Event App Gamification: Why It's Not Working for You
(First of all: Not sure what event app gamification is? Check out this real-life example.)
1. It’s Not Working Because You’re Not Sure Why You’re Doing It
Take the time to establish the elements that are required to make your game a contributor to your event goals. You can start with these:
“When you reward the completion of certain actions, you help build trust between your brand and the customer. We call this reciprocal loyalty,” says Ashley Tate from BigDoor. BigDoor uses gamification (and other tools) to help companies measure and increase customer loyalty. “Loyalty is something that all businesses should care about in some capacity–and events are a great medium to establish and build it.”
To some, it might seem that event app gamification is just for fun. But when you ask an attendee to play an app game in exchange for a reward and then provide that reward, you are establishing that you keep your promises.
According to Ashley, activities that focus on loyalty can have a big effect on revenue. “Loyalty drives increased engagement, boosted retention, happy customers, and most of all, sales,” she says.
“Even though loyal customers typically make up only 12-15% of a brand’s business, they account for around 70% of its total sales. Loyalty programs make new customers into loyal customers, which can boost your bottom line.”
Event app games make sponsors really happy. Let’s imagine you’re putting together the sales materials you use to sell event sponsorships–booths, banner ads, sessions, lunches–you name it. You might share data weighing the traffic patterns of various booth locations on the map, and you might price banner ads based on their size and visibility. But what if you could tell them that you can drive measurable traffic to their booth, banner, or luncheon, regardless of its location? What if you could lay out the ways a given attendee would interact with their brand?
In-app gamification makes this possible. Let’s use the simple example of a QR-code scavenger hunt. A number of QR codes are hidden throughout the venue, and players must collect them all to win a prize.
This simple app game can be customized in unlimited ways to benefit sponsors. Here are a few examples:
– The entire game is sponsored by a brand.
– The event app game drives players to sponsor booths, where they may scan the QR code after performing a specific action like a badge scan, a photo challenge or a trivia question. (This is a great perk for booths that may be in areas that traditionally receive less foot traffic.)
– A brand sponsors the prizes for a game.
App analytics can give your sponsors valuable information about user behavior, total foot traffic and more.
We published a free ebook on doubling your revenue and building long-term relationships with event sponsors. We share tips for using event app gamification, creative sponsor packages that include tech and traditional placements, and much more. Get the event sponsorship ebook here.
It’s a no-brainer: you want more people to use the mobile app for your event. Higher user adoption means a better return on investment and fewer printed programs. When attendees see their peers playing an in-app game, they’ll be more likely to download the app. And users who are participating in the app’s game will be more likely to use the other event app features like social media, to-do lists, feedback and more.
You’re giving your attendees a way to create memorable experience with your brand in person,” says Ashley from BigDoor. “After this, they’re more likely to engage with your brand digitally to recapture as much of the experience as possible.”
To capitalize on this, make it easy for your attendees to share their experience. Set up your in-app social media right: prefill the Twitter field with your event’s hashtag. Create a feed of tweets and shared photos, and make them visible by projecting them on a screen. Remind players to share their experience when they’re the most excited: at the prize pick-up.
Increasing the lifetime of your event means that you keep people sharing your message, using products, or buying from you, long after the doors have closed.
“When you give your attendees a chance to digitally earn rewards for actions they take at an event, you’re giving them a way to transcend traditional digital boundaries,” says Ashley. Practically, this means that if you redeem prizes for on-site play after the event, you’ll create an opportunity for continued positive interaction through email campaigns, social media, or your website. Event app gamification can reach far beyond the walls of your event venue.
2. It’s not working because your prize doesn’t match the effort to win it.
Problem A: Your event app game is too difficult. There are too many actions to complete, and attendees are focusing too much on the game to productively engage at the event. Or, worse, players are frustrated that they can’t win. The lame prize you’re offering isn’t worth their time. Ultimate problem: they share their frustration on those social media channels you worked so hard to make readily available.
Problem B: Your game is too easy. Players complete it immediately and aren’t challenged to move around the venue, and they forget about it too soon. They ‘game’ the system and are able to collect prizes without trying. You end up giving out valuable prizes without being able to capitalize on reciprocal loyalty.
How do you find the right difficulty level? It’s complex, but you can start by considering these elements.
They need to be desirable. Offering tiers of prizes–a token like a t-shirt or drink ticket for completing the game, along with entry to win something of high value–can help you capture players who are naturally motivated in different ways.
Try choosing prizes that reflect the relationship your brand has with your event attendees. Ashley suggests reaching into your marketing research to look at audience persona data when selecting rewards for your in-app game.
The time required to complete the game.
Players at a gaming expo will be more willing to dedicate time than players at an educational conference. But for a place to start, try adding up all the free time in your agenda (time to roam the sponsor halls, time for breaks between sessions, etc), and ensuring that average game completion takes up no more than 1/3 of that time.
4. It doesn’t work because no one knows about the event app game, or why they should play.
Sadly, this is a common oversight. You can combat this by writing a strong-in-app description of the game, by posting information about the game around the event, and by using pre-event communications like emails to get your registrants excited about the game and prizes. Finally, the event app game itself can be great marketing: put the prize redemption area somewhere central, and include the final drawing for the big prize right in your agenda.
Here at Guidebook, we help companies and brands create in-app gamification for all kinds of events. Are you unsure how to structure an event game or choose prizes? Give us the details in the comments and we’ll happily help you out.
Interested in starting to explore how you can gamify your own event? Get started by building a free Guidebook guide!