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The Art and Science of Gamification

Using game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts

To recap quickly, in the first article we discussed the fact that 2012 is THE year for apps and how those who put on their ‘Appreneur' hats on & take action will find success. Then in the second article, we talked about a theory that we referred to as 3D Internet that follows what we call ‘the deep then wide method;' through mobile apps, mobile devices are taking Google's ‘wide then deep method' of "searching" and flipping it! Apps allow for us to go deep and straight to the source and then go wide to find even more valuable content! In the last article, we talked about one of the hottest topics in business right now and that's behavioral analytics a.k.a the main reason Facebook acquired Instagram.

Now, let's discuss another Top Topic... and that is, gamification.

First, let's quickly go over what gamification actually is...

According to Wikipedia (our modern age dictionary):

It's the integration of game mechanics or game dynamics into a website, service, community, campaign, or application in order to drive participation and engagement.

It's the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts.

Gamification is an art and a science. It's using game-type mechanics in non-game businesses to increase efficiency, customer loyalty and engagement.


And beyond knowing what gamification is... there's a whole other host of other terms to be aware of, and you can find a compiled list, here.

Gamification is all around us. It's making its way deeper into our lives and so I feel it's best we all know more about it.

We can find ourselves in a gamified version of almost anything now... from visiting websites to carrying out tasks that we would normally find boring such as filling out a survey or tax forms!

And we can understand WHY businesses are gamifying their offerings and processes...

Because people like games. People inherently and naturally want to have fun and enjoy themselves, and so the more FUN we can make our business offerings... there's a huge potential for improvement that results from increased engagement... such as our increased ROI and behavioral data quality (like we talked about in the last article).

People gravitate to games. And now sometimes, whether people know it or not, they're within a game design.

Therefore, gamification can help us find better and more creative ways to increase our behavioral data quality... this means we have better data, which means we can cater to our audience better which means we're making more of an impact and making more money in the process!


Why is it important for you to consider gamifying your business?

-Because people will engage more and have more fun as a result of you putting more effort into making your business fun and engaging.

-Because when people are having fun... they'll like you... they'll stick around... they'll buy from you... they'll reward you for putting ‘fun' into ‘business.'

And maybe you already offer ‘fun' through gamification. That's great! I would just encourage you to constantly re-look at HOW you are creating engagement for your customers. Think BIG and expand on what you're doing and how you're ultimately... receiving data.

Remember, the higher quality behavioral data is really where the WIN is for you and your business.

Here are a few cool examples of how businesses have used gamification to take their businesses to the next level:

Mint: As discussed on Mashable, Mint is offering a Financial Fitness Score that is based on game mechanics associated with achievements and progression. They have made tracking a budget... fun. Through a casual gaming experience, Mint is creating an opportunity to drive new user acquisition through gamification.

Starbucks: Starbucks has incorporated game mechanics & design into its popular loyalty program. Through multiple reward levels & progression tracker, Starbucks coffee lovers are continually given incentives to engage with the brand.

Nike: Nike has gamified running with Nike Plus. People can track, share, challenge and interact with like-minded friends & runners across the globe. This is a hugely successful example of gamification! Through the game mechanics of Achievements, Badges, Challenges & Rewards, Nike is creating a super engaging experience that raises the on-the-ground fitness activity to new heights.

Finally, through a partnership with the social network game developer Zynga (known for Farmville), Lady Gaga had one of the most successful album launches in entertainment industry history. According to Mashable, her marketing team was charged with developing a campaign to help make the album's release the largest in history. 1.1 million copies sold in its first week made "Born This Way" the fastest-selling album in 2011.

Through a three-day feature called ‘GagaVille', fans completed tasks that unlocked online versions of unreleased songs from the album.

"No one has ever used a gaming platform to release an album before," said Jaunique Sealey who was Gaga's social media strategist. Her strategy resulted in more than 13 million users downloading songs before the official album release day.

Finally, what's even cooler about gamification is that we can look at it as a way to say ‘thank you.' By rewarding people who share the experiences that they have within your business, you're saying ‘thank you for being a part of my network and community, and supporting my business.'

We have all experienced the power of gratitude... especially in business. A thank you goes a long way... literally. Like Wallace D. Wattles , author of the 1910 book, The Science of Getting Rich, says,

"There is a law of gratitude, and if you are to get the results you seek, it is absolutely necessary that you should observe this law."

When you think gamification... think gratitude. Gamifying... gratifying. Gamified... gratified. Take action on this and watch the results you're seeking begin to flood in.

More Stories By Amish Shah

Amish Shah is the Chief Product Officer at Bitzio, Inc (www.bitzio.com) - a Mobile Apps company. He got into Mobile Apps around October 2010 and never looked back. The Internet scene was just becoming too competitive, so he just went to where it was easier to make money. Bitzio does everything Mobile Apps (from software, to app development, to cross promotions, etc.). Literally EVERYTHING.

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