According to a survey, around 87% of retailers already plan to implement a gamification method within the next five years.
This only reinforces how the practice has gained relevance in the market and its efficiency is already recognized for building even stronger relationships with the public.
But what exactly does it mean and how does gamification in marketing work? Find out all about it below.
What is gamification?
Gamification is a method that consists of using typical game mechanics and interactions in different areas.
Its objective is to use the playful and engaging power of games to enrich experiences and make them even more attractive and stimulating for people.
It is worth noting that gamification does not provide for the creation of a game itself, but rather the use of elements such as scores, prizes and competition to create a better level of interaction with the public.
As an inbound marketing strategy, the idea is to win over the audience in a more attractive way, in which people participate voluntarily to achieve the proposed goals.
By following the predefined rules and receiving feedback on their performance, the public can advance in the experience and conquer what is offered to them, which is something aligned with the strategic marketing plan that encompasses the action.
To clarify what gamification in marketing is, check out in the next item some processes already adopted in the area that bring excellent results.
The processes of building this strategy
The processes that define gamification follow a relatively simple logic: just define the objectives that your company intends to achieve with a given experience, predict the behaviors that the public must adopt so that these goals are achieved and delimit the cycles of activities to be fulfilled.
Although gamification in marketing has been popular for just over 10 years, through the creation of new “playable” digital experiences, some classic examples illustrate its logic very well.
For example, the best case is in the popular loyalty cards, in which the customer receives a mark for each new purchase and then earns a reward after a certain number of purchases. Something like “Buy 9 and get 10 for free”.
Going to the Apps universe, another common practice of gamification is in recognition or even competitive elements, such as in the rankings of the best drivers of transport apps, in the seals of experienced buyers on shopping sites or in the stars of top sellers in marketplaces.
Examples of gamification processes
Following the logic described above, other processes linked to marketing goals can be found in gamified practices on popular internet platforms, such as:
- brand loyalty: on Foursquare, the more people check into a business, the more points they earn on their profiles to stand out among users;
- outreach among consumers: every company that offers a reward when the user shares its page or recommends its services to a friend is creating a gamification experience;
- Employee performance: Internally, a variety of systems can be used to create a “playable” experience capable of encouraging employee performance. The Play2 Sell software, for example, allows you to create duels between sellers, in which those who dominate the sales funnel are rewarded ;
- trusted marketing: sites like eBay and Mercado Livre offer scores and seals to their best sellers and buyers, encouraging the recurring use of sales platforms;
- Social recognition: Gamification can also be used to reinforce the values espoused by a brand. The Opower service is a prime example that rewards people who reduce their energy consumption. Its scoring system compares users’ results with those of their neighbors, so there is healthy competition between them;
- SEO improvement: through a “missions” system, apps like Morning Score make Google ranking improvements driven by challenges that create competition in optimization results;
- Feedback: systems like Freediver create playful environments so that people feel encouraged to answer the questionnaires, with prizes for the highest-ranked respondents.
Understand the relationship between gamification, “magic circle” and engagement
In addition to all the examples mentioned above, many others could be mentioned, but these demonstrate the logic behind gamification. As obvious as it may seem, it is important to know that its base is guaranteed by the so-called “magic circle”.
It is a theory created by the Dutch historian and linguist Johan Huizinga, which basically defines this circle as the place where the game takes place.
This is what ensures that the experience played remains within a well-defined environment, which has its own rules that are independent of those of the “real world”.
As the “magic circle” has its rules, interactions and behaviors, it is essential that players are aware of the practices they will perform within it.
All this awareness is also valid for marketing. After all, people need to understand what your brand does, what experiences it aims to provide and the aspects that should be considered when choosing it over competitors.
If in a game you need to define an environment and its rules, in marketing it is also necessary to clarify aspects of the company and its value elements, so that consumers understand what are the best options for them.
When the two notions work together, through gamification in marketing, you need to know that the entire experience created is your “magic circle”, in which people must feel safe and understand the proposals to explore the interaction created by your business. .
It is there, guided by their own experiences, that people will find rewards for their real lives. This means that engagement is guaranteed during the game, but what attracts consumers is the objective to be served through your offer or own CTA.
How to use gamification in marketing?
The possibilities of gamification in marketing are numerous. However, all of them need to be linked to well-defined objectives, such as:
It is normal for consumers to be used to their comfort zones and unwilling to embrace new ideas or explore innovative concepts (until they realize how beneficial they can be).
Every marketing campaign aims to facilitate this path of discovery, in order to bring people closer to the concepts offered by brands until a mutual relationship of trust is created.
Gamification can be the perfect bridge in this sense, ensuring that new products or services are presented in a natural way, in which the resistance movement becomes a playful experience and new possibilities.
This can be reflected in the aforementioned actions of rewarded shares, in playable dynamics, in which individuals accumulate points while discovering the particularities of the company, in internal HR games that reward employees who convert the most, and so on.
Just like the presentation of new products, engagement is a process that takes time and requires a lot of effort until the company manages to gain people’s trust to the point of creating a community around its brand.
With gamification in marketing, this can be done in many ways, as the fun and challenge found in in-game elements favor the search for a certain experience and make people themselves stay active in the created interaction.
Examples are also diverse in these cases and can range from creating rankings of more loyal customers, delivering seals or symbols to the most active users on a site, releasing “achievements” after a certain number of purchases or interactions, to giving certain privileges on purchases that newer users don’t have, etc.
Encourage specific actions
Throughout a marketing campaign, the actions expected by the audience are not necessarily linked to the purchase. During the sales funnel, you can ask people to download material, leave a comment, and answer a questionnaire, among many other similar possibilities.
Through a system of awards or rankings, it is easier to encourage users to take a certain action towards your marketing goals.
This includes better ranking for those who comment the most on the site, offering a discount or score for those who download material, creating a ranked dispute between respondents to a questionnaire, and making exclusive materials available to the most active users. , in the nomination programs to reward those who bring the most friends to lectures or webinars, among other experiences in this regard.
Gamification as an engagement strategy
Now that you know what gamification is and how to use it in marketing, check out some important details about its elements that guarantee engagement with the audience. Are they:
If we compare a video game with a movie, for example, what differentiates the experience lived by the audience is precisely the passive role that the person may or may not assume while consuming the content.
During the game, the evolution and progress of the narrative is the player’s responsibility. That is, it is your decisions based on the rules of the “magic circle” that define the success of the entire journey.
This means that creating levels, offering scores, and creating competitions linked to a certain objective are fundamental actions to create engagement, as this is how people feel satisfied and encouraged to go ahead.
Speaking of user satisfaction, there’s no point in leveling up or getting a good score if this isn’t rewarded.
The idea of the experience is that it is stimulated based on the prizes it can offer, and there is nothing better to keep people engaged than recognizing their efforts through a ranking, a special seal, or other elements that makes them stand out among other players. .
In terms of marketing, this recognition of the “best” can be converted into discounts, exclusive materials, gifts, and appointments as “brand ambassadors”, among other possibilities that reinforce this sense of recognition.
As a result, people will feel proud to flaunt their achievements, they will always remain engaged to carry out the proposed experiences and they will even organically attract more users to participate in the “dispute”.
All people are attracted to stories, as this increases their identification and empathy with the experience proposed by a brand.
In gamification, the idea is that the entire system of scores and rewards is guided by a narrative so that the “search” for results makes sense within a context.
You don’t necessarily need to create a complex, plot-packed plot, but every achievement needs to have meaning.
This ranges from introducing storytelling to a challenge, to simple phrases like “we need you”, “be the best in this contest”, “stand out in the X universe”, and so on.