What is Gamification?
The dictionary definition for gamification is the process of adding games or game-like elements to something such as a task to encourage participation. In recent years, this concept has gained a lot of traction in many industries, from health fitness to marketing, from retail and e-commerce to education.
Gamification comes in many forms. One of the key benefits of gamification is to make the user experience more fun and interactive to increase engagement with your brand. For example, health and fitness mobile apps are full of gamification. The Apple Watch is a perfect example of this, on the fitness app you can share your fitness progress and achievements with your friends. You can get notifications and alerts whenever they complete a milestone, finish workouts, or complete daily fitness tasks. The app also has a competition mode where you can compete with your friends in a seven-day competition, a winner is determined by whoever has the most points at the end of the week, and points are gained by completing daily fitness challenges.
Gamification isn’t just exclusive to playing games or competing with friends though, in the marketing industry, sweepstakes, contests, and other promotional campaigns are all forms of gamification. For example, a sweepstake where people have a chance to win a prize by sharing a certain number of social media posts ultimately incentivizes people to interact with that company or brand. Contests where people submit their content for a chance to be featured on a social media page are another way companies gamify user interaction.
The reason companies and brands utilize gamification is simply that it promotes engagement. Naturally, people have a desire for competition achievement and recognition. People want that dopamine rush of winning or being rewarded for something, it’s a completely human reaction. However, there are ethical ramifications behind the use of gamification because it relies on tapping into people’s inner desire for competition and achievement.
It can be used to manipulate, one notable example is the video game industry. Loot boxes are a popular game mechanic present in many online games. A loop box is exactly that a box full of unknown rewards typically purchased with in-game currency or real-world currency. The winning percentages are usually never publicly disclosed, so there’s an air of unpredictability when players open them. This mechanic has often been compared to gambling as it can cause addiction.
Ultimately, gamification can be a useful tool, but it’s important to use it responsibly and ethically without being profit driven. When used properly, it can create a fun and engaging environment while also giving your brand a healthy marketing boost.