Hearing the term gamification often makes us believe that it must have something to do with video games. Asking experts about the same gives us answers like behavioral changes, triggers, psychological makeup, socioecological needs, and so forth. Both these interpretations need some work and could be better. Let’s try and understand what behavior gamification really is.
Whether one is a Candy Crush person or a Super Mario person, everyone likes playing and winning games. Gamification is a buzzing keyword and a hugely successful engagement strategy for businesses because it taps into powerful feelings of happiness, excitement, and intrigue.
It is for this reason that gamification is used to promote positive behaviors and is a useful technique for keeping users engaged, motivated, and active.
This article discusses behavior gamification and its role in changing people’s behavior to get them to develop desired habits.
What is Behavior Gamification?
Behavior gamification is a process that induces a change in any person’s attitudes and behaviors towards a certain matter. It is the technique of altering pre-existing notions and beliefs or inducing new behaviors in people but in a fun and unobtrusive manner.
“Behavior change is unlearning old patterns and learning new habits.”
Suppose you notice that your friend has a habit of overspending on weekends. Behavior change here would be to get them to curb their expenses and make them develop money-saving habits.
A starting point in deep-behavioral changes could be educating that friend on why their current behavior is resource-deprecating. You can then ask them questions and include some fun activities to make sure that the new information imparted is fun and memorable.
This is more effective than simply enforcing a desired new behavior because it makes your friend feel in control of their actions. They also understand why their current behavior is harmful and how they’ll benefit from challenging and changing their existing behavior.
That is precisely what behavior gamification does. It breaks apart from standardized enforcement techniques by inculcating and modifying behavior in a subtle, participatory way. This approach yields better results than other traditional behavior-changing methods.
How does Behavior Gamification work?
Research has shown that gamification drives overwhelmingly positive results and greatly boosts user engagement, motivation, and satisfaction in different application contexts. But less is known about how gamification achieves these psychological changes in people.
Here are some concepts regarding how behavior gamification actually works.
1. Helps users set clear, transparent, and achievable goals
Levels in Gamification, along with badges and quests, act as mini-goals that clearly show the users what goals they need to achieve. It breaks down a large impossibly-looking goal into smaller, achievable targets.
2. Makes people feel in control by letting them set their targets
People generally don’t like being told what to do and like being their own masters. Giving people the ability to decide their goals and milestones has shown increased motivation levels and target completion rates.
Targets like walking 10k steps in a day or reaching the top 10 on a leaderboard could be examples where users set their own goals and then worked hard to get there.
Setting goals for oneself is also a great way for users to improve.
Jillian Michaels runs a fitness goal-tracking website where users can view and track their eating and exercise habits daily. Seeing the current progress over the last week pushes users to break their own records and meet their targets.
3. Rewards people for their performance
Behavior gamification rewards good, positive behaviors. The gamified platform rewards users when they perform any task or activity. This reward reinforces positive behavior.
The best example of a platform doing this is Facebook which has a subtle gamification element that significantly boosts its user engagement.
Whenever a person posts a picture or status on the social media platform, they are rewarded with a Like. It is an intrinsic psychological reward that Facebook uses to give its users social validation and recognition.
Rewarding users at every step of their journey keeps them motivated to complete their tasks and do what you expect them to do.
4. Gives a Dopamine hit
Gamification triggers a dopamine rush. You feel good whenever you complete a level, finish a challenging task, and get recognition or feedback. The dopamine in your brain makes you feel this way and tells you to keep doing it because it feels good. Gaming addiction is built on the same principle.
Businesses in all industries harness the power of gamification to engage and retain their customers. Users keep coming back for that dopamine hit.
5. Allows competing with others
Observing others’ progress and comparing it with the self is beneficial in many ways. Firstly, it supports self-efficacy, i.e., the feeling of I can do it too.
Secondly, we pull out all the stops when competing with others. Social media makes use of this innate human nature and every platform, like Twitter, Facebook, etc., by keeping a publicly visible count on the number of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ people receive.
Another explicit example is the use of leaderboards. Leaderboards are an important aspect of behavior gamification because they allow people to see where they stand compared to others. Seeing one’s score along with others triggers a natural instinct to compete and perform better, eventually boosting engagement.
Behavior gamification is not just a fad, buzzword, or gimmick. It is an emerging technique that has shown promising results in increased user engagement, retention, and satisfaction. It is also an excellent way of generating positive user experience and higher brand awareness and loyalty.
We hope this article has given you good insights into behavior gamification. And if you are looking forward to implementing it, we would be happy to help you.
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