Who Is Currently Applying Gamification?
Even though gamification is a relatively new trend, there are already plenty of success stories in application of these techniques. This post takes a quick view at some of these websites, providing examples of how gamification is helping these web services to stimulate user involvement.
FourSquare is possibly one of the most successful services that make use of gamification, and is presented as a paradigm of gamification application, although its conception of gamification is rather simplistic. Even so, FourSquare has been able to stand out from its competitors (other geolocation sharing services) thanks to its gamified approach. A priori, nobody wants to share his/her location for privacy reasons, but if sharing our location allows us to play a game in which we compete against other users and friends, we get “badges” and experience points, and these points enable us to earn promotions and discounts in the places we usually visit, sharing our geolocation becomes something different. Something dull which can damage our privacy has turned into a game and an experience that changes our everyday life.
Another pair of very interesting examples are the services conceived by Seth Priebatsch: SCVNGR and LevelUp. SCVNGR is a “real-life” game based on an iPhone and Android mobile app. In SCVNGR, institutions and companies can create challenges linked to a specific location, in such a way that they challenge users to “check into” those locations. On the basis of the initial SCVNGR concept, the same team has created LevelUp, which takes gamification to the coupon world. LevelUp is meant to be an extension of the standard coupon website which introduces certain game mechanics once a purchase has been made. The concept is based on attracting users to your business on the basis of deals, but then obtaining user loyalty thanks to game mechanics which in LevelUp consist in a couple of “levels” which users can access after making their purchase.
Starbucks has also made use of Gamification thanks to “My Starbucks Rewards“, a customer loyalty programme focusing on retaining the new customers made by means of prepaid gift cards. When you are given one of these cards and register it in the Starbucks website, you start a new experience which allows you to earn “stars” on the basis of the purchases and refills charged to the card. These stars allow you to get free coffee refills, specific deals, or even free coffee, which encourages Starbucks customers to keep playing the “game” (which also offers a progress bar and a number of achievements).
In the case of DevHub, its service gamifies a process that is apparently quite unrelated to games (or to “fun”): the process of creating blogs and corporate or personal website. Initially, DevHub was a “regular” website building website, but they had the problem that just 10% of their users would build their own website. After applying Gamification techniques, they got practically 80% of their users to complete the blog building process. DevHub has turned the “chores” that users had to perform in order to develop their own websites into missions as part of a game to create your own “online emporium”.
The final example, which has a very particular approach to gamification, is Subaru, which has introduced the concept of the “Subaru Badge of Ownership” as a way in which Subaru owners can display their Subaru “badges” on their own cars. This shows that the large brands are really aware of the importance of creating a fuller consumer experience, and that a satisfied buyer can be the gateway to access many other customers.
If this post has been of interest to you and you would like to find out more about gamification, I recommend that you read the other posts on gamification in this blog. You can also take a look at this engrossing talk about Gamification.