Why gamification and big data go hand-in-hand

We look at the rise of gamification techniques in marketing and customer loyalty and provide examples of how organisations are using the methodology to find new levels of engagement with consumers and employees

To illustrate just how extensive the use of gamification has become to date, we’ve compiled three examples of real-life applications, each driven by distinctly different motivators.

Example 1: Driving conversion rates for Adobe Photoshop
Gamification was used by media technology and digital marketing vendor, Adobe Systems, as a way of improving the number of trial users of its Photoshop product suite who purchased the product. Although the company offered a 30-day trial to on-board customers, people weren’t signing up. Bunchball’s Rajat Paharia, who worked on Adobe’s gamification activity, said part of the problem was the complexity of the product suite.

“Adobe has a portfolio of tutorials, video content and information on how to use the software but people just want to get in and start using it and the conversion rate was low,” Paharia explained.

“We worked on how to change the on-boarding process using gamification. What we identified was that if you can get people across 12 key pieces within Photoshop, gain a sense of mastery and fluency with the tools, and then learn by doing, the likelihood of them buying will be much higher.”

Bunchball provided a plugin with them called ‘level up with Photoshop’, offering 12 missions, each exposing trial users to functionality such as red eye removal, object removal, teeth whitening, split across three levels of difficulty. Users earned points, unlocked badges, and could see a progress bar of their efforts. The platform also had a number of links to tutorial content Adobe had always offered, in case users couldn’t complete a specific mission.

“It flipped the typical learning model, which is that ahead of time do the learning, read the manual, and then in future maybe you’ll apply something you have learnt. Instead, this model was ‘do and learn’,” Paharia said. “That learning is very directive; it’s helping you accomplish a task and is that much stickier.”

Close to 70 per cent of trial users made it through the first level of four missions, and 42 per cent made it all the way through. Adobe saw overwhelmingly positive sentiment from the people surveyed, and notably, four times as many trial users bought Photoshop at the end of the gamification activity as those who hadn’t gone through it.

“Adobe had a lot of data on the features users needed to learn, as the program was geared towards amateur photographers. They also had the new stuff in every new release and wanted to make sure people saw those too. We offered a mix of those through the 12 missions and it worked,” Paharia added.

Example 2: Driving consumer awareness and branding

Bunchball also devised a gamification activity for banana supplier, Chiquita, as a marketing campaign around its sponsorship of the animated film, RIO. The company built a website aimed at mums and kids including videos and a sweep stakes offering a grand prize trip for four to Rio De Janiero.

Paharia said the challenge with most sweepstakes sites is that users normally sign in, fill in the prize form details, and never come back. “They’re also inherently counter-viral – if I’m smart, I’m not going to tell anyone else about this as it’ll reduce my chances of winning,” he said.

To combat these two factors, Chiquita’s site featured lots of video and gaming content. Visitors earned banana sticker badges in their online passport for consuming various types of content, and accomplishing various tasks.

“The clever thing was they kept a running total of how many badges the entire community could unlock, and unlocked various prizes at every 25,000 badges,” Paharia said. “No one was going to get the grand prize trip to Rio unless the entire community together unlocked 100,000 badges. By doing this, they were able to counteract that counter-viral nature.”

The activity generated 5.6 million word of mouth impressions and the website chalked up over 1m page views, including 800,000 unique site visits.

“Chiquita was also able to capture a huge amount of consumer information who had signed into the site and provided contact information they could market to in subsequent campaigns,” Paharia added.

Example 3: Community building

Gamification provider, Badgeville, worked with storage and networking vendor, EMC, on its rewards and motivation program (RAMP) to encourage more participation across its own developer and online community.

The initiative was designed to reward different activities, recognise key social champions across its community, and build an aspirational system that motivated and increased social activity, originally for employees and then the wider user community through EMC’s ECN network, said Steve Sims, founder of Behaviour Lab at Badgeville.

“The idea was that if EMC could recognise employees for what they are doing and also developers within the network, it would build an ecosystem where things are stickier, where people will communicate with each other and with EMC,” he said.

“The Ramp program was firstly about encouraging participation in the community, then it was to connect real world and live events. It was also designed to boost registration and participation in those events.

“Thirdly, the aim was to have a vehicle for after event contact so that they could create almost like a 360-degree touch with the customers, developers and other participants within the community.”

As a first step, EMC recognised people for social contributions, then added levels to show time and grade as well as real-time notifications. “One of the important things in gamification is to provide real-time feedback for how your [staff] is doing,” Sims said.

“EMC then hooked the ECN up to try to create systemic connection both before events and after events. So you have a community and you’re interacting. The next thing is how to extend that. So we used this program inside of the community to engage interest for things like EMC World. The overall mission was to build activity and community and then to extend it to all of the events they did.

“To tie it all together, EMC reached out and connected with the employees and the developers after the show to continue. The whole thing was basically a concept of touch and journey together. It didn’t matter what the event was, what was before or after, EMC is trying to drive social connection and contact.”

The result was to increase user activity post-RAMP by 20 per cent, around participation, downloads, replies, comments and so on, Sims said.

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