​8 Ways To Use Gamification To Improve User Engagement

Do you have a following of users, but they just aren’t engaging with you? Are they losing interest, and you don’t know how to keep them loyal? To keep people hooked on your website or platform, you might want to consider gamification, which BunchBall defines as, “the process of taking something that already exists—a website, an enterprise application, an online community—and integrating game mechanics into it to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty. Here are ways to use it:

1) Inspire competition.

Loyalty reward programs have been pretty effective, historically. It’s time to take them to the next level, though, because what reward is sweeter than one that is won? Offering points, monetary prizes for when players eventually make purchases, and giving the satisfaction of a high score can keep your users coming back to improve each gaming experience.

2) Encourage users to challenge real friends.

Competition with strangers is one thing, competition with friends is another. A game can be something that people play together, so if one user is addicted to your game and likes your product, you can make it easier for him or her to rope a friend in and get them intrigued with your brand as well. This also helps establish a brand-oriented community.

3) Give outside incentives.

Starbucks and Lyft entered a partnership that enabled customers to gain Starbucks Points every time they used Lyft’s services, as well as give said points as tips to drivers. If you offer something else that people want besides your own product, they will see you as an excellent route to get it and pick up on how great you are on the way. It’s a loyalty program on steroids, and you get to strengthen alliances with other companies.

4) Give users an escape.

Everyone loves escapism—but aren’t there better methods for that than a company game, like a full-scale Xbox narrative adventure? Sure, those are important, but people like the little stuff too. Naman Kapur from ShepHertz notes, “Avatars can be powerful mechanics in any app. Letting the users personalize their profiles can be a major step in engagement. Whenever the users are given freedom to be creative in how their profile images should look like, they come up with stuff that surprises you and even their peers. Some add up funky self-designed caricatures, some upload funny selfies…” Very few people pass up a chance at a creative outlet.

5) Make that escapism accessible.

Besides creating profiles, people love immersive worlds. You can get those from Xbox too, but it’s also nice to have something you can play while waiting in a checkout line or at your work desktop (you know you do it). Many companies are gamifying their user interactions now, from T-Mobile to the SyFy channel. SyFy created “an extraterrestrial online destination that engages and rewards SyFy fans across the social web,” which generated an increase in site views and user interaction.

6) Or just be downright amusing.

Gamification isn’t limited to animation, skills, or narrative. Even the tiniest bit of gamification can help drive user engagement if they get so much as a speck of joy out of it. Dominoes, for instance, allows users to “shake their Droid or iPhone if they don’t know what they want to order and the app will pick the toppings.” Shaking your phone in a game of chance may seem odd, but hey, people love it because they’re still getting the pizza they’re after.

7) Advertise in a creative way.

Gamee, as you probably guessed, is a company that makes games. It doesn’t just make games, though, it can make your game. Founded by Bozena Rezab when she quit her job at Google (that’s how you know she’s passionate about this), Rezab wanted to build a company that created casual mobile games that don’t require users to pay money for success. It hosts all sorts of games that she dubs as “snackable.”

In an interview with Business Insider, Rezab says that their target audience is people between the ages of 18 and 30 because, “Young people have a lot of time to play all variety of games like Xbox and PlayStation—different, more complicated, games. The older they get, the less time they have to look for new games. They look for the ease of experience.” You can use the time this demographic does have (or doesn’t) to hand them a new game on a silver platter.

Gamee is now “championing native advertising by creating branded games for companies. It recently created a game, Basket Boy, for mobile phone network 02.” Rezab elaborates, “For the brand, this is a way to have an advertising format which is not perceived as advertising because we all know ad blockers are here to stay. So they have something people like to play with. It’s very hard with any other type of advertising.” There you have it: you don’t need to have ads pop up in-game, but a game itself can be an advertisement for you.

8) Emphasize your company’s values.

Rezab makes a good point, “Many brands don’t need brand awareness anymore, they already have it. So they’re looking at what’s next, they want to engage the audience, the influencers.” Sound like you? Sponsored games “can carry the brand’s values better than any ads and make users interact with them in a smooth and frictionless way.” If you want to inspire user engagement, interacting with them via gaming is an excellent way, rather than just putting standard advertisements in their faces—and interaction is what you value as a company, after all.

In what ways can you gamify your users’ experience?