Gamification is the process of applying game elements and principles to non-game contexts such as education, healthcare, marketing, and business. Gamification has gained popularity in recent years due to the development of digital technology, social media, and the gaming industry. According to a report by Markets-and-Markets, the gamification market is expected to reach $30.7 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 27.4% from 2020.
Gamification is the fusion of gaming and business strategies that aim to increase participants’ motivation, satisfaction, and behaviour. Understanding gamification and its business benefits can help entrepreneurs and managers create more effective and innovative solutions for their organizations. In this article, you can learn about the increasing use of gamification techniques in the business sector and their impact on employee engagement, customer retention, and overall business growth.
Gamification is not just about adding games or rewards to existing processes or products. Gamification is designing experiences that use game elements such as points, levels, achievements, rewards, competitions, and collaboration to drive desired actions and outcomes. Gamification also relies on game principles such as feedback, goals, rules, progress, and autonomy to create engaging and meaningful scenarios for participants.
Behind gamification is the psychology of play and how it affects human behaviour. Games can activate various motivational factors such as the need for achievement, recognition, social interaction, and self-development. Games can enhance participant engagement by creating a state of flow – an optimal state of consciousness where a person is fully immersed in an activity, experiencing high levels of concentration, enjoyment, and achievement.
Benefits of gamification in business
Gamification can bring many benefits to a business, such as:
- Increased employee engagement and productivity. Gamification can increase employee motivation, satisfaction, and loyalty as well as improve employee skills, knowledge, and behaviour. Gamification can be used to train, develop, evaluate, reward, and recognize employees. For example, Deloitte used gamification to train its consultants in leadership skills and increased the completion rate by 50%.
- Improved collaboration and strategic skills among employees. Gamification can create scenarios requiring employees to apply critical thinking, creativity, and analytical skills. For example, IBM used gamification to create Innov8, a game that teaches employees the fundamentals of business process management through interactive simulations.
Successful case studies
There are many examples of successful applications of gamification in business. Here are some of them:
- Starbucks used gamification to create My Starbucks Rewards, a loyalty program that allows customers to earn stars for every purchase, climb levels, and receive free drinks and food. The program helped the company increase sales by 14% in 2020 and attract more than 22 million active users.
- LinkedIn has used gamification to increase user engagement on its social network. The company added gamified elements such as a profile completion indicator, profile improvement tips, achievement icons, and skill ratings. These elements helped the company increase the number of registered users to 756 million in 2021 and increase user engagement by 27%.
- Slotomania Site is a popular online casino game that offers a variety of slot machines and other casino games. The game is developed by Playtika, a leading company in the social gaming industry. Slotomania has been a successful case study of gamification in the online gaming industry. The game has over 100 million downloads on Google Play1 and over 13 million likes on Facebook. The game also generates high revenues for Playtika, which was valued at $11.4 billion in 2020.
Implement gamification into your business
Gamification can be an effective tool for growing your business if used correctly and aligned with your organization’s goals and needs. Here are some steps and considerations for integrating gamification elements into business operations:
- Define the purpose and metrics of gamification. What do you want to achieve through gamification? How will you measure the success and effectiveness of gamification? What behavioural or business outcomes do you expect from gamification?
- Define your audience and their needs. Who is your target audience for gamification? What do they want, and what are they missing? What motivating factors and preferences do they have? How can you meet their needs through gamification?
- Identify the gamification elements and principles. What game elements and principles will you use to create a gamified experience? How will they align with your purpose, metrics, and audience? How will they interact with each other and with the non-gaming context?
- Develop and test a prototype. How will you implement and integrate game elements into your product or process? How will you test and evaluate the prototype in the early stages of development? How will you collect feedback from users or employees?
When implementing gamification into your business, it is also important to consider potential challenges and risks, such as:
- A mismatch between gamification elements and business objectives. Gamification should align with your mission, values, and strategy, not contradict or detract from them. Gamification should serve as a complement to, not a replacement for, your core product or process.
- Overload or lack of gamification elements. Gamification should be balanced and appropriate for your audience and context. Too many or too few gamification elements can lead to less interest, motivation, or trust in your solution. Gamification should be simple, clear, and enjoyable for users or employees.
- Unethical or manipulative use of gamification. Gamification should be honest, transparent, and accountable to your users or employees. Gamification must not be used to deceive, coerce, or exploit your audience. Gamification must respect the rights, freedoms, and interests of your community.
Gamification is a powerful and promising trend in the business sector that can help organizations improve their competitiveness, efficiency, and growth. Gamification can create more engaged, loyal, and satisfied customers and employees, as well as foster skills, knowledge, and innovation.
However, gamification also requires careful planning, design, and implementation to avoid potential pitfalls and achieve the desired results. Gamification needs to be tailored to your objectives, audience, and context, as well as taking into account ethical and social considerations.
Gamification is not only a game but also a serious business. If you want to use gamification to grow your business, you have to be prepared that it will require creativity, analytics, and experimentation. But if you do it right, you can discover new opportunities and benefits that gamification has to offer.