When it comes to the app world, gamification is all the rage. Gamification is the integration of game dynamics into your app to boost user engagement or participation. But even so, for any particular app that exists out there, a user will only be engaged in its gamification after they become familiar with the app to begin with. Then, and only then, can they get excited by incentives such as collectibles and points.
Therefore, the entire gamification in mobile apps can only be preceded by, first and foremost, an interaction of the app by the user. Otherwise, it is of little use to gamify it if it cannot draw users in its core offering.
There are various manners to integrate the incentive strategy with the main methods being the use of leader boards and reward points which are also referred to as badges. However, mere incorporation of the mentioned dynamics into one's app does not at all come close to guaranteeing user experience success, since there have to be objectives and proper comprehension of how they connect with the user.
As in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where self-actualization, security, esteem and love and belonging are essential, gamification can be viewed in relation to such. The gamification process goes further than just surface level technology usage; it is psychological. This is because it deals with the engagement of the user’s mind.
Certain key points need to be covered in depth before embarking on the implementation of gamification techniques.
1. Objectives setting:
One may very well be tempted to dash into gamification just because it is being rampantly used by a whole lot of other apps and games. However, it is important to note that in that sea of apps and games, the successful ones are only those with a purposeful reason for incorporating gamification. One needs to pinpoint what goal, in particular, they are hoping to achieve.
It could be the building of a community, the creation of a viral loop, the acquiring and increment of user engagement or even just sustaining the retention levels. Identification of user behavior goes hand in hand with setting the objectives and these need to be done as the very first thing in order to set a proper base for the gamification methods implementation.
2. Ecosystem ingraining:
Only the most suitable methods should be used. Gamification should be greatly reliant on two things: what kind of app it is as well as the behavioral patterns of the user while interacting with the app. Not all incentives techniques may work with some apps. For instance, monetary rewards may not be the most appropriate in some apps; therefore one may need to find the next best alternative technique.
After identification of such, one can now proceed to gamify bits that make it possible for user acquisition, interaction, behavior modification and management, loyalty or commerce. They should be smoothly embedded in your app’s ecosystem for the most efficient user experience keeping in mind the objectives that one has set.
3. Speedy rewards
Getting a reward after a user accomplishes something is the most basic gaming dynamics. It is safe to assume that a great reward at the very end of the interaction experience is a huge driving factor for users to stay engaged. However, what is truly more satisfying is the acquisition of smaller rewards chipped in at certain checkpoints or milestones throughout the app levels.
Such rewards may include: unlocking new features or level, acquiring a new status, for example, a Silver or Gold member, or even a large range of badges, some of which are limited in number. It keeps users motivated to see that they get to the next level of the experience as opposed to waiting untill the end for a reward, which they may end up not finishing the game at all. One should keep them curious about what the next reward would be.
4. An addition of value:
A user needs to feel a certain sense of accomplishment while using an app or game. This may branch from either undertaking a number of tasks in which they outdid themselves or maybe from learning a new thing. Users take any challenges presented by the app as goals they need to reach. That is the addition of value into gamification.
While the gamification may sometimes be a daunting task even for the best mobile game developers, it should not be so complicated for the user. They may otherwise get discouraged and discontinue interacting with it altogether, which is counterproductive. It is very easy to run into applications that are excellent in their basic sense.
However, in the incorporation of gamification, the developer may get carried away and add one too many features that may confuse or suffocate the user who consequently might stop using the app altogether. Therefore, simplification is paramount. As long as one keeps some user score, further features may be unlocked based on what levels the user is in or based on the score. Simple, clean and gradual does it for easier user interaction.
6. An addition of sharing loops:
Few things are more satisfying than showing off your badges, top scores, new unlocked features or status in any app to other people who may be struggling to acquire the same. App users want to get recognition for their dedication, efforts, and achievements. That flaunting ability alone helps a great deal in the acquisition of new customers by creating awareness of the game, as well as retaining and further engaging the ones already present.
It is for this reason that one should consider social media looping into your app. Allow users to show off their skill on various social media platforms. One may also go a step further and add an option of having users invite their friends into the application to use as well as to compete against them instead of just strangers.
That's basically how to gamify your app in the most rewarding and potentially profitable way.