With every publisher we work with our understanding of how rewards programs and gamification can positively affect customer loyalty grows and changes. While loyalty programs are nothing new, the application of game mechanics to online loyalty programs provides lots of new and interesting ways to change the way that users interact with brands they love. Much of the things we learn, are applied to our product to make it more user friendly as well as provide publishers with the tools and powerful analytics they need. With that said, there are things publishers can do to make their own gamification and rewards programs a bigger success. We’ve highlighted a few tips for publishers (#1 and #2) and now here is the third installment in our ‘Gamification Tips for Publishers’ series.
Tip #3 Gamification should encourage social behavior
Gamification and social media are nearly always talked about together, but many gamification implementations seem to neglect to understand what social really means. Customer rewards programs that utilize game mechanics to increase engagement and loyalty should include seamless integration with major social networks. This is beneficial for a number of reasons. Users can often sign in with a familiar login (Facebook authentication), share achievements/proud moments, and use the power of their existing networks to boost their status in the program, as well as encourage their friends to join in. For publishers, this means more people seeing their brand, more people participating, and more people talking about their favorite brands on and offline.
It is easy to say gamification should be social, but what does that mean in actual practice? Many brands have offered points or badges for users who like them on Facebook, or tweet about them when joining the program, but this neglects a huge chunk of what social is capable of. Programs should be rewarding users for posting, liking, sharing and recruiting their friends, while also having the ability to compare themselves and their progress to their friends and others in the program. These features allow users to be encouraged and rewarded not just for liking a brand on Facebook, but for getting their friends to sign up, joining the conversation on social media and endorsing brands through their social networks.
BigDoor’s gamification rewards program offers all these features for publishers who want to engage users on their website, as well as through social media channels. Recruiter points encourage users to get their friends to sign up, and can reward users who come to the site through a social connection with extra points. Users can also be rewarded for sharing content through their social networks, and rewarded again when those shares lead to click-backs from their friends. For smaller sites that don’t yet have a login system, BigDoor can power a login using Facebook sign-in, making the barrier to join even more familiar and easy for today’s average web user. For users with a competitive edge, leader boards that can provide site-wide or localized rankings are a great way to create some extra drive to participate and earn rewards.
What do you think about the importance of social media in loyalty and rewards programs? How important do you think social integration is for users participating in gamification? Let us know!