Gamification And The Power Of Influence

In any industry, the need to manage your brand's community is pressing. Companies have invested significant resources into building community on social networks, but as Facebook and other social media sites continue to block access to your user data, smart marketers and business leaders are realizing that the real value of social engagement is found on their own web properties and applications. Gamification offers a means of applying the benefits of social engagement directly to your properties. It is a proven business strategy that enables businesses to influence the behaviors of your entire community, and exceed your user-driven business objectives.

Gamification Across All Industries
By 2013, according to Constellation Research, more than 50 percent of all social business initiatives will include an enterprise gamification component. Business executives now understand that behaviors can be motivated with rewards and status, customers can be incentivized, and ROI and productivity can be increased across both customer and employee communities.

Companies across virtually every industry are benefiting from gamification techniques. From technology to financial services to education, businesses can apply game mechanics across their existing user experiences to increase key user-driven objectives.

In the technology sector, Fortune 1000 enterprises are adding gamification programs to increase lifetime value and customer engagement. Samsung Nation, a social loyalty program found on Samsung.com, is powered by Badgeville to reward users for engaging with content across their community. As one of the world's leading consumer electronics brands, Samsung's website includes information around innovative new products, and ones available on store shelves today. Samsung's gamification program is designed to reward brand advocates and customers who want to engage with their community between big purchases. The program, which can be experienced by registering on Samsung.com, has been very successful in surfacing the brand's fans, and increasing participation across their user community.

Online communities across education, health, and financial services have experienced great success with gamification. Beat the GMAT, the largest online community for students preparing for MBA programs, turned to Badgeville to create a gamified user experience. Their online community MBAWatch.com enables students to increase their chances of being accepted into an MBA program and gain a better understanding of how they rank in comparison to other applicants. With gamification, Beat the GMAT dramatically increased social sharing and incentivized user participation. In fact, they witnessed an increase of 1,500 comments within their social community and more than 900 community members ‘followed' their favorite schools during each month following the implementation of gamification techniques like Badgeville's Social Fabric platform. With Badgeville, Beat the GMAT also was able to increase pages-per-visit by 195% and time users spent on site by 370%.

Beyond technology and education, gamification is currently being implemented across virtually any industry for both customer and employee user experiences. Badgeville customers, such as NBC, X.Commerce, Universal Music, Deloitte and the Active Network, are using gamification platforms to reward users with real-time achievements and reputation to drive user behavior, achieve business objectives and measure user engagement. On average, our customers experience 20 percent to more than 200 percent increases in user behavior.

Behavior Analytics Leading to Influence
Gamification programs, designed properly, must begin with determining your organization's business objectives. You can choose key behaviors to reward that align with your business objectives. Ultimately, your gamification program should enable you to closely track ROI based on these specific behaviors and user activity. Gamification is fundamentally an analytics challenge, which is why we've brought on some of the top minds in modern analytics techniques, such as our new Vice President of Product Chris Duskin, who spent many years at Adobe's Omniture unit.

The Behavior Analytics found within a smart gamification platform provide significant insight regarding what users are doing across your community. Businesses have complete flexibility in choosing how that data is surfaced to their users. From choosing to reward behaviors that align with business objectives to guiding the experience of the user, it is possible for businesses to actually drive important user behaviors, as well as gain deep insight into the health of their community. These analytics techniques were popularized in social gaming, but the same techniques can be used to help marketers and business leaders achieve their objectives outside of gaming experiences.

Harnessing the Power of Your Social Community
Nearly every business, including many Fortune 1000 enterprises, are examining how to best influence their community to drive user experiences and engagement. Gamification is key to analyzing and driving high-value customer behavior. Harnessing the power of influence and gamification techniques enables complete control of your community, which is increasingly important for any smart business looking to leverage the millions of behaviors occurring on their own properties and experiences.

[Image: Flickr user Amir Jina]

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2 Comments

  • Robert Duchenne

    Hi Tim, I have been in the gamification area for quite some time and the problem i find is that people (individuals and businesses alike) put up a barrier immediately once you describe the absolute awesomeness of generating engagement through "Gamification" as they "don't play games". Once, they get it though its a different story. What we have to realize is that the principles and structures employed in the Gamification field is not new. These have been utilised since the dawn of time: utilizing information, connections, rewards, status and stuff to get an audience to take an action in favor of a predetermined "something" when most competing options are mostly equal. These are the mechanics of influencing behaviour. In fact, it could be more appropriate to say that Games uses the mechanics of influence and provides it in clear simple objectives to a user. What then has changed since the dawn of time? Simply, decisions (word of mouth) are now public and measurable (Social Media) and information are available and connections can be made anywhere, by anyone at anytime in a fluid manner. From what I have seen in the industry this space (whether, Mechanics of Influence, Influence Media or Gamification - whatever its called) will change the way people interact, live and work in the near future. Exciting times. For more of an expose, http://bit.ly/L0TaVx

  • Tim Clark

    Great article. Gamification makes sense on so many different levels. Obviously, it can't be applied to everything, nor does one size fit all, but its ability to drive higher user engagement can't be denied. Unfortunately, naysayers scoff at the word 'game' thinking it's some kind of joke or can't possibly taken seriously in the business world. They need to re-think this. My current employer, SAP, certainly is. I wrote about it here: 
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/sa...