Have you heard of gamification? You may not have, but even so, it is likely that you have encountered it.

Gamification is when everyday interactions in nongame contexts, such as shopping, are turned into games. Within consumer environments, this is frequently used in the hope of increasing sales and creating awareness of new brands and products. With the development of digital technologies, gamification is commonplace, with everything from step counters to supermarket loyalty schemes. People may think they are only playing a game, but at the same time, they are also engaging with a product or service. Such engagement increases the likelihood of purchase and brand awareness.

Using games to connect with consumers makes sense as games are something that many enjoy. Gaming of different kinds is a key part of society; children learn to play games at an early age, and as it becomes a familiar format, it is something that most of the population knows how to do. Therefore, it makes it easy for marketers to use as a format of engagement and entertainment.

One rather innovative and successful example of how gamification has been used in marketing is the online Twitter race by Volkswagen. Each time someone tweeted using a specific hashtag, it would put them at the top. Whoever was first when the race stopped would win a car. This resulted in 150,000 tweets in eight hours, ensuring consumer engagement and heightened publicity for the brand.

Another interesting example is Casper’s mattress puzzle ads that were put inside trains in New York. They kept travelers entertained as they tried to solve the puzzles whilst traveling. Again, this generated engagement and made it more likely that people would remember the brand.

The short answer is no, gamification does not always generate further sales or connectedness with a consumer. In fact, in 2018, it was estimated that failed gamification projects have cost American businesses more than $700 million in the last decade. Academic literature reviews have also pointed out that there is uncertainty in the effectiveness of gamification for business use.

So, whilst some gamification projects clearly have been a success, what is it that makes them work?

Whilst gamification seemingly works to connect with consumers, there are ways in which to make it work more efficiently—for example, by making the interactions highly interactive and relatively challenging. In such instances, it facilitates emotional and cognitive brand engagement, which, in turn, generates a strong connection between the consumer and the brand. It is also important that the consumer perceive their participation as voluntary as they may otherwise turn away from the game and, thus, a connection between the consumer and the brand will never be established. Furthermore, imposing time restrictions for playing the game can also result in less engagement as people may otherwise feel as if they are not in charge of the game. Following these guidelines will give the consumer an overall better experience of the game and provide them with a feeling of autonomy.

Providing autonomy would appear to make sense in that the academic advertising literature has for a long time suggested that consumers tend to put up barriers if they think they are being persuaded.

Perhaps gamification can be better and more efficiently used if there is no element of persuasion involved, such as when working to improve mental health. It has been suggested that, indeed, gamification can be useful as a tool for digital interventions aimed at helping mental health. For example, the inclusion of game-related aspects such as achievable challenges and rewards systems can help to not only attract people but also to make them engage with online treatment apps.

Gamification may help to make apps more appealing and interesting as many, as well as a diverse audience, enjoy playing games. Moreover, it may help the user to stay online longer than they would if there was no gaming element. Engaging for longer would also mean that people would get more exposure to the intervention that is focused on, thus potentially making it more effective.

Whilst many may enjoy game playing and will see it as a good experience, it is worth considering whether it is indeed an appropriate "tool" for all types of consumer interactions.

References

Amalgam Insights. Industry Analyst: Failed Gamification Projects, Costing U.S. Businesses More Than $700 Million, Can Be Fixed. March 19, 2018.

QOSHE - Does Gamification Help to Connect With Consumers? - Cathrine V. Jansson-Boyd Ph.d
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Does Gamification Help to Connect With Consumers?

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24.06.2024

Have you heard of gamification? You may not have, but even so, it is likely that you have encountered it.

Gamification is when everyday interactions in nongame contexts, such as shopping, are turned into games. Within consumer environments, this is frequently used in the hope of increasing sales and creating awareness of new brands and products. With the development of digital technologies, gamification is commonplace, with everything from step counters to supermarket loyalty schemes. People may think they are only playing a game, but at the same time, they are also engaging with a product or service. Such engagement increases the likelihood of purchase and brand awareness.

Using games to connect with consumers makes sense as games are something that many enjoy. Gaming of different kinds is a key part of society; children learn to play games at an early age, and as it becomes a familiar format, it is something that most of the population knows how to do. Therefore, it makes it easy for marketers to use as a format of engagement and entertainment.

One rather innovative and successful example of how gamification has been used in........

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