What the heck is Gamification, you might ask …

Here is a great explanation from Yu-kai Chou, a Gamification Pioneer: Gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and addicting elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities.

This is what is called “Human-Focused Design” as opposed to the “Function-Focused Design.” It’s a design process that optimizes for the human in the system, as opposed to pure efficiency of the system.

The Future of Creativity and Innovation is Gamification

In this video gamification expert Gabe Zichermann explores how gamification can help with even greater creativity and innovation.

The reason we call it gamification is because the gaming industry was the first to master human-focused design. Games have no other purpose than to please the human inside. There are “objectives” in the games, such as killing the dragon or saving the princess, but those are all excuses to simply keep the player happily entertained inside.

Since games have spent decades learning how to master motivation and engagement, we are now learning from games, and that is why we call it Gamification.

So what is Gamification really? Gamification does not involve games. It is simply absorbing the fun elements of a game into real-world applications (what we call Game Mechanics or Game Techniques).

Gamification is using Game Mechanics and Techniques to engage and motivate people through their Core Drives.

Gamification rewards for achievements

Image: Clicksoftware

Rewards-Based Mobile Apps: Start Rewarding Users to Increase Engagement

It’s common to spot people playing different types of games on their iPads, iPhones and android devices as you pass them. That’s tons of eyeballs, isn’t it? The idea is to capture these eyeballs and convert them into money.

But, how do you achieve that?

‘Reward mobile users’ is the answer. Mobile advertising is being redefined: whip-smart businesses are leveraging reward-based strategies (instead of using intrusive pop-ups) to capture attention and engage. Annoying ads have been out there for far too long. They tire users and drive them away.

Mastering Reward Gamification for Advertising

Kiip’s Brian Wong explains how gamification will change the way we do advertising and marketing. He talks about his concept at Kiip.me and his vision regarding gamification for internet and mobile advertising/marketing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoDoB4-78E0 For more information on Brian Wong and Kiip see his keynote speech at The Next Web.

Most advertisers pay little or no attention at all to ‘user experience’ and ‘trust’. As the modern-day users get smarter and smarter, there’s an urgent need for companies to think about how they can take the user experience to the next level.

Since rewards do an excellent job of fueling human motivation, they can make a huge difference to your mobile marketing strategy and improve your bottomline. You can use reward-based programs to engage users quickly. You can never trick users into engaging with your company or brand. But you can connect with them when they’re having some ‘happy moments’ – through rewards and engage.

Gamification of Mobile Apps

Gamification is a technique that you can use to motivate users to take some specific action. However, it’s important to understand that gamification is less about technology and more about human psychology. Provided you gamify your mobile app appropriately, you can boost conversions by 25% or more.

Catherine Aurelio – Gamification

If you want to know how to apply gamification to your website to get users, customers coming back watch this video (from ca. 2:55 min on). Catherine Aurelio is the User Experience and Creative Direction Lead at Bunchball. She has more than 15 years of experience in interactive media and print design creating award winning solutions for her clients in a variety of industries.

In her current role, she provides program design solutions using her unique skillset as a graphic designer, gamification expert and user experience maven to create successful solutions for Bunchball’s clients.


Here are a number of gamification studies with ROI stats showing how successful gamification has contributed greatly to the bottom line of businesses:

ENTERPRISE Gamification Case Stats and Figures

  1. SAP: The SAP Community Network regamified its already-mature reputation system, increasing usage by 400% and community feedback by 96%
  2. SAP Streamwork: added gamification in brainstorming groups and grew generated ideas by 58%

    Gamification case studies SAP

    Image: Enterprise-Gamification

  3. Onmicare: introduces gamification to its IT service desk, getting a 100% participation rate from teams members
  4. Astra Zeneca: gamified medicine training gets 97% of their large network of agents to participate, with a 99% Completion Rate
  5. CaLLogix: reduces attrition by 50% and absenteeism by 80%. The company saves $380,000 per year
  6. Slalom Consulting: participation of employee name recognition program increased from 5% to 90%, and recognition scores improved from 45% to 89%
  7. Galderma: pharmaceutical company, uses gamification to train their sales division regarding new products. Despite the voluntary participation, nearly 92% of targeted employees ended up playing
  8. Spotify and Living Social: replaced annual reviews with a mobile, gamified solution with over 90% of employees participating voluntarily
  9. Objective Logistics: the company motivates the employees through behavioral rewards and increases their profit margin by 40%

