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There is no doubt in the fact that we learn best through interactive and playful measures? In digital marketing where you need to educate and convince your audience with the brand message and offerings, the same principle remains effective. Gamification is a key digital marketing strategy which utilizes these interactive and playful elements to boost customer engagement.
Gamification refers to the use of game elements in other contexts outside of games. For example, scores, badges, rewards, leaderboards, etc. are basically gaming elements that can be utilized to create a competitive environment to boost user engagement for a website.
Here in this blog, we will explain various gamification elements that can be utilized as part of a digital marketing strategy. But before that let us define a little the role of gamification for initiating the digital marketing game.
What is The Role of Gamification in Ensuring Better Results for Digital Marketing?
There are certain ways game-like competitive environment can be created with some elements to the benefit of your digital marketing strategy. Here we are going to explain a few ways gamification can ensure better results for digital marketing.
- Improve the user experience: The most significant benefit of gamification in the context of digital marketing is how it can boost participation. The game-like elements like scoring with every purchase, quizzes and contests can ensure voluntary user engagement leading to increased and frequent sales.
- Reaching a wider audience with marketing messages: Gamification apart from directly impacting sales and customer engagement also helps to reach out to a wider audience with brand messages. Creating brand awareness is a key benefit of using gamification elements in digital marketing.
- Give your social media presence more spice: There is no doubt that the social media platforms make the most important channel for today’s marketers worldwide.
- Through gamification elements, it is extremely easier to boost engagement and participation of social media followers and reach a wider audience. The interactive and fun elements of gamification just fit into the fleeting attention span of the social media audience.
Key Ways to Make Use of Gamification
Many effective and widely used gamification elements are popularly utilized by digital marketers across websites, mobile apps and social media pages to boost user engagement, business conversion and brand awareness. Here we have picked a few of these elements for a brief explanation.
Badges come as a widely used gamification element across various platforms and websites. Though they have now become a little commonplace, you can easily boost loyalty by offering a badge-earning system against purchases or certain in-app activities.
Digital badges are offered as visual accolades referring to some accomplishments, quality, and skills. This widely used to encourage users to complete specific actions.
It is often used in conjunction with a point system recognizing those who finished certain desirable actions. Digital badges are also used to establish trustworthiness and reliability of brands and products.
Example: Certain e-commerce stores and marketplaces use digital badges like “verified seller” to establish the reliability of the respective brand. There are hundreds of game apps that use digital badges to relate the skill level of the player.
Different Badges can also be offered based on earned loyalty points and frequency of usage.
Reward point is a key gamification element that can be implemented in a wide variety of ways.
You can offer real value in terms of promotional offers or discounts or can just make it an element representing community appraisal. For example, in Quora, a user’s opinion can get downvotes or upvotes based upon the popularity and credibility of the answer.
Reward points can also be linked to purchase value and redeeming the earned points in the form of discounts can be facilitated.
Example: Reward points as a gamification element can be directly linked to the purchase amount or volume in eCommerce stores or business websites or mobile apps with a storefront.
For example, in a food ordering app Zomato, ordering foods from certain restaurants can help a user earn Piggybank coins that in future orders can be partially liquidated to bring down the cost of an order.
The same app also offers Zomato points against undelivered orders or orders that left customers dissatisfied. This point can be liquidated entirely against a fresh order initiated through the app.
Contests are very popular and frequently used gamification tool. Contests among users centered on user-generated contents are very popular in social media channels. When users feel attached and find the competition amusing thanks to competition with fellow-users, it helps marketers to create brand awareness and boost loyalty.
For example, a contest among users among their real-life photographs showcasing a product can help a brand generate a lot of engagement in quick time.
Contests are rolled out by brands as part of their gamification based digital marketing strategy to drive user engagement in a short span of time. It is often utilized to penetrate a wider audience with branded merchandise or applications rolled out as part of a campaign.
The “Shake It” campaign of Coca Cola is an excellent example of implementing this gamification element.
Example: As part of the new Coca Cola campaign launched in Hong Kong, a free and branded app was offered to the teenagers on their smartphones.
At the same time, a television commercial was run asking the Coca Cola fans to move the app and shake their phones for winning discounts and free foods from partner brands such as McDonald’s.
The campaign in quick time made huge success by allowing the users to access and use the app in real time while watching the TV commercial.
