Gamification is the process of applying elements of game design to non-gaming contexts. It’s not a new concept but has been used frequently in recent years by organisations to create a set of activities to entertain while customers are waiting or processes to solve problems. Video game elements are now used for an array of different purposes using elements including points, avatars, timers, badges, and leader-boards.
These can be competitive or collaborative activities, generally with a specific set of rules and an end goal or accomplishment. Games and features within games have been utilised to entertain, educate and engage for centuries, but these days there are a few that simply do it better. Looking at three different types, we’ll identify some of the most effective applications of gamification.
The chances are we’ve all seen or at least heard of spinning a wheel for the chance to win a prize. It’s such a simple and effective method of applying gamification that a broad variety of industries harness the spinning wheel format to increase customer retention and interaction.
For example, in the entertainment sector, Paddy Power Casino operates Paddy’s Wonder Wheel which is a daily free-to-play mini-game that gives select customers the chance to win free spins, cash, bonuses or scratch cards. While spinning the wheel doesn’t always guarantee winnings, it’s a popular feature due to the gamification of the promotion that just feels like a side-mission or bonus level of a game.
Meanwhile, in the travel sector, Bright Sun Travel allowed their customers to spin for £50 off their holiday. Whereas in the hospitality sector, restaurants often apply spinning wheel offers to holidays like St Patrick’s day, where customers could win a free meal. The fact that this type of gamification is being applied to such a broad range of industries really demonstrates how effective and universal this simple premise is.
How did you get on with the latest #GCHQPuzzle?
Did you need a clue? 😉 pic.twitter.com/rhYI2zgNie
— GCHQ (@GCHQ) February 8, 2022
Government Communications Headquarters, normally known as G.C.H.Q., is the security and intelligence body of the United Kingdom and is responsible for providing signals intelligence and information assurance to the government and armed forces. It might sound like James Bond stuff, as they work to protect national security interests, but the work is generally code-breaking and what’s referred to as ‘ethical hacking’.
With a shortage of viable applicants for available positions due to people being unaware of the employment opportunities through traditional recruitment advertising, they decided to turn to gamification. The campaign essentially told potential applicants to go online, solve a puzzle and become a British spy.
Those that cracked the online cryptographic puzzle before the challenge expired were presented with a hidden message, that led to a Web address, where they were finally welcomed with a congratulatory note inviting them to submit a formal job application. The move must have been a successful process as they used the same trick to recruit aspiring female spies and often pose puzzles on social media platforms.
Exciting update: Foursquare’s Panel App is now Rewards by Foursquare! You might notice some changes… but don't worry, it's just a fresh coat of paint and more ways to earn points. We can’t wait for you to explore all the new features Rewards by Foursquare has to offer! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/xPE4hfXYCw
— Rewards by Foursquare (@RewardsByFSQ) August 17, 2021
Generally referred to as Foursquare, this app delivers personalised suggestions and hints of places to check out close to a user’s current location. Rather than just suggesting any popular location, the app utilises the user’s location and browsing history to make recommendations. It is predominantly employed to let your friends know where you are and figure out where they are.
With tie-ins to Facebook and Twitter, they have successfully operated social gamification with points, prize badges, and coupons, for users persistently using the app for their daily routines. Users earned points for checking into a location and more points for visiting a new location and checking in. Those that checked into a place more than anyone else, became the Foursquare Mayor of that location, just like levelling up in a video game.
The gamification has been so prosperous that they now offer a Rewards app by Foursquare, which uses a similar points system if users allow location tracking with the app running in the background, refer friends or complete surveys. Essentially users sell their privacy for points that can be redeemed with gift cards for Amazon, Sephora, Starbucks, and others or entry into a sweepstake for various prizes.
While everyone these days is aware of gamification, sometimes it can be difficult to deduce when it is being used effectively. These are some great examples, but there are many more that are imperceptibly part of your everyday life.