SALES Gamification Case Stats and Figures

  1. Autodesk: gamified the free trial, incentivizing users to learn how to use the program and offering both in game and real word prizes, increasing trial usage by 54%, buy clicks by 15% and channel revenue by 29%
  2. ePrize: increased the participation in their sales event by 10% by creating a participation-based point economy
  3. LiveOps: call center reduces call time by 15% and increases sales by over 8%
  4. Step2: children’s retailer used PowerReview’s social loyalty scheme to boost up sales with a 300% increase in revenue from Facebook and 600% in contents uploaded
  5. Domino’s Pizza: created the gaming app Pizza Hero and increased sales revenue by 30% by letting customers create their own pizza with an app
  6. Moosejaw, clothing company, that used an innovative gamified system that saw 76% of sales revenue come from gamified activities, including 240k social media impressions, resulting in a 560% ROI from initial marketing expenditures
  7. Silver Grill Cafe: received a 66% Return on Investment for having its waiters/waitresses play a cross-selling game
  8. Cisco: used gaming strategies to enhance its virtual global sales meeting and call centers to reduce call time by 15% and improved sales by around 10%
  9. Popchips: uses games to personalize mobile advertising and has seen its sales rise 40% leading to $100 million in sales.

Gamification for change management

Image: clicksoftware

More gamification case studies can be found on Yu-kai Chou’s website.

Before you start applying gamification techniques, you should clearly define what your objectives are and whether it will really add value. Gamification works best when it makes users feel they’ve accomplished something. At the same time, any gamification technique that you implement should fit in perfectly well with the overall eco-system of your mobile app. Plus, the experience has to be simple.

Real Rewards vs Virtual Rewards

If you want to realize the fullest potential of mobile app gamification and increase your conversions, you should dole out real rewards, instead of virtual rewards like game currency. Modern-day users have grown wiser enough to differentiate between real rewards and virtual rewards.

Just remember not to give out ‘big rewards’ too fast at the end of a complete experience. The best strategy is to break down one big reward into multiple smaller rewards and give them away one by one on the achievement of every milestone. Doling out rewards consistently throughout the complete journey or experience of users will always make users keep an eye out for the next surprise, and keep them motivated and engaged for longer periods.

 Augmented Gamification

This video shows how augmented gamification can play out in our lives in the not so distant future. I find it slighthly scary since as phantastic as technology can be, this might show an example of how we can go too far and where an augmented gamified reality might not be something we wish for …

Gamification Apps and Mobile Websites

Big brands have the advantage that their apps get searched, found and downloaded in the app stores and play stores of this world. However for the rest of us, 90% of all businesses that is, we need to promote our apps so they get downloaded and used.

This can be done by paying for advertising in and out of the stores and by promoting your app on your mobile website, which essentially is free.

Principles of Gamification - Principles of GamificationTo be successful in turning as many leads in loyal customers as possible make sure you have a dedicated, separate mobile website in place since research shows that ‘responsive’ websites do not convert visitors on their mobile phones well. We all want different things from our mobile screens than from desktop screens in the office and your mobile site simply needs to be customized and focused on what your potential customers want to do with their phones on your mobile site.

With the small screen having become the ‘first’ screen recently, due to mobile traffic overtaking traffic to desktop websites, mobile sites have gained in importance fast. Luckily you can get the design for your dedicated mobile site free, in about 29 seconds (!), which is a mobile-friendly version of your desktop site.

We use an award-winning mobile site software that over 5 million mobile websites have been created with and the mobile site doesn’t affect our desktop site. Plus any changes you make on your desktop website get automatically done on your mobile site, too. Great technology.

So whenever you plan to build your own ‘gamified’ app, make sure you have a pro website in place to promote it.

But if you wanted to do that, build your own app, what would criterias be for a successful app? See below how …

 … Yu-kai Chou analyzes the SuperBetter App

Here is an example of how to evaluate a Gamification installation.

Gamification Author and International Keynote Speaker Yu-kai Chou analyzes the Discovery and Onboarding experiences of Jane McGonigal’s Superbetter 1.0 and points out how the 8 Core Drives motivate people towards each Desired Action. Also some pitfalls on user motivation is suggested, as well as potential improvements.

More information on Gamification:

by Karl zu Ortenburg