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Getting gamification right

Blog

Mar 11 2021

As we spoke about in last week’s blog, gamification can effectively change your audience’s mindset towards important but seemingly dull activities. However, the way that gamification is applied can vary wildly, and its efficacy hinges on your understanding of your audience and the strategic choice of game mechanics to most successfully affect their view of the activity.

At Tag, we help companies implement gamification, from full game development to gamification strategy and here are our 6 tips for getting it right.

1. Start by laying out your expectations

Clarify the original purpose of the product before deciding what type of game you will design. Keep things simple. Elements of gamification should be subtle so that the fun comes through without the user’s recognizing the point that any sort of game’s going on. Rather than creating a game, gamification implements game mechanics to influence user behavior. For example, LinkedIn uses a simple progress bar to encourage users to complete their profiles.

2. Understand what makes a game fun

There are four fundamentals you need to ensure your game is fun.

  1. Goals – create purpose and offer players satisfaction when they succeed
  2. Rules – make the game a challenge
  3. Feedback – show players how well they are doing in meeting the goal
  4. Voluntary Participation – the game mechanics should make users want to play

3. Build on player-centered design

Player-centered design evaluates design by comparing efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction and engagement. Compared to user-centered design, which focuses on usability, player-centered design focuses on what makes you want to use it.

Failed gamification usually results from misfocused design foundations. For example, technology or data-driven gamification may undervalue human psychology. Although game mechanics are important, more subtle elements that appeal to human nature – such as competition and collaboration – underpin success.

4. Identify your players’ motivational drivers

We have intrinsic motivations that come from within us, such as pride in our achievements, and extrinsic motivations that come from outside, such as rewards. Common intrinsic motivators include collecting elements, connecting with a community, meeting a set goal, feedback and reciprocity.

Often, gamification is used to drive intrinsic motivations. Your audience likely already knows the extrinsic rewards they will receive if they do something, such as a lower price, or a free gift, but if there is little to no intrinsic motivation, they may ignore them. By engaging your audience’s internal sense of competition, pride, and so on, you can increase the returns they will receive from performing the activity in question.

5. Pick your game mechanics

Game mechanics are triggers used to engage your audience. The aim is not to manipulate users, but about motivating them. There is a long list of possible game mechanics that can motivate players, but some common examples include: leaderboards, loss aversion, rewards, levels/tiers, and countdowns. Game mechanics should be chosen based on how well they fit with the identified business objectives, target audience and player’s experience.

6. Iteration

Gamification is an iterative process. After initial development, it should be tested with players, and then amended until it satisfies the components that players really love. Monitoring, measuring and managing are a key to success.

Whether you are looking to implement gamification now, or just want a better understanding of how it could benefit your business, schedule a call with Tag to discuss how we can support you and your players.

Related reads:

Level up: How gamification drives customer engagement

Creating lasting brand loyalty through connected customer experiences

Redefining loyalty: Metrics that shift the dial

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