portion of revenue, on the hour, every hour. Using blockchain technology, Gojoy created Joy Coin, a digital asset earned by shoppers with each purchase, which can be used to make purchases on Gojoy, redeemed on its platform, or exchanged for other digital assets on the CBX exchange.