Gamification in Digital World and SaaS

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Nikolina Maškarić

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⏱ Reading Time: 4 minutes

Games are powerful. Some, like PokemonGo, win the hearts and minds of many around the world within days of the release, and some are left to rot on the 2nd page of Google – forever.

We experience game elements in our everyday lives and consume them with ease. From leaderboards and LinkedIn’s Kudos, loyalty cards from our favorite brands and their cool reward programs, our world is running on games!

Derived and inspired by real-life and digital games, the term gamification arose as a part of the business and growth strategies of many companies worldwide. SaaS companies that master the gamification tricks stand a chance to make an important leap forward in user engagement and activation.  

In this article, we are introducing you to the essentials of SaaS gamification. Let’s spin the wheel!

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What Gamification Really Is?

As the bare name explains, gamification implies integrating game mechanics into literally anything (product, service, e-commerce website, social media…) to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty. Gamification, from business strategy viewpoint, is also about using psychology and technology to improve workflows.

The final goal of every gamification is to make a product or a service attractive and interactive for users. Take for example PokemonGo, or any game you like and the last time you played it. Even if you felt guilty for spending too much time gaming, you still did your best to catch the Tropius or open another chapter of Candy Crush Saga. Moreover, when you accomplished your task you felt the rush of happiness.

Connected to numerous psychology theories, gamification involves triggers and biases to impact customer behavior, positively. Using game elements such as points, status, badges, and other motivators, non-game applications are becoming more user-friendly and ultimately, drive better engagement.

Related: 13 Unique Sales KPIs that Boost Business Growth

The Psychology Behind Gamification

People learn most while playing. The pleasure and satisfaction derived out of playing (and winning) is a cornerstone of human progress. In that sense, simplified, key motivators for each human is satisfaction and accomplishments. Entrepreneurs worldwide are using those two to motivate their target audience to engage and convert, regardless of the age, wealth or social status of their customers.

Supporting psychological theories classified this phenomenon as intrinsic or extrinsic. Simply put, when our motivation is driven by internal rewards, such as enjoyment, positive feeling, and happiness, that is classified as intrinsic motivation. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation involves doing something for tangible, external rewards like money, praise or something else.

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Gamification mostly uses extrinsic rewards to motivate users. From points, trophies, awards, raking, rating, quizzes and leaderboards, marketers and business developers are using to motivate their users. But, in order to truly motivate the target audience,  customers have to be intrinsically motivated.

Gamification Techniques

In 2015, the iTunes App Store had over +400k gaming apps. To put in the context of just how much games are important to people, the VentureBeat has done research showing that three-quarters of American households own a video game.

To get you inspired here are some specific gamification techniques you can experiment with and test out:

Leaderboard gamification

People love to compete and show off their rewards to others. Recognized by marketers and business developers, leaderboards have long been a way of motivating people, especially in the gaming world.

Leaderboard gamification is not only for gamers, tho. Building a leaderboard that ranks each member by the number of their comments, replies, thanks, or other elements will definitely boost your market reach.

GitHub Leader Board example

Picture 2. GitHub Leader Board Example

Badges gamification

Virtual badges have become a very popular and easy way to reward people for the time and energy they are investing in our service, product or an app. These badges make people feel positive reinforcement for doing something well.

stance, if you are trying to encourage readers to comment on your blog posts, give readers stars and badges for the number of comments they leave on your page, or for the time they spent in the discussion.   

Paldesk gamification quora example

Picture 3. Quora Badges Example

Progress bar gamification

One of the most simple and straightforward gamification techniques is to design a progress bar as a person completes the survey review for a product or a service. This gamification technique could also be transferred to other examples such as blogs. For example, if a customer has filed in 3 out of 5 pages of your article, the progress bar would say 60% done!

People have trouble leaving things incomplete and the progress bar is just an additional motivator to complete the task.

Paldesk progress bar gamification

Picture 4. Progress Bar Example

Gamification in SaaS – The World Runs On Games

Some of the general rules pointed above can work well with SaaS gamification. Studies have shown that showing smiling or frowning faces to drivers is more effective than showing how fast they are driving. Don’t underestimate the power of smiley faces! 

Related: Emojis in Business Communication

SaaS companies have to go beyond points, badges, and leaderboards. Gamification in that niche is about monitoring, tracking and rewarding users for their achievements. Customer journey followed by accurate gamification will motivate users to move through the service with ease. On top of it, if you enable users to share results with their colleagues and superiors and remind them of their progress from time to time, you’ll create an extremely effective and responsive system 

Gamification involves several psychological tactics that ensure great CX and drive motivation, leading to engagement and activation. And the overall experience may lead to higher customer LTV and potential referrals.

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Gamification in Digital World and SaaS was last modified: September 19th, 2019 by Nikolina Maškarić
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