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Crossway between Gamification and Google Analytics

If there’s any evidence that gamification has hit its hype peak, this is it. Gartner made a prediction in 2011 that by 2015, more than 50 per cent of companies that manage innovation processes will gamify these process – a fact today. We are seeing organisations like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Nike, TreeHouse, etc, having effectively adopted gamification.

Gartner defines ‘gamification’ as the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. Successful gamification efforts focus on customer engagement, top-of-mind awareness, revenue and improving product connection. Here are two famous examples:

  1. M&M’s Eye-Spy Pretzel Campaign
    As part of their M&M’s Pretzel marketing campaign in 2013, M&M’s created an eye-spy game for Facebook where on a graphic filled with M&M’s, users had to find one small hidden pretzel. Simple, cost effective, yet terrifically engaging, the game went viral and got more than 25000 Likes, 10000+ Comments and over 6000 Shares.
  2. Nike+ and the Running Experience
    Nike+ is a great example of a game which draws and holds in customers making them interact with each as well as with the company. The Nike+ app initially monitored users running, gathering data and displaying achievements. It allowed them to connect through social media with friends and the community to compete and compare. The game has kept evolving through the years including the Nike+ Fuelband as well as a host of sports. A vital Nike Community Project it promotes a healthier lifestyle as also the various Nike products and services and is a rich information resource for both Nike’s R&D (Research and Development) and Marketing departments. The gamification process drives virality, engagement and tremendous customer brand loyalty.

Google’s servers churn out millions of records everyday to analyse the digital ecosystem. With analysis of Big Data having become a key ingredient for intelligent marketing their Google Analytics service helps ‘find order in chaos’ as the phrase goes. Using analytics platforms, companies are able to capture, store and analyse raw chaotic data helping marketers gain fresh and relevant actionable insights aiding the making of informed marketing decisions and strategies.

Now, just think about all the possibilities we could get after intersecting ‘Gamification’ with ‘Google Analytics’.

Reputed Blogging site ‘itechwithmoodle.com’ did one such research. For test purpose, they released 2 versions of a particular course, one with a gamification approach and the other without it, both having Google Analytics installed to track user interaction and data. The gamified approach had points, a token for every article read and rewards after completion of a particular course. Providing a leaderboard to this approach further catalysed as a self-motivating factor cultivating a more engaging experience encouraging consumers to stay connected.

Over a span of two months, they found that there were almost 20 per cent more page views on the gamified courses than on the courses without games. Based on the page flow, the gamified course had a more goal oriented streamlined approach rather that its counterpart which was more chaotic showing that gamification helped provided a more structured approach to user flow as well as increasing overall engagement. Further the busiest hours on the gamified page could be tracked as just after lunch and at evening snack time while there were no visible trends for the non-gamified page.

With the behavioural tracking capability of Google Analytics, organizations can analyse and deploy a better strategy to incentivise customer actions and engage them. Real-time data analysis allows marketers and R&D department’s to make real-time decisions and take immediate action based on fresh, reliable and relevant information. For example, a badge could be provided to the user when he/she visits a new place (Swarm/Four Square). Also, based on an organisations mobile user database, a push notification strategy could be developed to reward the consumer which in turn increases the time spent and virality. The various dimensions provided by Google Analytics like geolocation, time, device used, browser used, demographics, etc., can be utilised to create a better approach for gamification.

In conclusion, having the right gaming strategy is important. It is not a last-minute plan or a one-stop solution for a problem. Remember, your customer is most likely visiting your site with the intention of relaxing and interacting with your game. How you keep him engrossed is a strategy in itself. A split second is enough for the consumer to stay on your Web page or never visit your site ever again. There must be an end goal, a milestone for the user to reach to make the game exciting. Today gamification is serious business which no organisation must take lightly.

A clear understanding of your client’s goals, building a good scope of work, charting a strategy, developing a solution and then continuously updating your strategy based on the gathered data using analytics is the key to success for a meaningful gaming enterprise taken on by any organisation.

Jaysheel Pradhan is the Chief Technology Architect at Havas Media in Asia Pacific. Technology is his passion - from websites to apps, desktop to mobile, server-side to client-side technologies; understanding their usefulness and extracting the best to create people experiences is what he has cultivated over the past 6 years. In India in 2014 he featured on Impact’s ‘Top 30 under 30’ list and was voted ‘Most Promising Young Talent’ at the Indian Digital Media Awards.
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