Is gamification right for your product?
Growing up an 80s and 90s kid, I saw video gaming as a staple of my childhood. That’s why now as a cynical 30-something advertiser I can still be sucked into any activity that rewards me for reaching an arbitrary goal with pixelated fireworks and a three note melody. The rise of gamification from its inception in 2002, through to the widespread take-up of the term in 2010, into the all-pervasive world in which we now must navigate, is thanks to it becoming go-to for marketers to engage with not only “millennials” but those of us quickly approaching middle age. Not only are game elements designed to be interactive by their very nature, they have a low barrier of entry and are snackable enough to keep people coming back on a regular basis.
But it’s not only marketers that are getting into the gamification sphere – publishers are breaking new ground in this field at a constant rate. The best example of this are out of home panels. What used to be a static image, then a rotating digital image, has now become a fully interactive site that gives the consumer an experience they will remember.
Village Roadshow “Pan” campaign
A more recent adult example is Untappd – essentially an app that gamifies drinking craft beer with your mates.
Explore. Share. Discover. Evocative words that cut to the core of gamification.
Drink. Even better!
Rewarding the consumer for doing not much above and beyond the every-day (go to a bar, log in, drink a beer, get a medal) we can see how gamification is encroaching on all aspects of our lives. But it’s working. Compete against your friends, drink your way around the world, and keep a record of everything as you go.
Take It Easy – “Whoa, I think you’ve had enough. That’s 12 beers in 1 day – you might need to call a cab.”
That is a real Untappd badge.
But it’s not all hipster agave cider and liver damage; Untappd lets brewers connect directly with consumers. Someone posts they are drinking a Surry Hills Pils brewed by Sydney Brewery? The brewer can log in and give them a “Cheers!” (think Facebook “Like”) and interact with that person on a one-to-one basis.
Another foray into gamification was the AAMI “Safe Driver” app – essentially, try and beat your mates by being a safer driver. By tapping into the human need to compete, AAMI turned that dictum on its head through championing the cause of safety and responsibility as the highest attainable goals.
Examples such as this allows brands to use gamification to not only build a consumer following, but keep those consumers coming back for more. Reaching to the other end of the scale, Australian Unity (a national healthcare, financial services, and independent & assisted living organisation) has partnered with The Wiggles to launch a teeth brushing app aimed at kids to brush for the required two minutes – something I could probably use as an adult. The gamification element comes after the two-minute video and song, where the child then gains a “sticker” for correctly brushing their teeth, adding to their sticker collection all the while delivering the message of good dental hygiene (and collecting dad’s personal details to re-market towards later on). Some may argue that this is taking the “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM) idea too far – I’m no longer receiving a sticker for brushing my teeth, I’m only brushing my teeth to receive the sticker. Although as a guilty parent, whatever works with a two-year old is fine by me.
So here we come back to the beginning – should you look to gamify your product in some fashion? Let’s think about what we’ve seen already – entertainment, social gatherings, insurance, and health care. Future options for gamification could see RAMS home loans set up with a reward system for paying off above the regular monthly amount, or food delivery services such as Menulog could follow the Untappd example and build out trophies for trying new restaurants or leaving reviews, while giving these providers a direct channel to interact with their consumers. Did you binge-watch the entire latest season of The Walking Dead on Presto? Congratulations! Here’s a bunch of pixels that looks like Daryl’s crossbow. Add it your virtual cupboard with the communicator you received for watching all the Star Trek movies.
Here we see the true value of gamification – draw them in, keep them coming back, make them a consumer, then allow them to become an ambassador for your brand, proudly exclaiming on social media “I use Brand X and you should too!”
This blog was brought to you by Nicholas Noel, Client Manager in Team NBT at Match.