Game Mechanics: The Five Keys to Winning The Game
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Game Mechanics: The Five Keys to Winning The Game

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It's about engagement. Learn the five keys to "gamifying" your site to keep users active, interested and coming back for more. Click here to read a new white paper from social experts, Gigya, on how ...

It's about engagement. Learn the five keys to "gamifying" your site to keep users active, interested and coming back for more. Click here to read a new white paper from social experts, Gigya, on how sites can take advantage of game mechanics.

In This White Paper You Will Learn:
How game mechanics can increase time spent on-site.
-How game mechanics work with your social strategy.
-How basic tenets of human behavior can be leveraged to increase user-generated content on your site.
-Best practices on implementing game mechanics on your site.

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Game Mechanics: The Five Keys to Winning The Game Game Mechanics: The Five Keys to Winning The Game Document Transcript

  • WHITE PAPERGame MechanicsThe Five Keys to Winning the GameYour users want to be engaged. Nothing gets that done better than Game Mechanics.Yet, to succeed, it must be done right. For that, you need to know the five keys tosuccess in socialization and game mechanics.To thrive, it’s not enough for web sites to be attractive Don’t be fooled by the name: game mechanicsand interesting. Not today. Now, web sites must also isn’t about turning your site into a game – it’s aboutbe highly social and engaging if they are to attract incentivizing the right behavior that is aligned withvisitors, maintain their interest, and keep them coming your business goals.back. It may be new, but gamification is already having aTake the trend toward social login on websites, for significant impact on business marketing. Considerinstance, which makes it possible for users to have Foursquare, where people “check in” to all of thea deeply immersive social experience even when places they visit, including hotels, restaurants,outside of their core social networks. And, by linking airports, coffee houses, and everything in between. Astheir activity on your site with their existing social they check in, they earn points for doing so, and evennetwork credentials, it reduces registration time and get fun designations such as “mayor” for visiting aquickly gets them active on your site. And the more certain number of times. The strategy has caught on.ways you enable your customers to engage, throughsocial plugins such as commenting, content sharing,activity feeds, and chat, the more loyal they’ll become,and the more they’ll return to your site. “Game mechanics isn’tThat’s exactly the objective behind the practice of about turning your sitegame mechanics – because when done right, gamemechanics enhances all of those social features. into a game.”The application of game mechanics, once a purviewpertinent only to game developers, has rapidly Increasingly, businesses are gamifying their ownbecome a mainstream topic among marketers marketing efforts, such as a national hotel chain thatas it applies to websites and online content. This is using gamification to entice its customers to visit“gamification” aims to attract visitor interest by locations where they’ve yet to stay. Another example:offering social standing and rewards for certain an online clothing retailer has made a game ofwebsite activities. Rewards can be delivered through customer feedback by designating commenters as athe creation of leaderboards, badges, and loyalty “guru” or a “senior buyer” for those who share theirprograms that encourage visitors to have fun and insight with the company.perform the site activity desired by your organization.www.gigya.com 650.353.7230
  • GAME MECHANICS: The Five Keys to Winning the GameNot convinced? By 2015, M2 Research forecasts Key #1: Encourage More User-that organizations will invest $1.6 billion in game generated Contentmechanics production and that game mechanicsrevenues will be about 23 percent of all social media By incentivizing content creation, your web sitemarketing budgets. becomes richer, more dynamic, and engaging, and search engine optimization is improved dramatically.Gamification works because, at its essence, it In fact, one of the most basic ways to improve user-incentivizes users to act while it subtly taps into their generated content is to encourage feedback on thecompetitive nature. When done right, it leverages the content you produce and present – such as withproven principles of rewards and incentives to help comments, ratings, and reviews. Today, forward-create customer action. Through loyalty programs, looking businesses also are looking for ways to addgames, and social recognition, site visitors help elements of gamification to their user-generatedpromote your brand and content – and they do so content. For instance, with gamification, one canbecause they are having fun. reward top commenters and allow users to rate the value of user comments; thus, over time, certainThe reality is that most companies currently don’t commenters’ observations would carry greater weight.have a strategy in place to succeed at socialization– let alone gamification. The good news is that thismeans there’s still great opportunity for firms thatchoose to move fast. Below, we list what we’ve foundand what it takes to succeed at keeping customersengaged and getting them to return to your website again and again through the power of gamemechanics. The five keys to success for implementing game mechanics: This accomplishes a number of things: it incentivizes your most knowledgeable and active evangelists to 1. Encourage more user-generated participate and promote your product, services, or content content. Second, it helps all of your users to find the most relevant information. Third, it calls for everyone 2. Savvy sharing in the community to provide thoughtful and high- quality input, comments, and reviews. All of this 3. Feedback means more engagement and higher quality content, and a resulting loyalty that will keep them returning. 4. Social login 5. Scorekeepingwww.gigya.com 650.353.7230
  • GAME MECHANICS: The Five Keys to Winning the GameKey #2: Savvy Sharing Key #4: Social LoginIt’s important to promote sharing, but do so with Social login is a powerful tool for engagement, anda larger goal in mind. Sharing of content on sites it brings an invaluable ingredient for gamification:such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others is the user’s social graph. Wanting to be a valued andextremely powerful. And with rewards for doing so, respected part of a community is a big part of humanusers are even more compelled to syndicate your nature, and a basic tenet of game mechanics is thatcontent. But be careful: rewarding a user simply for users are more inclined to participate if there is asharing is in violation of many of the social networks’ real-world benefit behind the rewards. This can be asterms of service. To prevent users from spamming simple as increased reputation within a community.their feeds with content, social networks prohibit Once a user logs in via social APIs such as Facebookimmediate incentives for clicking the share button. Connect or Twitter, she can then convenientlyOne potential solution is to have users work toward a compare herself with others on the