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Understanding Gamification Through 5 Questions

Gamification is something that is being talked about more and more, especially in the areas of communication and online marketing, but do you really understand what everyone is talking about? In this article, you will discover five points that hold the key to understanding and maybe even implementing it yourself!

Question #1: What is gamification?

Gamification is the process of integrating certain game mechanics into processes that are not primarily for entertainment. There are multiple reasons for doing this: making a particular process more appealing, making a model more efficient, finding innovative solutions, and much, much more!
The universal nature of games means the potential applications of gamification are numerous: it can be used in teaching situations, as demonstrated by the so-called “serious games” that have become more and more widespread, but also in the functionality or even the foundation of websites and social networks, where it enables the creation and unification of communities by stimulating engagement with members.

Question #2: What are the objectives of gamification?

Gamification has many objectives, but they can be summed up in two ideas: engagement and user experience. No matter which domain these mechanisms are used in (whether that is generating traffic on a website, personalising the interactions an individual has with a brand, creating enthusiasm around a project, or simply bringing a site more visibility), visitors and users find themselves involved in the targeted brand universe thanks to a dynamic and personalised experience. In these instances of gamification, the game is not the goal in and of itself—the goal is to push targeted players to feel involved and to adopt strategic objectives.

Question #3: What are the mechanics of gamification?

> The need for recognition
Badges and other rewards have become an excellent way to reward individuals for their use of a specific software or, more generally, of a service. This approach, which can serve as the foundation of user engagement, works primarily because of a shared universal need for recognition, as well as a strong tendency to compare ourselves to others.
These rewards, whether they are badges, points, exclusive statuses, or placement in rankings, represent virtual gains which have value within the community and are strong motivators (think about what you have done to be an “Expert” on LinkedIn!). They help the user understand their progress along their journey (number of videos watched on an e-learning platform, number of contacts listed in a CRM system, number of tickets resolved in an ITSM tool, and so on) and illustrate the degree to which the tool has been adopted or mastered, with the goal of constantly renewing motivation within a community that values these rewards.

> The social aspect
Good gamification must be able to integrate all the components of collective gaming: sharing, contact, recommendations, and comparison. The members of these communities will seek to interact with each other and will therefore become content creators themselves—viral cooperation toward a common goal!

Question #4: How to choose the right gamification mechanics?

Identifying the right gamification mechanics depends in part on knowing the users in order to know how best to motivate them and earn their loyalty.
There are four principal motivations for a player, which are:

  • Mastering the game
  • Discovering the game and new things
  • Sharing the game experience
  • Competition with the other players (and winning!)

Figuring out which category your players fall under is not always enough. You must also think about what could hinder the game (time, for example), and adapt to fit their style of play (solo, cooperative, etc,…).
Finally, paying attention to the level of player engagement is a must:

  • How do you make new players stay?
  • How do you stimulate adoption by regular players?
  • How do you reward the best players?

Question #5: Why measure the success of your gamification strategy?

Adopting and implementing an effective gamification strategy is not without costs, and it is therefore vital to measure results. Tools born of the convergence of analytics and data visualisation make it possible today to access the metrics needed to direct gamification. These indicators provide a better knowledge of the players by following their activities and, above all, their engagement. It is thus possible to know if the game brings players closer to your branding, sales, or project goals and, if needed, to take adequate measures.

“Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do” wrote Mark Twain, unknowingly explaining the concept of gamification, which seems so modern to us.
Games are great fun in childhood, and are not any less fun for adults: all that is left is for you to integrate them into your projects!