In the last year Internet gamification has often been in the news, mainly due to the boom of services like FourSquare, which have been able to successfully apply mechanics traditionally linked to videogames to user loyalty, encouraging users to return to the services and act in a much more dynamic way.
Web gamification can make use of the key factors to videogame success in order to achieve something that is really hard for websites: making users have fun using the tool in question, as well as encouraging them through a number of challenges and rewards.
In recent years, SEO has been king in the Internet, due to the large investments made by many companies to improve their search engine positioning and attract investments to their websites. However, SEO currently has a number of significant limitations:
- A high degree of competition for the vast majority of keyword that are relevant to any business.
- It can attract users (which already seems to be an acceptable ROI), but it doesn’t ensure target conversion or loyalty.
- If we focus exclusively on SEO, we will become completely dependent on search engines, and highly vulnerable to changes in page ranking algorithms.
- An increasingly high cost which in some cases does not justify the investment made.
Due these and other limitations, SMM (Social Media Marketing) has recently become very popular. Through correct management of our company’s social profiles, we can reach our target audience and get them to visit our website, probably with better conversion ratios even than by means of SEO (among other things, because when it comes to attracting followers, we already perform, or should perform, a more suitable segmentation than can be achieved by means of SEO). But we still have some hard-to-solve problems.
Using gamification techniques in our website can help us to get around the main limitations of SEO and SMM, as:
- It helps to achieve website user loyalty by means of basic mechanisms which we all respond to (challenges, rewards, achievements, etc.)
- It helps us to turn boring chores into attractive tasks, promoting user participation.
- It allows us to become distinct from our competitors, particularly if we take into account the fact that most websites don’t apply this kind of techniques yet.
We should pay attention to the movement that is being generated around gamification, given that as the SEO market becomes saturated (high number of competitors for every keyword, and increasingly high costs) we should focus more on nurturing the users that access our website that merely on seeking new users