Console fans will doubtless not have looked out of the window this month thanks to the arrival of the PlayStation 5. We are a nation of gamers, and it seems that gamification has crept into every facet of our society – including product design.
What is gamification?
If you’re not familiar with the term, gamification refers to using ‘gaming’ elements to make activities more fun. It’s becoming more and more popular with digital marketing, using techniques like point scoring and competing with others.
Ever wondered why your fitness tracker spurs you on to keep going?
As it turns out, there is a lot more psychology to it than we might have once thought. For example:
Point scoring reinforces good behaviour
Like children with sweets, winning points gives us that dopamine rush as all our internal reward centres light up. So when we’ve just levelled up on a language-learning app, it feels good – and our senses are stimulated with bright colours and notifications.
Winning gives us a sense of status
We all want to feel like we’re the best. Again, when our apps, websites or loyalty cards hit us with a ‘win’, we feel good. In particular, the competitive element of ‘winning’ signals our testosterone response, which again, activates those dopamine sensors.
Rewards give us a purpose to work for
Something as innocuous as a coffee shop loyalty card might not seem like much. But when we’re tallying up those stamps, what we’re really doing is preparing our brains for a reward. Studies show that expecting a reward can be just as satisfying as receiving it. The picture that takeaway you’re going to order at home tonight. Gets you through the day, doesn’t it?
Gamification reinforces scarcity marketing
To get the best from our gamers (consumers), we need to hit them when they’re most receptive. A simple notification to invite them to interact will incite a ‘fear of missing out’. Clever copy such as ‘just 10 hours left’ can draw customers in, and make them tap, swipe or click.
Marketers can use gamification to make the most mundane of activities seem a little more interesting. For example, Airbnb isn’t exactly skydiving for house proprietors – but by stacking up loyalty and reward points, they’re encouraged to go back every time.
Making gamification work for you
Tips from our creative studio in Chorley
Gamification may be an easy way to get users to interact, but you need to do it right. If you’re using it to encourage interactions with your website or app, consider:
- Targeting when the time is right. For example, you could use A/B testing or personalise notifications based on buying behaviour.
- Avoiding bombarding. Drown your players in notifications and they’ll switch off. Offer them periodic rewards to keep that dopamine flying.
- Keeping the gameplay going. The key is to make the customer feel like they ‘can’t complete’ your service. Don’t let maximum loyalty points be your limit. Diversify your rewards, for example, by offering referral bonuses or birthday treats.
- Making the design engaging. Think about emotive colours, like reds for passion and green for go. Your calls to action need to be easy to read.
Need help designing your next ‘game’?
If you’re not sure where to start with gamification, we can help you with a user-centric interface. Get in touch with our Chorley digital marketing team to get started. With a few tweaks, you could emerge the winner in a game of your own making.
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