Many experts think gamification is one of the most important trends in technology today. Gamification, which involves applying game design thinking to non-game applications to make them more engaging for customers, is gaining momentum.
One company that helps businesses measure and influence user behavior is Badgeville. Badgeville offers a suite of Behavior Lifecycle Management solutions that are built on advanced database technology, Badgeville's PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) and is designed to connect user reputation across all digital touch points.
I spoke to a Badgeville rep about its suite of products, particularly about gamification and how enterprises can use it to measure customer engagement and respond accordingly.How do you create meaning out of gamification behavior that is useful to the enterprise?
Every customer program is rooted in analytic insight, from benchmarking current behavior, to opportunities for program iteration to enhance results. We believe modern analytics should be contextual based on your business objectives and user behavior. Badgeville's product team, led by an senior Omniture alumn, defines gamification and behavior management as techniques to not only influence behavior, but to create relevant meaning out of the measurements that you can use to improve your bottom line.How does gamification drive ROI?
Gamification, used properly, ties directly into a company's key business objectives to drive high-value customer and employee behavior. These techniques can be used to help improve efficiency of your sales teams, increase the LTV of customers, or increase overall engagement within a media property for increased advertising revenue. Gamification is, at its core, a data-based business strategy. First, you determine what user behaviors align with your business objectives. Secondly, you measure your existing performance around these behaviors. Once you implement your gamification strategies you carefully track your ROI. Our customers have experienced a 20 percent to more than 200 percent increase in these key behaviors, across very diverse experiences and audiences.How does one measure customer engagement in regard to ROI?
Customer engagement ROI varies depending on your business goals. For a straight retail experience, ROI can be easily defined by customer conversion, but this is a very limited view of engagement. Ultimately, customer engagement contributes to both LTV and referrals. Many companies track LTV, but they have little ability to grow LTV outside of traditional, conversion-based loyalty. In many cases, the same audience that creates the most buzz about your brand, products, and offerings may not be the audience that is directly converting, but this audience is still highly valuable to your organization. Customer engagement isn't about the top 1% or even top 9% of your audience. It is about engaging your broader audience, encouraging these high-value behaviors such as sharing links to new products, reviewing purchases, rating items, and engaging in conversation across your digital properties.
Bell Media's MuchMusic, the number one Canadian brand for young adults, available in 8.6 million households across Canada, recently partnered with Badgeville to launch a gamification program across its digital properties. Named MuchCloser, the program ties together the channel's diverse online experiences, linking their major yearly awards show website with websites of other television series such as the popular series Degrassi. Users are rewarded for behaviors such as registering, leaving a comment, uploading content, voting on polls, liking on Facebook, reading an article, visiting the site, watching a video, and sharing a link. The program also provided MuchMusic with new sponsorship opportunities to reward user behavior and loyalty.Since the program's launch across MuchMusic digital properties in early May, more than one in three registered users return daily. These tens of thousands of users have performed more than 325,000 activities including watching, voting, reading blogs. Activity has increased by an average of 59% from week to week, with an average of more than 14 activities per user. Thus far, more than 116,000 badges have been issued.
Another example would be Samsung Nation, a successful engagement program for Samsung's US audience. The program, which can be experienced on www.samsung.com, offers a social loyalty experience for Samsung fans. Site visitors are encouraged to register for the site, leave reviews on products, view new products, share links to content, and more. While not directly selling products through the brand website, the program has significantly helped encourage clicks to shop from product pages.
An employee facing example would be Deloitte:
Feedback from some clients is that the Deloitte Leadership Academy experience has become "addictive" and competing with peers is now part of how clients are achieving their learning plans. The leader board has been an important element as it creates a status oriented competition amongst users inside their organization.
After being live for only three months, results to date include:
- 46.6% increase in the number of users that return to the site daily
- 36.3% increase in the number of users that return to the site weekly
- An average of 3 badges per active user
- Top user has collected 30 badges already
- Already one user has earned the Leadership Academy Graduate badge which is expected to take 12 months to achieve
Badgeville customers experience 20 to more than 200 percent increases in user behavior, with some customers seeing as high as 500 percent lift in key objectives.
Gamification isn't just for driving customer engagement. You can use the data collected to drive most of your business functions.
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.