A few weeks ago I posted the first in my series of simple gamification tips for publishers. Tip #1, keep users in mind and make sure to design a gamified loyalty program around your users existing interests and desires. This week, I wanted to focus on another aspect of applying gamification to your site.
Tip #2: Gamification works best when it is applied site-wide
With gamification being a newer technology I understand why publishers are hesitant to commit to a site-wide solution. However, by limiting your gamification solution to a small section of your site, you also limit the possibilities of your gamification program. Gamification is most successful when it remains present, but unobtrusive as a user goes about their routine on site. When gamification is site-wide publishers can reward users for the actions they already planned to take, as well as encouraging users to check out new or less popular content.
Many of the gamification solutions we are seeing on the web today gamify such a small portion of a site that users run out of ways to earn, interact or engage and become bored with the program. Small mini-site implementations may build loyalty to a small portion of the brand, but site-wide implementations are the best way to drive the deep brand loyalty that publishers want. A user that checks out the contest you are running daily, so they can earn points is not going to be as loyal as a user who checks out the contest, reads your blog, comments on videos, joins programs you are running, all while earning towards rewards (possibly even branded rewards) and status.
Some of our favorite examples of site-wide gamification implementations are; Chamillionaire, Xbox Live, NFL, and Mint. All of these have deeply integrated game mechanics across their platform or site, allowing users to earn and engage in a variety of ways.