What is gamification?

Introduction

We will soon present our gamification platform within HiSocial for websites and fan pages on Facebook, the project on which we have been working for several months. For this reason, we started a series of articles dedicated to this exciting subject that raised so much interest in various socio-economic fields.

In the following post, I will discuss the details on our proposal of gamification. At the moment, we can tell you that we have created a special page where if you sign up, you will be promptly informed of the official presentation:

http://www.hisocial.com/en/gamification

Definition of gamification

In a definition, without scientific pretensions, we conceptualize gamification as the application with mechanisms used in the games but different to some extent. In other words, it is about using the techniques that are frequently used in the creation of games (points, levels, prizes…) designed for not completely playful experience.

There is no doubt that the games are part of our culture from time immemorial, and they have a great acceptance in all civilizations and cultures. Similar to the Haute cuisine, which uses the technique of “deconstruction” to prepare new dishes, the gamification tries to isolate the basic elements of the games (those which provide their success), to use them in the design of new experiences outside the games. The final objective is clear. Use these elements to improve the processes that, without these new “ingredients”, would be boring or would have little involvement of the users.

Importance of the gamification

Via Getmoreengagement we see some figures that show how the gamification is of great importance:

-More than 70% of the world’s largest 2,000 companies are expected to have deployed at least one gamified application by year-end 2014 (Gartner)

-The overall market for gamification tools, services, and applications is projected to be $5.5 billion by 2018 (M2 Research)

-Vendors claim that gamification can lead to 100% to 150% pickup in engagement metrics including unique views, page views, community activities, and time on site (M2 Research)

-Over 2/3rds of employers consider gamification an effective strategy for encouraging their employees to improve their health (Buck Consultants)

 

-47% of vendors say their clients are looking to increase user engagement in their gamification applications (BI Worldwide)

-63% of American adults agree that making everyday activities more like game would make them more fun and rewarding (JW Intelligence)

The gamification, in short, has left the strictly academic field, and numerous studies confirm its growing importance in the coming years.

The formula of gamification

Once seen the impressive figures above, try to summarize the basic components of gamification in this simple homemade formula:

Gamification = Loyalty + Engagement + Entertainment

Before discussing each of the components, let’s first clarify that this is a simplified version. There is an extensive academic literature that explains in more detail (and with much more scientific consistency) the components of the gamification. But this is not an academic blog, and our ambitions are much more mundane.

Let’s go back to the formula. When we establish a process of gamification (especially within a marketing environment), it is based on the following components:

- Loyalty. In the sense of searching for recurrent users, who participate regularly in the process that we are creating.

- Engagement / Interaction. We are looking for users to be involved in our process and to participate in it. The user ceases to be passive, and becomes a part of the process. The user’s actions have “response” by the process, which causes new successive actions of that user.

-Entertainment: To achieve the involvement and motivation of the users, you should try to turn the process into a playful experience. Participants see the process not as an obligation, but as a source of satisfaction.

Why gamify?

Using gamification can ensure that the “processes” which previously did not achieve their goals, get now to do so. Here are two practical examples:

- We all know that a lot of learning processes are hard and difficult for those who take part in them. This translates into high rates of abandonment. There are numerous studies which show how the gamification has managed to substantially reduce the failure in these processes. In fact, as we will see later, education is one of the areas where the gamification has been most fruitful.

- Being present online, we all know that one of the main problems that any web have is that a lot of the visits you receive are the users who do not interact, but simply “bounce” (the typical bounce rate showing us web analytics programs) and not ever return to visit us. The gamification may help you reach these objectives such as user loyalty, increasing conversions, increasing the duration of visits, and the rate of the recurrent users. The HiSocial gamification module, will precisely focus on this area.

It is, ultimately aimed at improving existing processes, so that the objectives can be achieved through the gamification.

Areas of gamification

Gamification is not confined to any area in particular and can be applied to almost all kinds of processes. In fact, each day leave new examples of success in totally unexpected areas. However, there are some usually areas where the gamification is most common:

- As mentioned above, education is one of the areas where gamification is practiced more and more frequently. But there are more “typical” environments to be gamified.

- Work, to motivate employees and increase productivity

- To promote consumption both online and offline

- To facilitate the use of software tools and/or increase the conversion of users on clients

- In the field of tourism…

How can I gamify my site / my company?

When it comes to gamification of any type of process, you can choose between several possibilities:

- Done with internal resources. This will require us to have a minimum knowledge and tools to implement gamification. It is evident that unless we have a lot of resources at our disposal, this single solution will be applicable to relatively small areas. In any case you can visit us regularly, and we will publish several informative posts on our blog and we will also choose the best resources that can be found on the Internet about gamification.

- Hire a consulting firm for gamification. The advantage of this alternative is that we will deal with professionals who have experience in this area, so that it will be easier for us to achieve the given objectives. The disadvantages of this alternative are the costs, which can be above the budget of many companies.

- Tailored online platforms. There are online platforms (which sometimes include consulting services) that allow us to find a personalized solution for our situation. It’s a good solution for, as we have seen in the previous point, companies that have enough money (many of these solutions cost more than $1,000 per month).

- “Standarized” platform. Obviously, they do not allow a level of customization as high as the previous point, so their costs are substantially lower. This is precisely the area in which HiSocial is going to compete.

5 Comments

  • darryn

    Reply Reply 30/09/2013

    If it was as easy as this… everyone would be successful at it. Remember that 80% of gamification strategies will fail int he next 2 years…

    I guess you have to ask yourself why…?

  • Albert Mora

    Reply Reply 02/10/2013

    Hi Darryn,

    Thx for the comments. We try to say that gamification is important, not easy :)

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