Humans like to play games. Archaeologists have found painted stones which are presumed to be game pieces that date back 5,000 years. Marketers caught on years ago that they can tap into that aspect of human psychology and incorporate game playing elements into their marketing strategy to drive engagement and make loyal fans out of customers. Gamification can range from developing a full-blown mobile game app for your brand or just developing a reward system where customers can accumulate points for performing various actions. Whatever your plan, the following six tips can help you better incorporate gamification into your mobile marketing strategy.
Know your audience and what will motivate them
Knowing what type will appeal to your target audience is a good place to start. Age will be an especially important factor in deciding on the right kind of game elements to incorporate. Things that appeal to millennials probably won’t motivate the 65+ crowd and vice versa. If your gamification will use trivia or quiz elements, make sure that the questions are relevant for the intended audience. For a more general audience, you will have to choose game elements that will appeal to the widest number
Research other gamification campaigns
There are many successful–and some not-so-successful–gamification campaigns that you can look to for inspiration. While you don’t want to copy another brand’s gamification elements exactly, you can take bits and pieces from different gamification campaigns that have worked for brands that are in your same industry or even brands that aren’t in your industry.
Choose incentives carefully
The incentive is arguably the most important part of gamification. Incentives can be direct, such as free product samples, coupons, some kind of VIP treatment, or any other direct benefit or incentives can be indirect, such as the accumulation of points that can be used to obtain direct incentives. There’s a fine line between selecting an incentive that provides sufficient motivation to customers/players and selecting an incentive that will put too much financial strain on your company.
Keep it simple
Games or contests that are overly complex are going to discourage people from playing altogether. Combining too many elements or having too many rules will confuse players. Since so many brands are incorporating gamification into their marketing strategy, players will have a limited attention span and the games that are simply to play but just challenging enough to keep people interested are the ones that are going to be the most effective.
Many brands incorporate game elements with no clear purpose in mind. Gamification isn’t something you should be doing just because everyone else is doing it. You need to determine clear, measurable outcomes in advance of rolling out your gamification campaign so that you can gauge the effectiveness of your efforts. If gamification isn’t creating more return customers, more new customers, or contributing to your bottom line in any way, then why invest marketing dollars into it?
Adapt it over time
Finally, don’t be afraid to evolve your game elements over time. New technologies will mean new possibilities that can make your gamification strategy more effective. One exciting development in gamification is the growing popularity of virtual and augmented reality. Apple is leading the way with the announcement of the iPhones 8, 8+, and X which support augmented reality applications and Samsung’s Gear VR can turn a Samsung phone into a VR headset. Imagine being able to strap on a headset and see furniture items you’re considering buying right there in your living room? This is just one of the ways that upcoming technologies can be used in gamification. If you’re keeping a close eye on metrics, you can experiment and adapt over time so that the success of your gamification efforts is always improving.