Gamification for Publishers


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Gamification is the most important opportunity and challenge that publishers currently face in the move from print to convergent media. Games and gaming represent the freshest most interactive form of media today. Using game elements to increase engagement, grow a loyal and targeted audience, and support OAO (Online Audience Optimization) efforts will keep publishers relevant in the fast-moving transition from print to digital.

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  • 10 years ago publishers stood on the brink of video. We knew it was important, but hadn’t decided how or why to use it—or even if we would use it at all.Today publishers face the next step of opportunity. If we are to remain leaders in convergent media—or even relevant in the world of convergent media—gamification is the next step.
  • The aim of poetry—to teach and delight—is the aim of all media. Everything we do falls into the categories of information and entertainment; every media product falls somewhere along that spectrum.We’ve moved past “reading “ to “consuming”—consuming the article, the video, the image.But consumption has its limitations, and the most fatal of these limitations is the lack of engagement. As we move from print to convergent media, we also must move from consumption to interactivity.Some stats: Today the USA has 183 million active gamers. Almost half are women. One quarter of them are over 50.61% of CEOs, CFO’s and senior executives take daily game breaks; the games business is $66 billion in US—twice that of Hollywood box office. In the US, $2 billion is spent—on virtual goods.Gaming is media gone interactive, media which is active, experiential, which engages.
  • Content publishers struggle to find ways to encourage their audience to “consume” their product. Games publishers have mastered that challenge. What makes gaming so immersive, so addictive, in a way that content consumption aspires to be?Dolphin Training: Random Interrupted Reinforcement (RIR) from BF Skinner’s Operant Conditioning. Rewards are very effective in encouraging a behavior—but only if applied in a variable, unexpected way.Game designer James Portnow explains Operant Conditioning as the reason some people would choose to spend a day at a slot machine pushing a button and walk off with $100 in their pockets rather than spend that same day puashing a button in a factory for the same $100. The brain loves a surprise. Variable rewards unlock little kicks of dopamine. It’s one reason that your site visitors will stay on your site longer, engage in desired behaviors more often, and return more frequently if you add gaming elements to your site.
  • The goal of gamification is to take the elements that make gaming so rich and immersive, so sticky, in some cases so addictive, and apply them in a non-gaming environment. It’s applying the principles of gaming to your products and websites to create engagement, loyalty, repeat visitors—to build your audience.Behavioral psychology is one piece. Cognitive psychology is another. While behavioral psychology describes how people will respond, cognitive psychology goes deeper, to find what they are actually looking for. Three drivers of human behavior are:the desire to build competence the desire for autonomy, or agency—the player makes the choices, and the desire for relatedness.Games elements are designed to do all three: Competence—you master certain competencies that progress you along your way; autonomy—you create and structure, to some degree, your own path; relatedness—you engage in community.
  • Is it trivial to create an environment that allows a publisher to drive, measure and reward high-value behaviors? Is there a value in increasing engagement and adding motivation?Leading companies including Microsoft, Nike, American Express, Samsung and Deloitte use gaming principles in training, development, and sales.In 10 days gamers crowdsourced by the University of Washington solved a molecular puzzle that stumped scientists for years and could hold the key to finding a cure for AIDS.By 2014 more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamification app according to technology analysts at Gartner Inc.
  • Linked In profile bar: uses Foursquare? Ask group, give points. Who remembers what Foursquares predecessor was? Dodgeball had an engagement gap. There was no progression—you either checked in or you didn’t. Foursquare added the gamification and it took off.
  • A cornerstone of successful publishing, both online and offline, is audience development. SEO can only take you so far. Publishers are beginning to realize that what they need is a internet-wide approach to building their target audience and branding, and they are finding that approach through OAO—Online Audience Optimization. OAO’s umbrella includes a broad use of social media, branding, content sharing, on and off page optimization, and gamification. Bringing people to your site is not enough. If they drop off the page too quickly, if they take a peek and just move on, these are black marks against you, especially with the latest Google updates.How to get them to stay? Social media : of the top 10 elements correlating with high search rankings, 7 are social. People who have liked your page on Facebook are 80% more likely to buy your product or subscribe to your publication. How to get your audience to engage more on a social level?According to Badgeville, 54% of users are inactive in loyalty programs.69% don’t use their online communities.As publishers build out their convergent media presence they need to overcome a crippling lack of engagement. Sample data suggests that a gamified site can lead to a 500% increase in user comments. A 140% increase in time on site.
  • Points: keep score, show progress, show the audience that they are in a gamified environment. Apply points to high-value actions. What actions do you want your audience to take? What actions build your audience engagement, commitment, repeat visits? Liking a page, leaving a comment, re-pinning, sharing, reviewing…Badges: represent achievement, convey style, they signal what is important in the game (or on the site). They are individual.Leaderboards: give a community context to the site, provide ranking, reputation, status, feedback. They are social.Levels: indicate progress. Unlocking levels creates progression loops.Missions: add intrinsic rewards—challenge, strategy.Contests: add competitive element.Rewards: access, power, stuff.
  • You can gamify with no games on your site.You don’t just want to apply points to ordinary activity (example Google News)The elements of gaming—the points, badges and leaderboard—are not the gamification. You have to use these elements in a way that is variable, surprising, challenging and progressive.Games have to: change over time. Progress the player on the journey. Provide different features, different rewards, as the player progresses, in response to players’ increasing commitment and skill.The audience member is the center of the publishing business; the gamer is the center of the game. They have the sense of relatedness, progress, autonomy and control. They are there to learn and to amuse themselves. Building a business with the player at the center is just this: building an audience-centric business. The key to successful publishing.
  • Gamification for Publishers

