Want to retain your consumers? Play games with them

Gamification is gaining momentum among marketers as means to strengthen consumer loyalty in a cost effective manner

e4m by Saloni Surti
Updated: Jul 15, 2013 8:56 AM
Want to retain your consumers? Play games with them

To make the software easier to work with and give beginners and intermediate users an engaging tutorial, Adobe Photoshop designed ‘LevelUp for Photoshop’. The tutorial model had game-like features that gave users an opportunity to learn while earning various rewards. After clearing each level, users were greeted with an animated applause with an option to share on social media. There were also visually appealing applauses and methods of constant motivation.

Using game-like rules for their tutorial model helped Adobe Photoshop achieve almost 40 per cent increase in unique users, 100 per cent increase in page views, 85 per cent increase in time on site and 42 per cent increase in ad revenue.

Using game dynamics for online or offline projects to enhance consumer engagement, RoI, timeliness and learning is called 'gamification'. Being a cost effective method to keep the TG tuned in, gamification has gained immense momentum among marketers in the last few years. Major digital players such as Hungama Digital and Zapak Digital came on board with the new concept, thus signifying the big business it can get.

Gamification – Where did it begin?
The term gamification was coined by Nick Pelling in 2002. While the concept became a raging success across the globe, it is still in its early stages in India. Consumer loyalty programmes were increasingly losing their charm and hence, marketers were seen looking out for better options. At the same time, the fast growing e-commerce sector was using the concept profitably.

To get away with the dullness posed by the loyalty programmes, marketers adapted to gamification. Gamification not only made consumer loyalty programmes and habit-making procedures fun, but it was also easy to adopt and had lower digitisation cost.

“Marketers now understand that digital is to retain consumers and not only to acquire,” said Rahul Avasthy, Head – Digital Strategy and Social Media at Zapak Digital Entertainment, explaining why gamification has picked up. “Retaining consumers is now getting prominence on digital.”

Hungama Digital recently launched a gamified music application. The app allows users to listen to music according to their mood and earn and redeem points for every action, including playing a track, sharing and inviting a friend to the application. The application creates user loyalty by allowing them to be ‘pro gamers’ and earn points.

Why is it a winning deal?
According to Gartner’s Gamification Report 2011, 50 per cent of the organisations that manage innovation processes will gamify those by 2015. By 2014, more than 70 per cent of global 2000 organisations will have at least one gamified application.

The future of gamification is strong due to the intrinsic strengths that the medium possesses. Along with basic cost effectiveness, engagement, loyalty enhancement and habit creation, come a lot more benefits.

The concept of gamification leads to organic shareability, explained Avasthy. Thus, virality and brand representation and brand recall increase immensely. Nike Plus introduced a tag running app. It links directly to social gaming as users who have downloaded the app are entered in a game of tag. To not get out, users have to keep running; thus adding the virality factor with social and gamifying the tangible aspect of running.

Time spent is another benefit offered by gamification. With rewards, badges, levels and other such game elements, time spent by consumer on the brands increases significantly. Gamification also gives marketers access to User Generated Content (UGC) in the form of pictures, videos or any other media which can prove beneficial to the brands.

How should marketers play the game?
Gamification is still an evolving concept in the Indian market and hence, marketers should be extremely careful in how they want to execute it by keeping a few elements in mind.

Power to users: To create loyalty or a habit among the users, it is important that the brand places power in the hands of the users. Avasthy pointed out that like a Mario game gives options between three doors for the player to enter, a gamified app should give options so as to place power in the users’ hands.

Multi-screen: Once a particular campaign in gamefied, marketers should make sure that it is present across platforms for analytics and marketing touch-points purposes.

Scalable: The campaign has to be scalable in terms of handling all the data that is created. Big data should be combined with gamification dynamics.

With consumer attention decreasing constantly and the fierce competition in every sector, marketers need active dynamics to retain consumers. In the coming days, digital will come forward to be a major cost effective way to retain consumers with gamification at the forefront. Once marketers master this (gamification) art, they can manage to conquer a lot in terms of large TG, important data and brand goodwill.

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