How Gamification Boosts Consumer Engagement

January 21, 2020

Contributor: Laurence Goasduff

Successful gamification applications generate customer acquisition and retention.

The idea of a subscription car service isn’t new, but a subscription service that rewards drivers for better driving is definitely different. To encourage safer driving for its Kinto car subscription, Toyota rewards “better” drivers with points that lower monthly payments.  

Organizations use gamification to encourage participation in apps, work out programs and even to reward employees, but it’s now taking center stage for a more unexpected industry: Automotive companies. 

“Gamification is making its comeback thanks to the automotive sector,” says Pedro Pacheco, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “While the automotive sector has been among the verticals most disrupted by digital business, it is a driving force behind gamification’s revival.”

FleetCarma uses gamification in its SmartCharge program to influence when drivers charge their electric vehicles (EVs). As a reward, EV drivers win points and recognition status within the user community and utilities obtain usage data from the program. BitCab, a ridesharing app that uses blockchain, employs a scoring and badge system to boost driver loyalty and grow a user base. Each driver recruits new customers and receives recognition for doing so. 

Gamification uses game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. When successfully designed, gamification apps enhance user engagement and drive customer acquisition and retention.

Successful companies establish an effective gamification business model segmented into four pillars.

Challenge: Gamification only succeeds through sustained user engagement. Define the business goals and make sure they are aligned with users’ goals.

Obstacles: Adversity makes the game interesting. However, the level of difficulty must be finely calibrated. Too easy means the user will soon overcome all challenges; too hard and the user will be demotivated.

Rewards: Consider a reward scheme that goes above extrinsic rewards (like money). Evaluate intrinsic motivations like creating a game in which the user is rewarded for reaching different levels. 

Game rules: Rules must be very simple and shouldn’t distract from the game. Participants shouldn’t have to think about the do’s and don’ts — they can simply focus on the game. 

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