The 21st century may be the beginning of the tech boom, but there are quite a lot of different phases for this development. You see, in the 90s and early 2000s, everything hinged on big, bulky and powerful computers, while the 2010s introduced us to something a bit more manageable and brandable.
The 2010s were the beginning of the mobile era as almost every single company decided to switch to an application, which was a lot more accessible and cheap for the average consumer. Nowadays, if there’s a business that could potentially benefit from an app, there’s most definitely an app to be found.
Even website-based companies such as news corporations have created a unique application to match their viewers’ busy schedules, but it’s not all black and white with mobile apps.
Some fail miserably and some manage to become the most top rated ones out there. So what’s the difference? What are some applications doing right that others aren’t? Is there a secret formula?
Well, not necessarily. There are some tactics, but there isn’t that one thing that makes the app irresistible, but there is one thing that could give the developers or the company an edge.
Gamification and its benefits
Gamification is a relatively new term in the app development industry. It’s basically a process which takes the prime aspects of the application and turns it into a game that the user can enjoy.
For example, imagine an application that helps you track your progress of a certain activity. Let’s say it’s an app that tracks your steps while you have your phone in your pocket. Sure the app does what it’s supposed to do and you can track the progress of your physical activity, but after a couple of months or even weeks, it could get a bit boring as there is no real positive feedback about reaching your goals.
What gamification does is add positive feedback to the user to truly help them understand that they are making some progress.
Let’s go back to that step-tracking app. How would somebody include gamification there? Well, add some kind of points for every step and a big bonus of points for reaching the daily goals. Then create an environment where these points can be spent on maybe buying actual physical items or even digital ones.
But not every app could benefit from gamification, there are some rules that the developer needs to follow.
How to gamify the app
In order for a gamified application to work, it needs to be done correctly. Focus too much on the gaming aspect, and you get very low conversion rates on your main feature of the application. Don’t focus on it enough and you get a very lightweight entertainment value which is not even worth doing.
In fact, there are multiple interviews out there of company owners or employees talking about the mistakes they made when implementing these features.
One of the most interesting ones came from a gaming company, which is weird considering how adding gaming to an already gaming-heavy application seems unnatural. However, there were some added bonuses that these companies could target.
One of the more interesting interviews were conducted with Greg Milford, a marketing specialist from Playamo casino online, a digital gaming platform in Australia:
“When we first had the idea of adding gamification to our platform we didn’t really know how to do it. Everybody was saying that the app was already focused on gaming, so what could we possibly add that would give us a bit more customers down the line?
We tried adding features that would encourage users to log-in more often. These were things such as log-in bonuses on a daily basis, and additional bonuses if people logged in and played a game during the holidays. It worked in the beginning, but we didn’t really see any increase in normal traffic.
So we simply added points that could be used for a special game that was off-limits to regular tokens or cash players were using on other games. It worked phenomenally. What we found out that making something a bit more exclusive gives off the feeling that there’s something special there.
And there was. The volatility of that game was increased and people were winning more and more often there, so it was a real reason to actually log-in the application on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, we had to shut it down after the regulatory updates to the gaming industry but are working on a new, more optimized version for the future.”
Give it a reason
As Greg mentioned in his interview, the company managed to see good results as soon as they gave their gamification feature a real reason. This was attaching it to something exclusive which would give far more value than their regular content.
This is a perfect approach for any other gamification decision a company could have for their application. Once you create something exclusive and tie it behind a single feature, it is what makes it so unique.
If the game that Greg’s company made was a part of their regular list of games, it would have most likely been regarded as just another game rather than an incentive to use the new gamification app.
Where is gamification most relevant?
Gamification is a tool that encourages the user to stay logged in the application. Therefore, it’s a perfect tool for companies that can monetize this user time on their platforms. Most of this time monetization will be through ads, but there are other ways as well.
In conclusion, though, gamification is something that is still rather new and is poised to become more and more popular as the younger generation gets more adapted to having almost everything turned into a game.
Therefore, implementing a feature now could be an amazing boost to a company that is just now starting out.