Stay in the Game by Following Best Practices
Successful Gamification of business websites ultimately rests on following common sense best practices in an industry in which little specific formal methodology is firmly in place and the existing methodology often does not sufficiently address many key issues. With proper processes, checks and testing in place, a desired outcome can be delivered more effectively with fewer problems and unforeseen complications.
For example, consider Gamify (www.gamify.com). The company offers game mechanics as a service—plug-and-play widgets with no programming required, simple installation of reward programs, streamlined addition of points, levels, badges and leaderboards to products. Gamify emphasizes a key best practice in gamifying a business website:
“Monitor your results in real-time and conduct A/B testing (split testing or bucket testing)—a method of marketing testing by which a baseline control sample is compared to a variety of single-variable test samples in order to improve response rates. A classic direct mail tactic, this method has been recently adopted within the interactive space to test tactics such as banner ads, emails and landing pages.”
Bunchball 11 Gamification Tips
Bunchball (www.bunchball.com) is the leading provider of online gamification solutions used to drive high- value participation, engagement, loyalty and revenue for some of the world’s leading brands and media. In October of 2007, venture-backed Bunchball was the first company to provide game mechanics as a service—on Dunder Mifflin Infinity, the community site for the NBC-TV show The Office. San Jose, Calif.-based Bunchball’s Nitro gamification platform is a scalable cloud-based service for gamifying websites, social communities and mobile applications.
Bunchball has distributed a whitepaper, “Winning with Gamification: Tips from the Expert’s Playbook.” Here are some highlights on developing a sound gamification strategy:
- Map your goals with your user’s interests.
- Prioritize the actions you want your users to take.
- Develop a point scale system based on the value of the action.
- Use levels to keep users coming back.
- Make visually appealing badges and trophies that impress.
- Add rewards and prevent users from gaming the system for them.
- Use real-time feedback on progress.
- Leverage groups and teams so folks collaborate and push one another.
- Post leaderboards.
- Integrate social media.
- Mobilize the effort.
Gamification Overload Inevitable
No matter how well a Gamification strategy is implemented and best practices pursued, the effort to stay on top of developments will never stop.
Gabe Zichermann is the head of GamificationCo, chair of the Gamification Summit and Workshops and co-author of the book “Game-Based Marketing.”
Will consumers be overloaded by points and badges from every angle?
“The short answer: yes, but not yet,” Zichermann says.
According to Zichermann, on the surface, the natural outgrowth of (the proliferation of game mechanics) will be thousands of different point systems and millions of badges that could eventually become unmanageable “social clutter” – as suggested by Phin & Shane in their Mashable post on game mechanics.
A huge panoply of badges being issued could clutter up newsfeeds and create confusion.
“The best badges – from a design and social meaning standpoint – will get through the ‘badge firewall,’” Zichermann predicts. “While others will be blocked, much as email spam is today. Additionally, I’d look for ‘meta-badging’ systems that will start emerging this year to help users keep track of their achievements across sites/companies. While we don’t yet know if Badgeville or Big Door will offer these features, one would hope they’ve got the message.”
Clutter is a Fact of Life, but in the world of gamification, we’re at the dawn of the industrial era. Our factories are just beginning to hum – and while we haven’t figured out all the details just yet, you’d be well advised to gear up your assembly line. Consumer engagement is an arms race, and worrying about future confusion isn’t going to get you the virality and satisfaction you’re looking for today.
Contact Digital Eye Media for information on how to Gamify Your Website: P: (949) 900-3017; firstname.lastname@example.org.