How to implement gamification? Tools your app needs to succeed in 2023
Gamification tools are platforms designed to help you create engaging user experiences. Because they make it easier to add game features like points, levels, and badges, using a gamification tool can quickly make your app more fun and satisfying to use. In turn, this will improve user engagement, retention, and loyalty. But which tools for gamification are right for your app? In this article, find out all you need to know to pick the best gamification tool for your business in 2023.
Gamification is the use of game-like elements like badges, points, and levels in non-game contexts. In short, gamification tools help you leverage the data mined from user behavior to incentivize desired user actions. Essentially, it’s a means of persuasion!
But what makes it so persuasive? To start with, gamification is based on behavioral science. Research shows that gamification taps into the deepest parts of human psychology, and in doing so results in something powerful. By satisfying multiple innate and complex needs like fun, personal growth, and belonging, a gamification tool can improve user satisfaction.
That’s because, when you realize those inner cravings, you create intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivators make your app naturally satisfying to use, in turn, enticing users to return to your app! Indeed, studies show that while extrinsic motivators – based more on simple, transactional concepts like prizes and hard results – push users through the discovery phase, intrinsic drivers sustain long-term user retention.
What are the benefits of gamification?
Today, gamification is helping power a surge in mobile app spending. And that’s the case even in today’s unstable economy. Despite a recent decrease in disposable incomes, consumer app spending continues to rise. Likewise, spending on gamification tools is increasing. In 2022, the global gamification market was valued at $15.8 billion, up 26.5% a year. By 2030, the industry is predicted to be worth an impressive $95.8 billion!
Here’s why the world is gamifying:
Slash onboarding churn
Without a doubt, the most important part of the customer journey is onboarding. This is when users have the least amount of attachment to your app – so it doesn’t take much for them to quit! In fact, industry wisdom states that each onboarding step results in a 20% increase in user churn.
To combat this, gamification provides users with instant value! That’s because games are built on a simple concept: complete a task, get a reward! In short, using checklists, interactive onboarding missions, and progress bars makes your onboarding way more fun, not to mention easier to understand. All in all, this makes it harder to quit!
Drive user engagement
The average person spends 1/3 of their time on mobile! And they are always searching for a place to engage. This makes users fickle – and prone to churn – but it also means that there is a huge, untapped reward waiting to be seized! Using a gamification tool can help you attract that potential engagement. Indeed, case studies show that the right implementation of gamification features can increase mobile user engagement by 47%!
Improve user retention
Apps with the best and most exciting user experiences will dominate. In fact, just one bad experience can turn off 2/3 of your users forever! Conversely, tools for gamification can create an app experience that fulfills the basic needs which users crave. Gamified elements are shown to increase perceived levels of usefulness, social influence, and enjoyment. To be sure, when you boost these triggers, you unlock a powerful user motivation that makes retention less of a challenge!
8 examples of how to implement gamification features
When you use a gamification tool, it is fast and easy to implement new game elements. Indeed, there’s no need to code and spend huge sums on app development. But you still need to know what to use and when! Here’s how it works:
Avatars are like profile pictures – but better! Essentially, they are just images that represent the user. But they come in different forms, ranging from a simple image to an animated person, such as Snapchat’s Bitmoji.
Basically, avatars let you feel more personally involved, which increases perceived autonomy and your sense of ownership over the app. That makes users less likely to want to leave! Not to mention, avatars help facilitate social behavior because people feel like they’re talking to a person, not a bot! To sum up, use avatars to enrich socialization and ensure a good level of customization.
Badges are primarily achievements, however, they are also a form of feedback called positive reinforcement. In other words, the great feeling of getting a badge motivates users to continue! As well, badges can be used as a status symbol. Users love to show off their badges to their peers because it’s a sign of their personal growth and competence. That’s why, when Duolingo introduced badges, their referral rate jumped 116%!
Challenges work because they’re fun. It’s as simple as that! Looking closer, behavioral studies show that challenges are a great way to test user skills, or ‘perceived level of user competence’. This is highly motivating and increases app reuse intention. What’s more, the fact that users choose whether to participate motivates them further. Science shows that people look more positively at their own choices – and they will stick by them!
Ultimately, you can use challenges to get users to perform the behavior that you want to see. A fitness app might want users to run for longer, for example. Well, set a public challenge and watch your users compete to outdo each other! Using a gamification tool, you can easily implement all kinds of challenges.
Lotteries make rewards unpredictable, and that’s exciting! For one, unpredictability keeps the user experience fresh, which gives users a reason to stick around. What’s more, lotteries motivate us whether we win or lose. Research shows that just the fear of missing out is motivating enough to make users engage!
To really boost engagement, you can let users make more entries depending on how many points they have. This incentivizes users to engage across your whole app! Not to mention, holding a lottery is more affordable for you than simply doling out prizes. In the end, it’s the fun of the game that matters, not the prize!
Interactivity is important. Elements like polls can draw users in, simply by asking for their opinion! For you, this is a great way to gather user feedback and inform how you use your gamification tools. And for your users, polls can be hugely positive:
Empowers users and shows you value their input. In effect, this builds trust;
Regular polling incentivizes daily engagement by promising something new;
Creates a shared interest among your users, which builds a community feeling.
Of course, to ensure maximum engagement, keep your questions short and sweet!
Quizzes are a quick and easy way to test your user. It’s true that people enjoy testing their own skills. In fact, studies show that this need motivates us to take on challenging and satisfying experiences, which ultimately leads to increased well-being!
When you implement quizzes, you can use them to encourage daily activity and act as flashpoints for rewards, such as extra points or level upgrades. For instance, when ESTUDIOS came to StriveCloud to take advantage of our gamification tools, quizzes were one of the 20+ features that they found most useful.