    1. 1. GAMIFICATION For Publishers Linda Ruth PSCS Consulting (603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich WonderBuilders Inc. 505-695-2237
    2. 2. Magazine Publishing Convergent Media Print Digital Audio Video Images Apps Games Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    3. 3. Enter: Gamification • “Every CEO of every company needs to understand gamification.” Bing Gordon, CEO of venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers • “Play is one of the most important parts of human culture and affects the way we learn, work, and live.” Janet Murray, Professor, Graduate Program in Digital Media at Georgia Institute of Technology • “Games are powerful, and gamification employs lessons from psychology, design, strategy and technology.” Kevin Werbach, Professor of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania • And, from The Wall Street Journal: Gamification is a powerful emerging business concept. Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    4. 4. Consumption • Passive • Vicarious • Old Media • Magazines Interactivity • Active • Experiential • New Media • Games and Gamification The Next Step Does your audience “consume” your media? …or engage with it? Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    5. 5. • Why will people spend $1.00 to send a virtual gift on facebook – but not to read a news story? Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    6. 6. Gamification is • The use of game mechanics in a non-game environment • The intersection of psychology and technology Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    7. 7. Is Gamification Trivial? Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    8. 8. Examples of Successful Gamification Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    9. 9. Uses of Gamification SEO/OAO New Subscriptions Renewals User-Generated Content Sales Training Website engagement and loyalty Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    10. 10. Gamification Elements Points Badges Leaderboards Levels Missions Contests Rewards Avatars Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    11. 11. Gamification with Virtual Worlds • Virtual worlds are synthesized environments with characters called avatars. They can be used in a wide range of contexts such as for exploration… Linda Ruth, PSCS Consulting, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    12. 12. Gamification with Virtual Worlds • For communication… Linda Ruth, PSCS Consulting, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    13. 13. Gamification with Virtual Worlds • And for highly interactive activities. Linda Ruth, PSCS Consulting, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    14. 14. Example – Virtual Japanese House Linda Ruth, PSCS Consulting, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    15. 15. Japanese House Example Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    16. 16. Example – ESL Photo Hunt Linda Ruth, PSCS Consulting, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    17. 17. Photo Hunt Example Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    18. 18. •Gamification =/= Gaming •Gamification =/= Pointsification •Gamification =/= Elements Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    19. 19. Stuff We Could Not Fit! Steps to Gamify your Site: • Objectives • Desired Behaviors • Rewards • Design Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237
    20. 20. Stuff We Could Not Fit! Possible Pitfalls • Cookie Cutter Approach • Motivation Backlash • Life cycle of game • Gaming the System • Overuse • Random Implementation • Rewards =/= fun Linda Ruth, 603-924-4407 Nicole Yankelovich 505-695-2237