Playing the game of attracting web traffic

Posted on July 18, 2014


As well as being the biggest source of information mankind has ever seen, it’s important to remember that the Internet is a lot of fun, too. How often have you found yourself tapping away games like Flappy Bird and Candy Crush when you have something better to do? It’s no surprise that so many businesses have tapped into this by giving their websites an element of ‘gamification’.

What is gamification?

Gamification is the use of game thinking in a non-gaming situation to persuade the users into solving problems. Strategies often used by sites include rewarding players with points or achievements for accomplishing desired tasks, the filling of a progress bar and providing the players with a virtual currency.

Naturally, we enjoy competition so making the achievements/points visible to everyone can establish a leaderboard; those at the top may gain bonuses in said virtual currency thus making the tasks more competitive. Another approach is to transform existing tasks to make them feel more like games – for example, beginning with a tutorial, introducing a challenge and adding a narrative.

How is this beneficial to my website?

Integrating gamification with your website can help make the site appeal to a wider variety of people, increasing overall traffic. If you make users create an account using an email or phone number, you can contact them at a later date asking if they require your services.

Gamification could be used in loyalty programmes , and Starbucks is a good example of this. The coffee chain gives Foursquare badges to customers, offering discounts to those who make regular stops there. The result is that Starbucks’ customers establish a competitive streak in their love of lattes and espressos.

Companies have proposed to use gamification for competitive intelligence, encouraging people to complete questionnaires and surveys. In 2012, Freshdesk, a SaaS customer support product, integrated gamification in allowing workers to earn badges based on performance.

Gamification is also readily applicable to increasing engagement to social media. For example, website building tool DevHub reported a few years ago that online tasks had been completed by 70% more of its users after it introduced gamification elements. On programming site Stack Overflow, meanwhile, users receive virtual rewards for performing actions such as sharing links via social media sites. Users gain “reputation” points when acquiring badges. After it exceeds a certain number, users gain privileges. At the upper ends of the levelling system, users gain the privilege to help out with site moderation.

Can gamification work for me?

No matter how dry your business may seem to others, it just requires a bit of imagination to introduce a quiz, puzzle or loyalty scheme to what you offer. Of course, speaking to Engage Web will be a great way to get your idea off the ground.

Sam Kenney

Sam spent a week here at Engage Web on his work experience, and he learned so much that he was even able to write about our industry by the end of it. Being just 15, it goes without saying that he’s an avid gamer, and his fondness for the digital world saw him fit in nicely within our team.

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