Things to Avoid When Applying Gamification

Things to Avoid When Applying Gamification

Gamification is the largely publicized and now almost commonly used the method of making everything in your company grow for the better. But anticipation and benefits aside, let’s take a step back and see for ourselves the truth behind this particular investment. 

Now that we’re taking a step into marketing, we feel like you deserve to know the real risks behind it, how to avoid them, and perhaps even inspire you to overcome them.

Things to Avoid When Applying Gamification

The scale of successful and failed gamification

By 2011 to 2012, gamification was reaching its peak when a multitude of large companies releases outstanding gamified marketing strategies left and right that seemed to have no end of merits with very little costs to invest in. 

But then the American research and advisory firm, Gartner, has this to say: 

“by 2014, 80 Percent of Current Gamified Applications Will Fail to Meet Business Objectives Primarily Due to Poor Design”

In which the press release source can be found at Gartner’s own website. They were right, mainly because companies rush in to invest countless resources to gamification without truly understanding what gamification is. Just because they think it’s easy profits. 

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Although there are literally countless good examples where gamification manages to skyrocket every aspect of a company, there are more failed attempts out there than you can imagine, outnumbering them and most of them unheard of. 

What causes the failures?

Gamification is not some simple trick that would indefinitely secure your companies’ bright future. It is a solution. And a solution is only needed when there’s a problem. And even if there is a problem, sometimes solution A is not as effective as solution B. 

Things to Avoid When Applying GamificationImage via source

Many seem to not realize this even though it should be obvious when you take a step back from your excitement and really assess the situation. Ignorance is the main issue in this regard. 

What to do? What to avoid?

1. Make a point of what you want

It’s incredibly easy to lose yourself in the thought of wanting to gamify without really understanding what you want. Before you do anything, you have to make a point and stick with it. What do you want out of gamification? What must be earned by investing in it? What are your strategies?  

Do you want more people to wear your shoe product so you should gamify why they should wear them with a pedometer perhaps? Or maybe you want more people to know about your restaurant so every time someone visits, they have a chance to share their experience online so they might get something in return if they do? 

2. Don’t think of badges as rewards

It’s true that a lot of successful gamification has badges in them that the user can earn, but the truth is,  they care more about what the badge represents, not necessarily the badge itself.  

Some companies confuse this and think of badges as rewards, that they have value like how the actual acknowledgement they come with should be. They are not. And yet, some companies choose to give these to their consumers for the littlest of things and often not explain why they even earned it, to which it would mean they don’t even know what the badges represent. And if they don’t even know what the badges represent, then it’s already doomed to fail. 

3. Remember that gamification isn’t simple

It can’t be stressed enough about how simply putting in scores and leaderboards are not a good idea. They are a powerful tool should they be used right, yes. They can invoke a nice and healthy competition and sometimes even motivate the user. But when they’re just left there without any real purpose, the users might even dislike the whole process especially a badly designed one where you only let the user see the over-achieving people at the top of the leaderboard, to which could be more powerful as a disincentive. 


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There are still more things to consider of course. Especially if you are still confused about how to apply it the right way. But check back with us next month, we might actually have something special for you marketers besides using programmatic advertisements.


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