A criterion for successful businesses is getting and keeping the attention of customers and employees. Unfortunately, in a world of extreme multi-taskers and shrinking attention spans, capturing attention is becoming increasingly difficult.
Microsoft Research found that the average website visitor decides in 10 seconds or less whether or not they’re going to stay on a site. And if your site makes it past 30 seconds, you’re lucky to get two more minutes of their undivided attention.
CBS News reported that consumers saw as many as 5,000 ads a day back in 2009. In today’s multi-screen world, that stat has probably tripled.
According to Gabe Zichermann and Joseph Linder, co-authors of The Gamification Revolution, “This engagement crisis isn’t slowing down and has impacted a number of industries – from the civil service to finance, engineering to retail. However, one industry seems to be immune to the shattering of focus: games.”
Think about it. What was the last game you played? Did it consume all of your attention? Did you lose track of time?
I’ve probably spent 15 hours and $20 total tapping away on Candy Crush Saga. And during the time I was playing, I wasn’t thinking about someone else’s brand—that truth probably applies to the other 45 million people playing Candy Crush on Facebook each month.
Candy Crush is addicting because of its design and its ability to trigger a variety of emotions from the player (i.e. sense of achievement, happiness, excitement, frustration, etc.).
Onboarding a user into the player journey is quick, especially for individuals who have experience playing Bejeweled or Tetris. Players easily rack up points and gradually learn new techniques that become harder to master as the player graduates from one level to the next.
The game also has social components like a leaderboard so you can see who amongst all of your Facebook friends scored the highest and a map to let you know which of your friends you’ve passed and which of your friends are ahead of you.
Think Gaming estimates that Candy Crush brings in around $633,000 in revenue a day. It’s no surprise then that many companies are reevaluating their customer loyalty programs and injecting it with gamification. In other words, companies are taking characteristics from games and applying them to non-game settings to drive audience engagement.
Brands that have successfully applied gamification to increase audience engagement and sales include Domino’s, Nike, and Mint.com.
Domino’s Pizza Hero app is a game where users can make their own pizza to see if they have what it takes to be a Pizza Hero and rise in the pizza-making ranks. Once the pizza is made, the user can have the pizza delivered to their door. Domino’s has even started to use the game as a recruiting tool. Users who complete preliminary challenges will be given a prompt to apply for a job at Domino’s along with an actual application.
The Nike+ platform integrated a number of gaming mechanics to its platform such as tracking personal goals and achievements while giving the consumer statistics on how he/she is progressing. They created a new experience for the consumer and transformed running to be more fun by leveraging game mechanics to motivate action.
Game mechanics can even be applied to encourage consumers to save money. Mint.com, a personal finance management website, helps consumers create financial goals then measures in real-time how the user is progressing towards a goal. Mint will even provide suggestions on things you can do to save more money—that in itself is a reward.
Before you run to your boss and start pitching that every client assignment needs to be gamified, it’s important to understand that gamification isn’t just about points, badges and leaderboards. You have to understand what motivates your customers and audience. You also have to think about how to create a sticky experience that will lead to the consumer behavior you want to happen.
To learn more about how to apply gamification in your business, I highly recommend reading The Art of Game Design and Gamification by Design. I also encourage you to check out Gamification.co, the leading source for Gamification news. The team actually integrated game mechanics on the site to keep visitors engaged. Try it out and let me know what you think!