Studies have shown that game mechanics can have a significant impact on user motivation and participation in non-gaming contexts.
Gamification motivates people through all activities with the help of game mechanics such as badges, points, levels and leaderboards. Games or gamification have the amazing ability to engage people over long periods of time, build meaningful relationships between people and awaken their creative potential.
Apps are an important marketing channel for retailers and companies to bring the customer program to the customer's smartphone and thus get in touch with them on the go - and gamification can be perfectly linked to this.
Addressing customers through apps is possible on a very personal and emotional level, as users build a very special relationship in a positive context with their device and the apps on it by constantly carrying their smartphones with them. Combining customer loyalty apps with gamification can therefore be very effective, especially for companies.
The basic idea behind the design and implementation of gamification and individual game elements is to increase customer engagement, enjoyment and loyalty. This aspect - and especially the topic of customer loyalty - provides companies with a real advantage, even when it comes to online shopping.
The use of gamification can appeal to users' play instinct as well as their core drives. The author Chou has developed a framework (the so-called Octalysis Framework) in which these core drives can be found. We will discuss the scientific findings below.
The individual user is motivated by gamification and game mechanics to think they are part of a greater whole, or by the feeling that he or she has been specifically chosen to take an action.
An example of this are portals such as Wikipedia or Stack Overflow, where users put time and effort into writing articles and solutions without monetary reward.
In gamification, the individual user is driven by a sense of progress and the need to achieve a goal. In apps, this can be through tasks or goals that the user can achieve. Progress in learning and mastering challenges can also lead to an increase in motivation.
Typical game design elements that address this core drive are badges, leaderboards and points. Progress bars are also very effective and can be used in a variety of ways. LinkedIn, for example, uses the progress bar during the onboarding process for new users, and also later on when it comes to completing the profile.
This core drive describes what many people call a "game" and is referred to here as gamification. The motivation of users is sparked by the fact that they can be creative, create things and imagine things. Feedback can be given via ranking lists, but also through informative or visual messages. This game element can be used very effectively thanks to the advancing digitalization.
In this core drive, users are influenced by the actions, deeds or thoughts of other people and the resulting connections within the game. One possibility is the function that allows users to complete tasks in a cooperative effort or achieve goals together. The effect can be intensified through competitions, for example between teams.
This core drive is based on the principle that users want to improve, protect or get more of something they own. In apps, the integration of this core drive can be addressed, for example, through virtual goods, points or badges for players.
The motivation of users with regard to gamification is stimulated because they are either unable to get something or because it is difficult to get something. People have a natural tendency to want things they can't have.
This core drive in users can be addressed through limitations, restricted access or censorship. The functionality that users can only unlock certain content after a certain action or achievement is one way of addressing the core drive and is essential for gamification.
This core drive describes the user's enthusiasm for unpredictable, random things - gamification can also offer this. One possibility is badges that the individual user receives without knowing when they will receive a badge. (Virtual) gifts or rewards can also be used with this aim in mind. This can increase the chances of games and gamification elements being used again.
Users are often motivated by the fear of losing something or having unwanted experiences; this rather negative link also falls into the area of gamification.
For example, points can be used that are lost if the user does not perform a desired action. Virtual goods that disappear again after a while are also a possibility.
It therefore definitely makes sense - especially for companies - to consider in detail which strategies can be pursued in their own business area and which gamification methods and game design principles can be used sensibly.
As is so often the case, the question "Who are my users and what do they want?" is a helpful starting point.