Gamification. It’s the latest social media buzzword to echo off the rooftops in Silicon Valley and New York City. Or, as NPR proclaims, “the next wave of social engagement and Internet technology.” It really follows one simple rule: to get users excited about your product, you need to engage them. Fiercely.
Since game mechanics may well be the wave of our digital future, it’s essential that your blog or business gets a cut of the pie. Here are some companies that specialize in gamification and how you can take advantage of their services:
Badgeville is a innovative social gaming company that basically takes the concept of Foursquare–which allows users to earn badges by frequenting certain locations–and applies it across websites. Badgville allows companies to set up an account and assign badges to certain kinds of actions a user may perform on the site. Badgeville can use web analytics to track down the number/kinds of pages users have read, share button clickage, commenting, etc.
It charges a monthly fee, but promises results: Its webpage claims that “industry-leading customers are experiencing increases in key business objectives over 30%.”
OneTrueFan also utilizes the Foursquare concept in that it’s a “check-in” service for websites instead of physical locations. The user, or the “player,” gains points by visiting his/her favorite sites and displaying this information to others. Marketing-wise, it helps businesses by showing backlinks for blogs and posts, giving companies insight into who is looking at their page.
Stopped.at is another great way to share your web browsing habits with friends. You can add the stopped.at “check-in” button to your browser toolbar. Perhaps the most promising feature of the service is that it has a “deal” incentive program for users–frequent browsers can get rewards like discounts, coupon codes, and exclusive content at their favorite websites.
Bigdoor burst onto the scene in 2009, and last year decided to enter the world of gamification. Using Bigdoor’s services, publishers can add badges, virtual currency, good, and badges to their sites (and even their apps). Its widgets and developer API are completely free, though enterprise-level support costs money. Like the other services, you’ll be able to track user analytics–and re-optimize based on the data.
Bunchball, one of the oldest gamification companies, boasts clients as prestigious as NBC, Warner Bros., and ABC (as well as others in the health and corporate sectors.) Bunchball says that page views tend to increase 60% with their gamification practices. It’s “nitro” gaming platform drives users to participate in web activities like watching videos, answering questions, posting to forums, looking at pictures, etc.
Whatever your gamification goals are, these companies are ready (and well-equipped) to achieve them. So go on. Encourage your visitors to play.