Gamification provides advertisers with a considerable opportunity to promote social engagement in an enticing and creative way. Gamification is the use of gaming concepts and strategies to entice user engagement. Gaming mechanics are used in a variety of non-game settings, most prominently in learning, however advertisers are increasingly using gamfication strategies to grow an organization’s brand reach.
By utilizing game theory, non-gaming industries are able to connect and grow their audience reach through competition platforms. By earning points, badges and incentives, audiences establish rituals to engage with brands through extrinsic motivation.
To maximize gamification’s user engagement, advertisers must utilize user experienced based content, psychological concepts to enable the best practices and solidified business objectives. Gamification without a quality user experience backed by psychological theory and predetermined business objectives is destined to fail.
User Experience – Improve Experiences Rather than Sell
The user experience within gamification is the initial hurdle for many advertisers. Gamification has received negative attention due to its popularity for non-gaming industries trying sell products. Brands will often utilize gamification as a platform to sell, rather than create a positive experience. For many brands this is the wrong kind of approach. Gamification must be utilized not as an avenue to sell, but rather an avenue to improve upon the buying experience. The difference may seem subtle, however it is significant.
What makes gamification different from other avenues of engaging content is that it is participatory rather than presentational. The user experience draws audiences in to engage with the content rather than receive content. Gamification is less about re-purposing products and brands into games, but rather utilizing the principles of gaming culture to create an engaged audience.
Psychological Theory – Generate Extrinsic Motivation
The psychological experience of gamification is rooted in extrinsic motivation through the brain chemical dopamine. When an individual completes a task, regardless if it is large or small, the brain releases dopamine, which is associated with the pleasure portion of the brain. Gamification draws users in through completing various small tasks in an effort to induce a dopamine reaction. As gamers complete more tasks, more dopamine gets released. However, when an unexpected pleasure presents itself, an even bigger rush of dopamine takes place.
Gamification taps into the dopamine affect by rewarding individuals through small outcomes of success that trigger a dopamine rush. However, critics have pointed out that gamification shows less success sustaining long-term goals. This is because intrinsic motivation is a tricky aspect of behavioral psychology. An individual will not complete a task unless there is enough intrinsic motivation to get it done. Advertisers can create great content, engaging platforms and scientific strategies to garner extrinsic motivation, but an individual has every opportunity not to engage because a lack of intrinsic motivation.
Business Objectives – Specifically Target Your Audience
Seeking out the right audience is just as important as creating an engaging user experience. It is important for businesses to seek out an audience that will present the right amount of intrinsic motivation to engage with a gamification product. Users that lack intrinsic motivation will lack the overall drive to engage with a product, however if an organization targets the right audience, gamification can provide the extrinsic motivation to generate repeat customers and brand advocates.
Whether organizations wish to increase sales, create brand awareness or develop social experiences, gamification can be utilized in a way to meet those goals. However it is important to note, the business objectives should not supersede the user experience. If the user experience and the business objectives do not align, an organization’s use of gamification is destined to fail to retain an audience.
As application technology continues to develop, methods of gamification present great opportunities for brands to create engaging user experiences. By establishing quality activities for users, backed by psychology, brands can establish and grow business objects. Gamification must be strategic, engaging and purposeful to realize success.
At On Advertising we seek to engage with audiences in the most creative and engaging ways. Gamification is an effective avenue in our increasingly growing arsenal of marketing techniques. Through gamification strategies we help businesses reach their goals in the most engaging way possible.
To level up your next marketing campaign contact On Advertising today.