Got an App for That? The Rise of Gamification

170886605Remember when you got a prize in a cereal box? Or tokens with your Cracker Jack? Remember how you kept buying those products just to get those extra goodies?

For years companies have used this technique to build brand loyalty, engage their stakeholders and drive business. And they’re still using the technique … except now it has a name to align with the times: Gamification.

Gamification is the integration of game mechanics into a website, campaign or application to promote desired behaviors and drive engagement. A number of factors have led to the current popularity of gamification, namely the explosion of social media, the mobile device revolution, the rise of big data and the emergence of wearable computing.

How big is gamification? The Gartner Group forecasts that more than 70 percent of Global 2000 Companies will use at least one gamified application by 2014. Deloitte cited gamification as one of the Top 10 Technology Trends for 2013. In 2010, businesses spent $100 million on gamification. By 2016, that figure is estimated to reach $2.8 billion.

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Here are some examples of how companies are using gamification to engage their audiences and drive their business:

  • Cisco uses gaming strategies such as leader boards, progress bars and team challenges to enhance its virtual global sales meetings and call centers. These strategies have helped improve sales between 8 and 12 percent and reduce call time by 15 percent. (Source: Deloitte Review)
  • Bell Media increased customer retention by 33 percent partly by incorporating “social loyalty” rewards on its website. (Source: Society for Human Resource Management)
  • Aetna introduced Mindbloom’s Life Game platform that incorporates fun social gaming techniques to help customers and employees adopt healthy life habits. (Source: Deloitte Review)
  • USA Network saw a 130 percent jump in page views and a 40 percent increase in return visits with its Club Psych game that rewarded fans for engaging in online activities such as watching videos, sharing content, and re-posting on Facebook and Twitter feeds. (Source: Entrepreneur Magazine)
  • Verizon users spend more than 30 percent more time on the Verizon Insider site that includes social log-in games than on sites that usea regular log-in process. The Insider site also had 15 percent more page views than other company sites. (Source: Entrepreneur Magazine)

As your staffing teams begin developing strategies, plans and budgets for 2014, gamification should be part of the conversation. Look for ways to use gamification to improve recruitment, hiring, training, and employee retention and development. Gamification has been proven to help solve business problems, improve productivity, reduce costs and drive innovation. It may not be the silver bullet for business success but it can be a key success factor.

One thing is for sure: Gamification represents more than a trend. According to the market and research firm Newzoo, the number of mobile gamers in the U.S. has grown to 101 million.

So, if your company isn’t already using gamification, then it’s time to get your game on!

MORE: Mobile phone usage is forcing staffing firms to adapt

Denise Deans-Graf
Denise Deans-Graf is vice president of operations for CDI Corporation’s Global Staffing Services business. She can be reached at dd.graf (at) cdicorp (dot) com.

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