Gamified Loyalty Programs
While loyalty programs are used by every marketer, incorporating gamification into this can be tremendously effective for boosting user appreciation and engagement.
For example, you can unroll multi-tiered loyalty programs to create a sense of competition, deliver rewards and appreciate the users for their role. Here you can create different stages or tiers with their respective benefits or rewards.
Always make sure that a user can progress from one tier to the next by as they continue to earn more points. The progress towards next steps will create a sense of achievement for the users and will make him more attached to the brand.
Example: Starbucks through their mobile app offers a very engaging loyalty program. The brand makes sure that the loyalty program can easily connect what the customers want by offering various perks through a simple interface.
The brand through their multi-tier loyalty program offers perks like getting over queues, free of cost refilling, birthday gifts, points by multiplying the days of use, etc.
Apart from offering a cool and aesthetically appealing interface for the loyalty program, the brand also creates a lot of creative space to experiment with the loyalty program.
The best thing about the program is one can easily start with it by opting for free refills at the first stage. Either through in-app activities or by spending money on purchases the users can move up the tiers while using this loyalty program.
Many of us like to test our knowledge and grasp on certain information by answering simple questions. This is why, when a reward is promised for correct answers to a bunch of questions, many of us easily engage and start answering.
Online quizzes continue to remain popular for specialists working with digital marketing strategy especially because of this popular and self-gratifying zeal of answering questions. For many people, answering quizzes come as a credible way to garner a sense of achievement.
In the context of digital marketing, quizzes are often used as a gamification element. Apart from testing your general knowledge on a particular niche or subject, a simple quiz can also be utilized to know the user’s personality. In that respect, with simple tools like this marketers can also garner some valid user insights.
Example: There are numerous e-learning websites and apps where the relevant quiz is used to reward the users with points or other means. B2B marketers can effectively use the quiz as part of their campaign, and this may tremendously help in validating the right users for a particular offer or promotion.
Quora as a question-answer platform offers an excellent example of how just by answering right to questions related to any particular niche a B2B marketer can gain upvotes and more visibility.
Obviously, just by getting more upvotes and ensuring a higher ranking of the answers to questions, a marketer can draw the attention of a larger audience and generate traffic for a website.
The prime focus of any gamification tool rests basically is about creating a sense of competition with several users running for it.
The leaderboard in this respect can be described as an excellent gamification tool for the digital marketers of today. This simple tool is basically about offering challenges for the users to compete and get rankings based on this.
Example: There are various themes, and layouts for leaderboard design and your choice entirely depends upon your niche, your audience and how you want to use it as a perfect gamification tool.
From a simple list with highlighted users to the display of user rankings on a geolocation-based city map to more creative and customized leaderboards with visual experiments, the examples are too varied.
Milestones and Challenges
Apart from the creative game-like competition by offering badges, points, leaderboard rankings, etc. from time to time a business app can pose new challenges for the users against lucrative gifts and offers.
It can also be implemented in the way of milestones or as secluded challenges. In this respect, marketers should remember that these challenges should not be too much complex or too easy.
While a relative hardship is important to ensure a challenging feel, too much hardness and complexity can make users altogether avoid it.
Example: In an e-Learning app a user can be offered a problem to solve by completing which he can get a free coupon to from some partner business app.
The challenges offered as gamification elements can vary from niche questions or clever calculations or logical problems. Ideally, it works great across game apps whereby winning a challenging step a game player moves to the next level or step.
Ensure Simple Onboarding
The last but not the least of all important gamification elements are simple onboarding process. The users at any point of time should not have difficulty to understand what a particular contest or challenge or reward point is all about.
But the biggest priority should be given to first-time users. For the new users, you need to ensure an easy onboarding with a clear direction of what to do and what rewards, badges or points he is going to win by successfully completing the challenge or contest.
At the same time, the marketers must give adequate attention to the look and feel of the interface that should deliver appropriate aesthetic appeal and a fun element for the users to get easily engaged.
Gamification apart from achieving marketing goals is also about boasting a brand-specific look and feel that invokes fun and a sense of enjoyment. An interface for gamification element looking boring and commonplace will miss out the real objective.
It doesn’t take much consideration to say that today’s marketers are thoroughly indebted to these gamification ideas for boosting engagement, conversion and brand awareness.
In markets where smartphone penetration is more significant than anywhere in the world, innovative gamification elements will play the most decisive role.