Gamification is the buzzword in almost all forums these days. After getting to know more about gamifying user experiences and behind game mechanics, the first question that pops up is – whether to “Build or Buy ” gamification as an add-on to the existing features stack.
At times business owners find it hard to answer this question and delay the process of adding gamification to their processes. But, the choice to build or buy shouldn’t be that difficult. Here are a few practical points that we have picked as a result of our discussions with most of our clients so that you can choose wisely.
Valid use case:
Gamification is not like a button that fits everywhere. For the game mechanics to work efficiently in sync with user behavior, there should be a valid use case. So, business owners should find a valid use case, to begin with, and then think about the rest.Download for Free: A Comprehensive Guide to Gamification
Setting up the goals:
Once the use-case is fixed, it is time to fix a few goals the business wants to achieve with gamification. Goal setting is as important as the use-case itself and it is recommended to have 2 to 3 primary goals that business owners would like to achieve by implementing gamification.
Figure out the right mechanics:
Now, that the use-case and goals are finalized, it is time to affix the game mechanics. Gamifying user experience is of various types. Each type is a result of backend game mechanics opted to engage users. For crediting points to the user, interactions are feedback mechanics. Users can track progress and unlock new things with credited points. Lottery/Game of chance is another kind of mechanism that requires very little user effort for a 50% probability of winning/losing. Similarly, we have leaderboards, badges, virtual economy, scorecards, certificates, challenges, etc, as different kinds of game mechanics in gamification.
Getting the sync:
Once the game mechanics are finalized, it is time to evaluate the synchronization between the actual system/product and the gamifying element. The series of events, associated data, and user profile information is very important while monitoring the sync between different attributes of the system. There should not be any lag in the process of attributing the achievements to the users or updating the data. Gamification is many times synonymous with instant gratification and a delay in the process might lose disappointed users longing for an achievement.
All the above-listed points don’t need physical code developments or deployments but only a series of brainstorming sessions with corresponding stakeholders. Once the businesses are clear about their use case, goals, associated game mechanics, and data needs – it’s time to plan resources and budgeting around the plan.
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That’s when the actual question of “Build vs Buy” needs justification.
So, imagine a huge system with millions of user interactions hitting the database every single hour, maybe establishments as big as Facebook, and Amazon. These companies own huge amounts of data, big budgets to build features on the fly, and above all, have great in-house teams and resources to make anything live in a span of weeks.
Hence, it is highly recommended to “build” gamification in-house in such scenarios where “buy” is not even a considerable choice.
On the other hand, there are companies that are still figuring out the product-market fit, experimenting with user experience, want to try something new for a short period of time, and enter new markets – who are actually 95% of all companies. For them, “Buy” is a clever choice to make because:
- Companies can prioritize strategy over implementation issues.
- They can get expert guidance on using the right game mechanics.
- There is no need to hire a team specialized in gamifying user experiences.
- A wide range of options is available with minimal setup costs and a lot more…
Thus, the choice is highly dependent on the ability of the business owners to deal with everything on their own or to leave it to experts via plug and play gamifying options, to concentrate more efforts on strategy and process optimizations.
“To build or to buy”, both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. But the speed at which companies are scaling, more companies are inclined towards plug-and-play models rather than building everything from scratch. Also, budgeting is of utmost importance at the growth stage to complement the other costs as a company. Hence “Buy” appears to be a more viable option for many than “Build”, and the percentage of “buyers” is constantly increasing over time.
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About Upshot.ai :
Upshot.ai is an omnichannel, user engagement, and gamification platform that helps digital product owners and marketers improve their product adoption and conversions. Fortune 1000 companies such as GE, UHG, Puma, Sony, ITC, Tenet healthcare are using Upshot.ai and observed a massive increase in product adoption YoY increment in revenues.
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