site, including herlarger goal or ranking as a result of sharing – not for social network friends.the sharing itself. Instead of prodding them to “click toshare and earn ten points,” sharing can be a means What if your visitor knows some people in the siteto bring users toward an achievement. Doing so tells community – but they’re still new to the game?visitors that sharing has value, but does not drive How can we encourage participation? Simple – bythem toward mindless clicking. They’ll share what awarding them points just for clicking around, loggingactually matters to them instead of just spamming in or for remaining on a page and consuming content.their social networks. That’s a win for everybody. This brings a user into the game by automatically rewarding her with badges and points. As soon as a user recognizes the value in earning points (perhapsKey #3: Feedback her comment appears higher in the activity feed), she’ll get hooked and then participate with intent.Social network reaction buttons (such as Facebook’s“Like” and Google’s “+1”) are powerful features.They serve as both content contribution and sharingtools as they allow users to express an opinion withjust one click. Furthermore, you can incorporategamification by rewarding users for “liking” contenton your site — and by prioritizing the opinions andthe feed activity of highly-ranked users. For example,when a website’s activity feed displays populararticles and top user reactions, a visitor is more likelyto click because those users’ opinions will be morevalued. It also is important to show the counters nearthese reaction buttons; this way, those active usersget instant feedback and see that their opinions makea difference. Keeping users involved in a game without much effortAlso, the ranking will encourage others to strive for a on their part is a powerful strategy to convert themhigh level of status -- and all of this helps to promote into active participants, and they’ll be much moreeven more engagement on your site. likely to return again and again.www.gigya.com 650.353.7230
  • GAME MECHANICS: The Five Keys to Winning the GameKey #5: ScorekeepingAny effective implementation of game mechanics “Gamification needsis clear on the rules of the game, as well as therewards for participation. That means users need to to relate directly tobe educated about how to achieve recognition andhow to advance within the system. To educate, don’t the social elements ofblast them with endless notifications. Rather, considerusing gentle notifications that don’t monopolize your site.”their entire screen. Additionally, rewards must have Such complexity makes it more challenging for yourmeaning, and that meaning must be understood by IT team to keep up with social networks and APIthe entire community to have value. changes, which can break your site’s social elements and leave visitors confused and unengaged.Rewards are just like currency; instead of monetaryvalue, however, it’s social value – prestige and As the technology evolves, site owners will beinfluence. tempted to layer even more point products onto their sites, increasing complexity even further. Just like other areas of technology, such as web siteThe Challenge of Current Technologies performance and measurement tools, network andThe reality is that having the best gamification system management and security have convergedstrategy laid out is a great start, but doesn’t mean – and there’s no reason why social engagement andmuch if you can’t execute your plans effectively. One game mechanics won’t be the same.reason why many attempts at gamification don’t reachbusiness objectives, or fail outright, is that all of their Success Through Unifying Social andsocial elements – sharing, commenting, chatting, and Game Mechanicslog-on – are siloed, stand-alone implementations. To simplify management and to extract as muchAs detailed above, gamification needs to relate value as possible from your game mechanics anddirectly to the social elements of your site – the user- socialization platform, it makes sense to turn to agenerated content, sharing, feedback, social login, platform that consolidates crucial capabilities such asand scorekeeping. But all these elements need to registration, sharing, game mechanics, and analytics,be integrated in such a way that they work in unison. including the ability to seamlessly integrate custom-This is much easier said than done. Today, there is a built elements.hodgepodge of social and game mechanics plugins.In fact, the market is littered with point solutions This way, businesses can connect their sites moreall offering different components that are coded in easily to all the major social platforms, includingdifferent languages. This creates an unmanageable Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Yahoo!, and LinkedIn.mess to develop, support, and maintain, let alone to This makes it possible to enhance users’ connectedextract the optimal value from your efforts. experience through authentication via existing identity, one-click sharing, as well as on-site social features such as live chat, and then analyze the business results of their on-site social optimization effortswww.gigya.com 650.353.7230
  • GAME MECHANICS: The Five Keys to Winning the Gamethrough detailed metrics and real-time data. actions that benefit your business through its plug- and-play and fully customizable integration options.The importance of this type of tight integration And the platform is fully integrated with all Gigyaonly grows as user engagement becomes more plugins and social analytics – so you can quickly andsignificant to marketing efforts. It means an increased easily reward your users for activities you want themunderstanding of how users are engaging with your to perform.site, and that provides better insight into how toweave game mechanics into your site successfully,based on your most important business objectives. ConclusionThis is what Gigya does for its customers every day. Today’s web users want to engage with the sites theyGigya makes websites social by integrating online visit. They want to be rewarded for their participation,businesses with the top social networks and identity and know how to find the most knowledgeableproviders, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. and useful members of the community. The bestThe company enables customers to apply friend way to provide it for them, in a way that also buildsand profile data to drive social registrations, scalable visitors, shoppers, and long-term loyalty, is throughword-of-mouth marketing, and broad community Game Mechanics. Gamification works because itinteraction. Through analytics, best practices, incentivizes users to act – and, through its unifiedconsulting, and support, Gigya optimizes every social platform, no one knows Game Mechanicsimplementation, delivering measurable social return- better than Gigya. Supporting more than 280 millionon-investment. users each month across more than 500,000 sites, Gigya’s technology is the choice of global leaders inGigya’s Game Mechanics platform is a social loyalty publishing and commerce, including CBS, Fox Sports,and rewards engine that makes it easy to reward Intuit, The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot,users and stimulate activity on your site. Gigya Game and Turner Networks.Mechanics helps you to reward users for performing Call (650) 353-7230 or visit www.gigya.com today to learn how Gigya can help you.