Games – who doesn’t like them? It’s in our nature to like them – they’re designed that way! Games are highly engaging, in some cases to the point of addiction. Applying the principles of gaming (a.k.a. gamification) in marketing can help you to make an impact on your target audience and to stand out amongst the competition.
What is Gamification?
Gamification is the process of integrating game elements into non-game contexts, such as websites, online communities, Learning Management Systems, or corporate intranet, and its purpose is to boost engagement.
One prime example of gamification is present across all social websites where you have to build a profile. You can find this most prevalent on dating apps and career development websites. For example, LinkedIn has a 15 step profile status system where the more information you add to your profile the closer you get to achieving your professional goals. Does getting an “All Star” status help your professional career or is it just a sneaky way by which a company consensually extracts data from you, either way, it is a subtle use of gamification that people mostly do not notice.
The Benefits of a Gamification Strategy
Another example of this would be Bumble and Tinder, their edit your profile section has a tracker around your image telling you how your profile is only 60% done, and the more information you add the more matches you will get. Reminds me of a parent bribing their child to finish off their homework to get more iPad time.
The term, Gamification Marketing, was initially seen as a buzzword when it was first introduced in 2010, but it has stood the test of time. Even though gamification was formerly a mystery to most marketing professionals, with improved functionality of various software platforms, it became much easier for agencies to understand its potential.
Below is a list of some of the advantages that gamified marketing can bring to your campaigns.
Without a doubt, games are more engaging than still ads or even videos. The whole marketing process can feel forced at the audience’s end, but when the aspect of gaming is introduced, they feel more excited and engaged in the process. At times, they might not even realise the true intent behind the gamified process of marketing, and this makes their interest more organic.
- Data Collection
Gamification provides access to user information because if users think they will win something in exchange for their data, they’re more likely to submit it. The company and its goals determine how much information is collected, which they can later use for additional marketing initiatives. With privacy issues being among the top concerns for private individuals and businesses alike, games can be a way to collect user data with consent. You can also offer rewards in exchange for user information specifically, as well as the rewards they win through the gamified process.
- Increased Purchase Intent
Gamification improves buyer intent by 169% more than conventional video ads. Games captivate players and encourage them to come back by offering prizes for their participation. After loyalty programs, gamification is the second-best way to increase your audience’s purchase intent.
- Wide Reach
Games have become a regular part of life for many people – 80% of smartphone users play games on their phones and more than 50% of them do so daily, spending about 1-2 hours playing each day. This audience is almost evenly split between male and female players, with females making up 48% and males, 52%. The average age of players is 36 years. Since games are already so prevalent in people’s lives, why not extend this experience to your marketing campaigns?
One of the best benefits of gamification is the fun of it all. As they say, your first impression is your last one and I’m sure you don’t want to make a boring first impression. Wanting to participate in games is part of human nature, as I said. When we play games, we release feel-good chemicals in our brains – wouldn’t it be nice for your audience to associate your business with this response? It sounds like a win-win situation to me.
How to Keep Customers Happy
The key to having happy customers is all about giving. In a way, whatever you do will never be enough. The sad truth is that to keep customers happy, you need to prove your worth as a business every single day because, in your customers’ eyes, you are only as good as your last project. One bad result and everything you did before will become irrelevant. Does this put a lot of pressure on businesses, especially small ones? Yes. Is it fair? Once again, yes. Running a business is about exceeding your clientele’s needs and expectations – it’s part of the job. The good news is that, at the end of the day, it will all be worth it. So, I now present you with some ways to keep your customers happy while celebrating customer’s day this year.
How to Gamify Marketing Campaigns
Gamifying marketing campaigns can seem like a heavy ordeal, but it can be easy to execute – it all depends on how much gamification you want to include. Below are a few simple ways that you can gamify your next marketing campaign.
1. Loyalty Programs
Did you know that a 5% increase in your client retention rate can increase your profitability by up to 95%? But far too frequently, businesses opt to prioritise luring in new customers rather than maintaining their current clientele. 75% of customers believe they would switch brands if they found a better loyalty programme and, according to a study by Loyalty Lion, 52% of consumers prioritise and use the brands for which they have points and prizes available in their accounts. Your loyal customers are the ones who will take your business to greater heights, so make sure you take care of them well.
If loyalty programmes seem too costly for your business, try the system of badges. You can encourage loyal customers by giving them a badge for their contribution to your business. You can give clients badges for completing tasks – for instance, Grammarly rewards authors who use their service frequently with badges like “Goal Crusher.”
3. Contests or Giveaways
A fantastic approach to increase the exposure of your company is to hold a giveaway or contest – they are a cheap way to motivate people to engage with your business. With a contest or giveaway, business owners can accomplish objectives like increasing their social media following, raising brand awareness and product interest, expanding their email list with qualified leads, increasing website traffic, and improving revenues. My favourite example is image captioning contests on Instagram – I love the fact that someone can win because of their good sense of humour. We need more laughter in the world, so rewarding humour is a great start!
4. Instagram Filters
Instagram filters are a type of game and the chances of them going viral are very high. They are a one-time investment with huge potential, and they’re an excellent way to brand yourself on the platform. Even though there are a lot of questionable filters out there, you can make sure the content of your filter is relatable and something that everyone would love to play around with. Augmented Reality (AR) filters are computer-generated effects that are overlaid over photos of the actual world. With the help of a camera, AR filters can add a layer of imagery to the image’s foreground or backdrop. You can now create your own Facebook and Instagram augmented reality filters with the help of Facebook’s in-house tool, Spark AR Studio. Additionally, Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store provide the Spark AR Studio Player for iPhones and Android devices, respectively. You may need extra help to create AR filters, so find someone experienced on Upwork.
5. Virtual Currency
Don’t worry – I’m not going to suggest you make your own cryptocurrency. But you could create a virtual currency that can only be used in your store. This is an incredible way to keep people coming back because, in many cases, there will be some leftover balance after checkout which will entice customers to return. An excellent example of this is Kohl’s cash. They state, “Your Kohl’s Cash will be based on your total amount spent on merchandise after all discounts are applied, but before tax is applied. The more you spend, the more Kohl’s Cash you’ll earn and the more savings you’ll enjoy.” A wicked way to keep customers coming back while rewarding them at the same time.
Let’s look at some more good examples of gamification in marketing.
During the difficult days of the pandemic, this airline came up with an interesting marketing campaign that rewarded people for staying in the same place – a novel concept for a travel company. Customers had to click the “I’m home” button on the S7 website to disclose their geolocation. If they refrained from travelling for a while, they received 100 miles to use before the end of 2021, once travel resumed. This scheme not only encouraged people to stay put during the pandemic, but it also promised business for the airline once it was over.
3. McDonald’s Peri-Peri Fries
I probably talk too much about McDonald’s, but I honestly can’t help it as their marketing team continues to come up with excellent ways to promote themselves. Even after years of being in the business, their marketing strategy is unbeatable. Until now, I have talked about digital variants of gamification but this one is both physical and digital. Teenagers in Hong Kong can download a free branded app to their phones – they must then shake their phones while the app is running to win deals and gifts from sponsors like McDonald’s. Interesting, isn’t it? The concept of winning financial rewards must be exciting for kids and teenagers that aren’t yet earning their own money.
I hope this article helped you understand the possibilities for gamifying your marketing experience. Even the simplest of gamification elements can have a significant impact on your audience, and if you want to take things further and create a comprehensive gamified experience, the possibilities are endless.
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