I’ve loved games since I was a kid. I grew up with 20-sided dice and Donkey Kong. I’m not the only one—people are hard-wired to enjoy games, which is why game concepts are popping up in places you wouldn’t expect. Making things game-like drives behavior. It’s called “gamification,” and you can use it to improve your web marketing.
Gamification is the use of game mechanics in non-game settings in order to encourage specific desired behaviors. By taking advantage of our psychological predisposition to playing games, gamification encourages people to perform tasks that they might ordinarily consider boring.
If you start tracking how you’re doing, you’ll start doing better. And since it’s the web, everything is trackable. There are scoreboards everywhere—some of them even have pretty charts. Pretty charts are powerful motivators.
Here are some example scoreboards and tips on how to use them to drive behavior and results…
Note: These are separate from all the measurements in Google Analytics. This isn’t about traffic. This is about tracking activity that drives traffic.
This channel was born to gamify. Twitter has been game-like from the beginning, with followers as the main score, as in “Wilmer Valderrama has 136,479 followers!” Foursquare, with its hundreds of badges to win, is basically a game. Foursquare isn’t “used,” it’s “played.”
Ready to play? Tweet, post, have conversations, follow, retweet, comment, like, share, connect.
This game has the ultimate scoreboard: rankings. But measurement of SEO activity lacks the simple tools with pretty charts. Important, but harder to “play.” Requires skill and determination. For ages 12 and older.
Ready to play? Write, submit, research, submit, update, submit.
Adding subscribers gives a great feeling of progress, and watching the stats come in after clicking send is compulsive. …refresh! …refresh! But be careful: this is a game with penalties. Getting a spam report is like a yellow flag on the field. It stings.
Ready to play? Invite, write, post, send, measure, repeat.
Yes, games are fun, but the real measure is leads and sales. These are the “goals” setup in Google Analytics. These are the real results.
So start watching the scoreboards, if you think of it as a game and start playing, you might be able to trick yourself into getting busy. Pick a few metrics and check them daily. Make it fun and tap into that part of your brain that just loves to play.
Obsess as if it was fantasy football, a stock portfolio, or your daughter’s 4-years-and-under soccer team. You might suddenly become a dedicated web marketer and get those real results.
You can’t win if you don’t play!
There are loads of other ways to check your scores. Here are a few:
Got your own favorite score card we didn’t mention here? Feel free to tell us by commenting below…
NIce Post! I would totally agree with you when you talk about making analytics and tracking fun by associating it to a video game. Much more fun that way!
Great post! As someone who worked in both game and web development, I wholeheartedly agree and find myself using game theory in web development all the time. It’s amazing how happily users can step through a very long form when there’s a series of staggered, immediate goals to make the final goal less of a gradient.
With multi-sites, I’ve seen amazing results when bloggers or even entire sections of a site are in a game against each other to try to snag the most views and likes by promoting their best content. Whole Foods has the same business model, treating each department like it’s own private business and letting them dictate their own specials to compete to be the revenue leader for the month.
And when you display the results to the end-user, you encourage them to support their favorite ‘team’. It makes you care about things you wouldn’t normally, like whether or not your neighborhood has the best italian restaurant in Chicago according to Yelp, or a movie you like gets a lot of likes on FB or Rotten Tomatoes.
Anyone remember or still use the original and only score board – the web page Hit Counter?
Let’s see how high of a Comment score we can get on this post!
What are your thoughts?