Matthias Zander, Head of Platform @ESTUDIOS – “The biggest advantage is that on the platform you can create a place where it’s worth coming back on a daily basis. For example, you can organize daily quizzes.”
An in-app currency is a form of ‘status points’. In other words, the more you have, the more valuable a user you are! Currencies also provide instant feedback, as they reward users for their effort and growth. And simply put, earning currency is just a great feeling! What’s more, when users already have coins in their wallets, they’re incentivized to stick around. This is called ‘stored value’. Essentially, it is difficult to abandon a currency that you’ve gained and still own. People don’t like to lose out!
To maximize the usefulness of an in-app currency, set up a marketplace where users can redeem their earnings. For example, somewhere to buy app perks and bonuses, as well as merchandise and other goodies that deepen their engagement with your brand!
Wheel of Fortune
In a ‘Wheel of Fortune’, users spin the wheel for the chance to win a random prize. This is a way to further gamify your rewards and even emails. Basically, they are a way to quickly reward your users and entice them to come back for more. That’s because a wheel of fortune boosts the unpredictability of your experience!
A great example of this is the KFC Rewards Arcade app. By implementing games like Wheel of Fortune, the popular restaurant chain wanted to increase loyalty, engagement, and customer lifetime value. Without a doubt, KFC achieved its aims! Their use of the gamification tool Antavo resulted in a 53% increase in loyalty program participation.
What are gamification tools?
Gamification tools make gamifying your user experience faster and easier. It’s simple – instead of spending time and money on coding features, you can use a platform that has already done the work for you! On that note, using a gamification tool gives you the flexibility to add features gradually. Like that, you won’t overwhelm your users!
In addition, many tools for gamification have expert teams ready to help. Their advice can help you better understand gamification, know what gamified user experiences look like in your industry, and ultimately design an app that’s effective and engaging!
What is an example of a gamification tool?
All kinds of industries can use tools for gamification. A gamified app is simply a mobile app experience that has been enriched with features like points and badges. In short, what’s important is that you want to create growth and improve user engagement!
Here are some examples of gamification tools in 2023:
Based in the heart of Europe, Belgium’s StriveCloud offers a flexible gamification tool that is trusted by clients across industries: fintech, shared mobility, edtech, health, and enterprise. And because the software is fully modular, you can easily create a great app experience. With over 20 interactive features like rewards and challenges at your disposal, you can easily increase engagement, and user loyalty, and maximize customer lifetime value!
Michael Stewart @HumanForest -“I really like how easy to use StriveCloud is. I don’t need to interrupt any developers or use any code, there’s no lengthy deployment process & changes are updated instantly.”
SaaSquatch, from Canada, positions as a “referral & loyalty software”. In particular, they offer referral programs that can integrate into both web and mobile apps, with features like points, gift cards, and cashback. This focus on loyalty and tangible financial rewards differentiates them from other gamification tools, as they focus more on sales and user referrals than generally improving the user experience.
Sweden’s Insert Coin is a start-up geared towards teachers, HR managers, and product owners. Their team understands the ins and outs of gamification and is ready to help design and improve your app. At the moment, most of their clients are also Swedish.
How to pick the best tools for gamification for your business
Gamification tools let you improve your app fast and flexibly, all the while being guided by expert advice. Still, every product is different. Ultimately, picking a gamification tool depends on your needs. Whatever you do, keep in mind 3 key elements the tool must have:
Feature availability. A wide range of interactive features opens opportunities.
A/B testing. To ensure that you maximize your success!
Expert gamification consulting. Put your plan on track – and avoid costly mistakes.
Picking the right platform is one thing. You also need a team that understands your needs and goals! That’s why StriveCloud offers free consultations, so you can quickly get to know our friendly team and discover if our loyalty & gamification tool is right for you.
Top tips for gamification in 2023
More than anything, the success of your gamification relies on understanding what motivates your users. With this knowledge, you can use rewards to satisfy the needs that humans crave like progress and achievement. But you can’t just tack on gamification elements. Indeed, you need a clear strategy! Given this, building a gamified app can be intimidating. That’s what makes gamification tools so helpful!
Whether you use a gamification tool or not, here are 3 top tips to keep in mind:
Have concrete goals and track your progress. Gamification drives the action that you want to see. Naturally, then, it’s important that you know what action it is that you want to promote! Having a concrete goal, like increasing user retention by 10%, can help guide your design strategy and also act as a progress tracker.
Implement game elements gradually. The more choices that someone has, the more likely they will be overwhelmed and quit! That’s why tutorials don’t bombard with you information all at once. Essentially, it should take minimal effort to learn how your app works.
Remember to reward participation. Gamification is all about rewarding users for engaging. Like that, they keep engaging! In practice, that means giving users with things like points, badges, and redeemable prizes. When rewarded at the right time, (usually right after the task), the benefits can be huge! For example, research finds that badges result in a ‘significant positive effect’, leading to higher user engagement!
Gamification is the use of game-like elements like badges, points, and levels in non-game contexts. In short, gamification leverages the data mined from user behavior to incentivize desired user actions. Essentially, it’s a means of persuasion!
Gamification tools make gamifying your app faster than building each new feature from scratch. Instead of spending time and money on coding, you can choose an off-the-shelf solution with all the functionalities you need! Given this, a gamification tool lets you add features gradually and A/B test the response to each. Like this, you won’t overwhelm your users!
To get the most out of a gamification tool, you need clear goals from the start! This way, you will understand better which user actions you should promote to achieve them, and in turn, which gamification elements to use!
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