One of the common mistakes in the industry today is the assumption that all gamification is created equal. In creating an industry, many of us have forgotten that the competitive realm will be comprised of a wide variety of gamification examples and solutions. While many distinctions between enterprise and consumer gamification are beginning to emerge, we also see a trend in the lack of separation between gamification products and gamification solutions. The two may seem similar, but in our experience, gamification products don’t tend to see the same success as a comprehensive gamification solution. Typically, a product is a one-size-fits-all answer to the problems of user engagement online. It is generally the same regardless of the type of users, content on the site, and site-specific needs/goals. For many websites, this application of gamification works great: it provides extra lift in registration and engagement, yet remains simple enough for a small publisher to manage themselves. For larger publishers a product is often simply not enough.
The reality is that large scale gamification is a network of moving parts, working in unison to engage and motivate users. This network is what we refer to at BigDoor as a gamification solution. Adding game mechanics to incentivize loyalty amongst online users is only part of the puzzle. Comprehensive service differentiates between a product and a solution, and elevates the latter to provide publishers with even more lift in engagement. Gamification is more than points: it’s a system that shows the user why those points matter. A solution creates a unique experience for the user that is ever changing and adaptable to publisher and brand needs.
While gamification products are traditionally implemented and left alone, solutions are continually managed. In our experience, this level of service is what has ensured success in our implementations. After all, we design, build and deploy our product all the time, but it’s our continued adjustments and attention to detail that turn a deployment of our product into lasting success. So, what happens after launch? How is “success” of a program determined? What is the process of making changes?
The most vital piece to our gamification solutions success is our dedicated team of gamification-minded account managers, implementation specialists, and loyalty experts that work with our partners to analyze user behavior and adjust gamification content. This team exists to make sure that our partners are receiving the best ROI, service, and support for their site. Using past experience, data from the BigDoor analytics dashboard, and a close look at every partner’s goals, we strive to find the winning combination of parts for a successful gamification program.
Here is a look at some of the questions BigDoor account managers look at in order to make adjustments to a partner’s solution:
-What are the activities that the site’s user’s are normally engaging in while on the site?
-What is the average user’s passion level for the site content?
-What is the purpose of the user’s visit to the site?
-What are the expectations of the user in terms of implementation content, flow, branding, and design?
-What existing features and functionality especially “speak to” and resonate with the sites users? (i.e., leaderboards for a competitive user audience, or rewarding users heavily for commenting on topics in a tech support forum)
-What is the goal of the solution? To drive registration, retain a certain level of traffic of registered users a month, have users perform one specific activity (or several in a particular sequence), etc.?
-What aspects of the solution are under-performing or performing well, and by what metrics does our partner determine “success”?
We use the answers of these questions to justify possible changes within the solution. With every implementation, our team gets a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. This knowledge informs not only specific implementation changes, but also product-level features. Our account team is accessible for a partner during the entire lifecycle of a solution, from when a solution is first being designed, built and deployed, to testing/QA, and from the launch onward.
Ultimately, solution management is a necessary part of the puzzle for gamification success. We havve talked before about the benefits of site-wide implementations, and we recognize the level of commitment that an implementation takes from a partner. That commitment requires that extra level of support from our end. At BigDoor, we recognize that there is value in creating long-lasting relationships with our partners: They know we are clearly invested in their success. A loyalty solution is a living breathing organism; just like the site’s users. Our partners are smart enough to recognize that as their audience’s behavior changes, so to should their solution. Does any website that is trying to engage their users want to be left with an antiquated, buggy, and irrelevant loyalty program?