Gamification applies gaming methods and features in non-gaming processes, especially in business. The main goal of gamification is to grab users’ attention. The appliance of fascinating game mechanics allows you to stand out among competitors and attract an audience that could not be attracted in other ways. In recent years, games created by brands have become especially popular. Now that Gen Z has grown up and become active buyers, young people who have been surrounded by games since childhood are easily involved in communication with brands that use gamification.
Does business really need this?
The use of game mechanics can solve the following marketing tasks:
- Increasing audience loyalty.
- Introducing an additional point of interaction with customers into the purchase funnel (the more points of contact you have, the more likely that people will remember you when they need your services).
- Strengthening the brand’s reputation (the stronger the brand, the larger its audience).
- Collecting leads (information about users, such as their phone numbers, social networks, location, and email addresses).
- Sales promotion (by using promo codes, drawing sweepstakes and other similar events).
So we have gamification as an effective tool for achieving brand goals and improving audience interaction.
How large companies use gamification
Major brands actively use game elements and mechanics in their mobile applications to grab users’ attention. Here are some examples:
Starbucks has developed a Starbucks Rewards app that includes gaming features. Users can earn stars by completing certain tasks or by shopping at Starbucks stores. After that, the stars can be exchanged for free drinks and other rewards. This creates an element of competition and motivates users to visit Starbucks more often.
Nike: Nike+ Run Club is a popular running app that invites users to take part in various challenges and achievements. Users can set goals, compete with other runners and track their progress. That is how game mechanics help Nike motivate users to exercise.
McDonald’s: In the McDonald’s app, users can play the Monopoly game where they can win prizes and discounts. By purchasing certain products, users receive virtual monopoly tickets that can be used for the game. This is an example of how a game attracts customers and encourages them to visit McDonald’s restaurants.
Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola has developed the Happiness Factory application, where users have a virtual journey through the happiness factory. Users can play mini-games, complete tasks and collect virtual items. This creates an interactive and engaging experience related to the Coca-Cola brand
Popular game mechanics
These are just some examples of the use of game elements in mobile applications of major brands. Gamification increases customer engagement, improves the app-using experience and strengthens the ties with the brand.
Here are some of the most popular game mechanics that brands often use in mobile apps:
— Levels and Progression: Users can complete various levels, increase their experience or achievements, and discover new features or content as they progress in the game.
— Achievements and Rewards: Players receive rewards and achievements for completing certain tasks, and achieving certain goals. This may include medals, badges, trophies, or virtual items.
— Competitions and Leaderboards: Players can compete with each other, compare their results and get into the leaderboards to show their skills and achievements.
— Collectibles: Users can collect and improve various items, characters, cards or collections, which helps to increase their status and achievements in the game.
— Game Events and Temporary Promotions: Developers hold temporary game events, promotions or events, where users can receive exclusive rewards or benefits for limited periods.
— Social Interaction: Players can collaborate or compete with friends, exchange gifts, participate in multiplayer modes or communicate via chats and forums.
— Virtual economy: A game may have a virtual currency that can be earned, spent or exchanged for in-game items, improvements or services.
— Puzzles and Challenges: Incorporate puzzles, logic challenges or mini-games into the main gameplay to provide players with variety and challenge.
— Premium Content and In-app Purchases: Users can purchase premium content, additional features, virtual items or benefits through in-app purchases.
— History and narrative: Creating a fascinating story, characters and tasks that immerse users in the game world and experience emotional interaction with the game.
— Action. Games with active actions, usually action movies that require high speed and accuracy of reaction. A typical example is shooters;
— Adventure. Adventure games focused on finding objects and ways of level passing, as well as solving puzzles and other intellectual tasks within the storyline;
— Strategy. Games that highlight strategic or tactical planning of actions, management of limited resources, number of moves and time;
— Fighting. Player combats in single mode or in multiplayer;
— RPG (Role Play Games). A genre of games where the user acts as a certain character in a storyline. The focus is on the player’s interaction with other characters;
— Horror. A primary task of the genre is to scare the audience, and create an atmosphere of dreadfulness. The emphasis in such games is on creating suspense – an oppressive anxious feeling caused by expectation or by screamers – sharp sudden frightening moments.
— Sports. Games that reproduce the mechanics of a particular sport: car racing, football, snowboarding etc.;
— Simulation. The meaning of the genre is a realistic reproduction of the mechanics inherent in a real-life object: e. g. driving a car or helicopter.
Tips from Globus IT
How to implement effective game mechanics in a mobile app
1. Determine the topic of your interaction with users. Optionally, it should be related to your company’s direct activities. Let’s take the Vietnamese banking platform Tnex as an example. It decided to take care of the mental and physical health of its customers and implemented a pedometer with a diary of the user’s emotional state in its application.
Bunq company has chosen an environmental focus, promising users to plant trees for certain operations performed in the application. But the important thing is to remember that good deeds must be documented. An agreement with a contractor who plants trees will do.
However, you don’t need to concentrate most of the game mechanics in one direction (like football), since this can have its pros and cons.
2. Come up with a mascot that will interact with users, help them and evoke an emotional response. By the way, it may not necessarily be an animal or a person. The Up company uses a triangle, and Sony Bank uses pieces of cheese.
3. Reward for successful actions in the application. It can be a scattering of virtual confetti or fireworks. This also binds the client on an emotional level.
4. Implement an individual approach, e. g. the ability to customise the main screen of the application by each user himself. You can also introduce additional personalisation mechanisms, for example, choosing icons or creating your mascot.
5. Use technological features. For example, the drug & drop technology, or the ability to move icons and elements inside the application.
6. Implement competition elements between users. In the Bunq application, there is a Green rating for users and groups (legal entities) that helps in planting most of the trees.
7. Add a button «Share achievements with friends» and users will do your work by distributing information about your game and application.