Gamifying Online Apps to Boost Customer Loyalty

Feb 3, 2012

Game-based mechanics—a collection of activities and technologies that add up to define a user experience—can heavily influence social media marketing/content marketing campaign strategy — a specialty of DigitalEYE Media.

Common interactive gameplay features of most gamified applications or services for customer loyalty programs include the awarding of “badges” for achievements, players ranked by “level,” public “leaderboards” showing who’s scoring the most points, feedback (progress bars, points toward next level, etc.) that lets players know how they’re doing, a point system or other virtual currency for purchasing upgrades or prizes, and the ability to challenge or talk trash with other users.

Incetivize Customers, Build Loyalty

The gamification movement seeks to take these kinds of common video game elements and apply them to the “real world” in an effort to incentivize customers, build loyalty and introduce some fun into what might otherwise be mundane, everyday activities (like getting coffee, shopping and exercising) when the games are played.

The game flow of the games may be either “turn-based,” in which players are given a number of turns to execute their actions. or “real-time,” in which player actions take a real amount of time to complete.

Online gaming is a technology rather than a genre, a mechanism for connecting players together rather than a particular pattern of gameplay.

All online games are played over some form of computer network (which almost always means the Internet). One advantage of online gaming is the ability to connect to multiplayer games, although single-player online games are quite common as well.

Online games can range from simple text-based games to games incorporating complex graphics and virtual worlds populated by many players simultaneously. Many online games have associated online communities, making online games a form of social activity beyond single-player games.

The rising popularity of Adobe Flash and Java led to an Internet revolution where websites could utilize streaming video, audio, and a whole new set of user interactivity.

Flash, a multimedia platform used to add animation, video and interactivity to web pages, is frequently used for advertisements and games.

The Java software platform refers to a number of software products and specifications from Sun Microsystems. Java’s suitability for games programming is based on features like direct access to graphics hardware and external devices. As a result, there exists a growing number of excellent, fun Java games on the market.

On-demand Entertainment

When Microsoft began packaging Flash as a pre-installed component of IE, the Internet began to shift from a data/information spectrum to also offering on-demand entertainment. This revolution paved the way for sites to offer web surfers online multiplayer games like the mighty World of Warcraft.

More humble online browser games are played over the Internet using a web browser like Internet Explorer, Foxfire, Google Chrome or Bing. Browser games are often free-to-play and do not require any client software to be installed apart from a web browser. Browser games are also portable and can be played on multiple different devices. They can be created and run using standard web technologies or browser plug-ins like Flash.

Browser games come in many genres and themes that appeal to both core players and casual players.

They can be single-player (e.g., Robot Unicorn Attack, Castle of Heroes, The Room) or multiplayer (e.g., Domain of Heroes, Fallen Empire: Legions, Virtonomics).

Virtonomics is a business simulation, simulating economics, that enables users to study the basics of management. The game is turn-based and the conversion of a game situation occurs once a day.  The main purpose of Virtonomics, which resembles the game Capitalism 2 designed by Trevor Chan, is to build a successful business in a tough competitive struggle.

Multiplayer browser games have an additional focus on social interaction, often on a massive scale. Due to the accessibility of browser games, they are often played in more frequent, shorter sessions compared to traditional computer games.

This makes them ideal for the short social games so appealing to both marketers and consumers alike.