Playing To Win: Mobile Gamification Done Right


Gamification, or the use of game elements to promote desired behaviours among customers and employees, has been a popular business strategy for decades. Loyalty programs, cereal box prizes, employee-of-the-month schemes, hidden tokens within video games and applications — these are all examples.

But the always-on mobile age has vastly expanded opportunities for gamification. Integration with social networks means these experiences are shared with friends, acquaintances and co-workers. A smartphone-carrying employee or consumer might be drawn into a gamified experience at any time, wherever they are.

In fact, gamification represents the fusion of four trends: the explosion of social media usage, the mobile revolution, the rise of big data, and the emergence of wearable computing. Already, marketers, enterprises, and even governments are using gamification to achieve and expand their goals.

In a new report from BI Intelligence on the mobile gamificationwe take a look at the overall market for gamification tools, services, and applications, analyse the elements that are critical to a winning gamification strategy, look at the various typology of mobile gamification uses, and detail how to quantify the impact of gamification tactics. 

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Here’s an overview of the state of mobile gamification:

  • A large and getting larger market: The overall gamification market is sizable. Forecasts from two research firms, MarketandMarkets and M2, put the global market for gamification apps and services in the neighbourhood of $400 and $500 million by year-end 2013. M2 Research sees the market growing to $2.8 billion by 2016. Late 2011 Gartner figures project more than 70% of Global 2000 companies will use at least one gamified application by 2014.
  • The classic and most well-known example in the mobile context is Foursquare: Early in its history, Foursquare spurred user acquisition and engagement with its focus on competition and rewards. But Foursquare has shifted away from this gamification dimension. More and more, it has become more of a social app to broadcast location to friends, and a location-based directory that competes with Yelp and Google.
  • But organisations have developed a wide range of uses for gamification: Foursquare’s move away from gamification has been taken by some to signal the end of the gamification fad. We disagree, and believe that it signals something else: the demise of superficial gamification. Consumers are no longer attracted by the novelty of competing for virtual badges and intangible rewards. The shine has faded on gimmicky applications. 
  • Gamified experiences must add real value to the user’s experience, or they will fail to take hold: The right gamification tactics can be used to help with user acquisition, engagement, behaviour modification and management, commerce and loyalty, and business learning and innovation on the enterprise level. The key critical elements of any winning gaming strategy are varied, and include intuitive design, behavioural sensibility, balanced design, and alignment with core business objectives. Some successful examples to look at include Zamzee, Nike+ and SessionM. 

In full, the report:

  • Takes a look at the overall market for gamification tools, services, and applications
  • analyses the elements that are critical to a winning gamification strategy
  • Looks at the various typology of mobile gamification uses
  • Details how to quantify the impact of gamification tactics

To access BI Intelligence’s full reports on Mobile Gamification, sign up for a free trial subscription here.

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