For nearly 20 years, companies have used gamification—applying game mechanics to something other than a game—to engage with customers. A revolution in content marketing, gamification hooks people emotionally and guides them naturally to the consumer funnel. And, to nobody’s surprise, some companies have seen it increase audience engagement by 50% or more.1 Because gaming is more than just fun. Humans are, as it turns out, naturally wired for this stuff.
At Quango, gamification has proven to be a tried and true strategy for grabbing—and keeping—audience attention. We execute gamified campaigns regularly, from the obvious (video games) to the less obvious (interactive web and event experiences). Over the years, we’ve learned a few things. Here are the top 5 takeaways to remember when pondering this type of approach.
1. Keep It Simple
From Pong to Call of Duty, all great games have simplicity at their core. That doesn’t mean they’re not dynamic or multi-layered—merely that they have both a clear objective and evident progression toward an outcome. Similarly, game mechanics must start with simple, consistent rules. As you build off of them, it’s important to circle back regularly to ensure that you haven’t lost your way or convoluted the user’s path.
When you add marketing to the mix, the game becomes multifaceted by necessity. On top of offering a fun experience, you have to sell something or distribute key information in hopes of influencing an action. Simplicity grows trickier as you intertwine these two objectives. Real games take real skill, and mastering them is what makes them great—but when you gamify a marketing campaign, you don’t want to alienate your potential audience because they keep losing or don’t understand what to do next. Don’t kid yourself: In marketing, your “experience” is not a real game. Everyone wins. If you want results, you’ve got to keep it simple.