“Gamification will be exposed for the gimmick it is, but marketers will still benefit from selective uses of it.” – David Berkowitz of 360i *
Gamification has emerged as a major trend in digital marketing. Unfortunately, we see a lot of points, badges, and leaderboards that serve no purposes beyond gamification.
Gamification for gamification’s sake is a gimmick. However, when used as a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself, gamification is a powerful tool. Here are three objectives reachable through selective use of gamification:
1. Drive awareness with Facebook’s word-of-mouth channels.
Facebook ushered in the Year of the Verb by introducing its new Timeline and Ticker features. In the past, the only verb available to brands was like. Consumers like fan pages or web content.
Now, brands can use social apps to encourage fans to rate recipes, win prizes, earn badges, and more … and those actions are visible to fans’ friends through the Ticker and Timeline.
(We covered Ticker and Timeline in our 2012 Facebook outlook.)
Plus, good ol’ fashioned sharing of content to the news feed is still viable. Don’t discount the power of ideas. People love to show off content they’ve personally created, especially when they earn points for collecting votes from others!
2. Build affinity through engaging user experiences.
The world is a busy, distracting place. That’s especially true on Facebook where your brand is competing for attention with baby pictures, party invitations, and Farmville. How do you convince consumers to spend time with your brand?
Gamification tactics keep consumers engaged with your brand. A quick example: We developed a gamified social app for Cox Communications that let fans interact with photos of classic cars in exchange for points and chances to win prizes.
The campaign delivered 6+ minutes of engagement per visit! When was the last time a sweepstakes app or television commercial could claim that?
3. Create brand loyalty through rewards programs.
In a recent survey of Facebook users who’d liked a brand, 67% expected to be eligible for exclusive offers. It was the No. 1 reason fans liked a page!
Hey, why fight it? If consumers show their loyalty by liking your brand, reward them by throwing a coupon their way. Just make sure you’re rewarding actual fans and not just feeding coupon clippers and deal seekers.
Points, levels, and leaderboards are all tools for identifying and rewarding your biggest fans. It works in Facebook apps. And it works on content or e-commerce sites using Facebook OAuth. The more fans comment, share, and buy, the better the prizes!
What’s your take? Is gamification a gimmick or a legit marketing tactic?