This year, the global gaming industry is projected to shoot past the $115 billion value mark, up from $108.9 billion in 2017, of which nearly half will come via mobile. Globally, over 80% of App Store and Google Play Store downloads are games.
In simple terms, this tells us how much people love to play games–anywhere and everywhere. They love to be challenged, and they likely relish that rush of dopamine when they collect a coin, complete a level, or vanquish an opponent.
Many brands are already entering these mystical worlds. In-game ads, tie-ins such as KFC’s inclusion in WWE 2K18, and gaming influencer partnerships are catching on. Indeed, tapping into the gamer mindset offers a host of brand benefits that can be realized cost effectively.
Compelling An Audience To Act
How much information is on your LinkedIn profile? The platform displays a progress bar that assigns you a rating, such as beginner or intermediate, to reflect how much you have. It plays to that competitive itch that gaming scratches, egging you on to reach the coveted all-star status.
This is a classic gamification tactic, employing game-design elements and principles in non-game contexts. Essentially, this means adding fun, motivating, and rewarding experiences to the tasks that you want your audience to carry out. For LinkedIn, this means gamifying everything from profile views to skills and endorsements.
Brands harness these principles for a myriad of different purposes. Nike gets people more active. Google keeps its Maps product up to date with accurate information. Insurance company Aviva makes its customers become better drivers.
Whatever your task may be, if people aren’t currently motivated to complete it, it’s worth considering how it could be gamified.
Building Customer Loyalty
Is brand loyalty on the decline? While the answer is complicated, to keep their customers coming back for more, businesses are putting gamification to work. Take online retailer ASOS. Its A-List loyalty scheme sees members earn points for making purchases. As their tally grows, they unlock different levels that entitle them to an increasing number of rewards. The initiative is helping to propel the business forward.
Another thriving online business is Chinese retail site Alibaba. It’s international online marketplace, AliExpress, takes gamification to a new level in its mobile app. It’s all built around earning coins, which users exchange for coupons or discounts on purchases. These coins are allocated for completing a multitude of tasks, ranging from leaving comments to following other users. New tasks are constantly added, and collected coins can even be multipled by playing mini-games within the app.
Every aspect of the experience is designed to keep customers coming back, earning more coins, and spending more money.
Increasing Engagement, Awareness, And Sales
We’ve discussed gamification, but actual games can also be highly powerful tools for brands to achieve a range of objectives. There are two reasons why this is true right now. First, as mentioned before, the vast majority of us carry around a powerful, high-resolution, permanently connected gaming console wherever we go. Second, we are constantly bombarded with content that we have little interest in engaging with. Game-based content appeals to the gamer in us all, so it naturally stands out.
That said, the game play and incentives must appeal to your target audience, and the content and flow of the game should be built around the objective you’re looking to achieve. For example, this summer, luxury scent specialists Jo Malone created an online game in the style of an arcade-style grabber machine. It sat on the home page of its U.S. site and offered users three chances to grab a prize–ranging from free personal engraving to actual products. The straightforward game play and simple, slick design was perfect for its target audience of affluent females. And its objective was clearly driving e-commerce sales, as users had to make a regular purchase to claim their prize.
Elsewhere, recent comScore research found that mums spend considerably more time accessing games and social media on their phones than women without children. Baby snack brand Kiddylicious used this knowledge to boost awareness of new snacks by creating a Candy Crush-style game for mums to play on the brand’s Facebook page. (Note: The game was created by my agency.)
To sum up, I’d like to cite a wonderful podcast from the forward-thinkers at BBH Labs. Called “Entertain or Die,” it put forward the notion that brands must look to entertain consumers who are becoming increasingly wary (and weary) of advertising in all its forms.
Entertainment comes in many forms. The power of gaming and gamification places consumers right in the centre of that entertainment. Now is the time for your brand to give it a spin.