Let’s get one thing straight: Gamification does not mean gaming. Gamification borrows the characteristics of games and applies them to non-game contexts.
Gamification works by taking advantage of humans’ natural predisposition to engage in competitive activities in order to achieve a desired outcome, whether it’s learning a new language or clicking “buy now” on a product.
In the world of sports, daily personal jogs are even taking on this competitive, gaming edge. Nike, along with other apps like Strava and RunKeeper, transforms running into a data-driven sport where users can access information about their exercise habits, including how fast they are running, how many calories they are burning, whether they are losing steam and how their friends are performing.According to Nike’s VP Stefan Olander, Nike “thrives on the fact that people want credit for their athletic activity.”
A simple example of gamification is rewarding points or awards to individuals who perform some prescribed activity. Other game elements include challenges, kudos, levels and badges.
The language-learning app DuoLingo, for instance, encourages users to spend more time on the app by unlocking achievements when they hit a new level. The app also notifies you when your friends surpass you.
Where the data comes in
Because of all the metrics that are built into a gamification strategy, these platforms typically generate a large amount of data that companies can analyze. Users can be segmented according to how well they perform, how often they use the app, etc., allowing companies to glean insights into their user base.
In the case of DuoLingo, the makers of the app are planning to use the data generated by their users to power translation services for third party companies. The company has already signed translation deals with CNN and Buzzfeed, with more prospects on the horizon.
In addition, users themselves can draw conclusions about their habits using gamification. The quantified self movement, for instance, engages people with the intent of changing their behavior.
What it means for the enterprise
So what does gamification mean for your company? The rise of enterprise gamification means that businesses that collect data about their customers are better able to influence customer behaviors.
For instance, Amazon uses gamification design elements to nudge customers to purchase items on their site. A particular book might have a tag that says, “Only 8 left in stock,” compelling customers to make the purchase. During the holiday season, Amazon’s homepage might remind customers that there are “2 days left to order for Christmas.” By tracking how customers are interacting with game elements, businesses get a better sense of which tactics are working.
Many businesses are deploying internal employee engagement strategies that make use of gamification and behavioral science. Deloitte, for instance, has a training program that rewards employees with missions, badges and leaderboards for completing various assignments. Software company Domo also uses gamification elements in its Domo Social Project, which encourages employees to use social media platforms by awarding them badges.
Gamification is effective because it drives greater levels of engagement. The partnership between big data and gaming elements is a natural one: Data informs the way in which we interact with the world. Whether companies are seeking to inspire their employees or better understand how customers are interacting with brands, gamification is transforming how businesses operate.
This article originally appeared on www.BusinessIntelligence.com.