In this article, we look at whether the popular trend of gamification through mobile apps is dead or alive.
What is Gamification?
Gamification is when event organizers add gaming mechanisms to an event or conference using a mobile app to encourage networking and drive engagement. Gamification is completely customizable to fit any event situation.
Gamification strategies include giving points for answering polls, going on scavenger hunts, networking with other attendees, visiting specific vendors, attending sessions, posting on social media, and completing challenges.
The key to gamification is to make sure attendees stay engaged but have fun.
Is event gamification through a mobile app a useful tactic?
Gamification has been a hot topic in the events industry for the past couple of year. Many event planners are using gamification strategies to keep attendees engaged throughout the event.
However, every so often we will hear rumbles about whether gamification is actually still relevant and useful to the event planning industry.
Here’s our take on why you don’t want to throw in the towel just yet. Here are a few reasons why gamification is still a relevant tactic for event planners:
Attendees are already wired to interact with their mobile phones
Society has become so attached to their cell phones that the average user spends at least 6 hours a day connected to a digital device. Research shows that behind every device, an attendee that can’t disconnect from their phone.
So why not meet attendees where they are. Encourage them to download the event mobile app early on and announce the contest or challenge a 1-2 days before the conference.
People love a fun challenge
Most people love the interactive process of playing games. They’re engaging, fun, and motivation. They definitely add a sense of competitiveness but playful energy to the conference room show floor.
Adding leaderboards throughout the event space will allow people to track where they stand and see whose ranking at the top.
If you don’t have the bandwidth to add leaderboards to the event space, organizers can make announcements periodically throughout the event on who’s winning.
It’s your choice if you want to award prizes throughout the event or at the end.
An opportunity to receive instant feedback
Points, badges, and leaderboards offer the chance to give instantaneous feedback while encouraging competition and the motivation to continue to play.
A recent study highlighted how the elements of a game design can motivate the players. Every game should have a way to track the highest performers.
Monitoring the level of competition allows event organizers the opportunity to gauge the level of engagement and interaction amongst the players.
Points allow the players' in-game behavior to be measured, and they serve as continuous and immediate feedback and as a reward.
Another design element that you can consider adding that is always is coming up with creative superhero like badges that participants receive when they’ve reached so many points.
In the same way as points, badges also provide feedback, in that they indicate how the players have performed.
Works in a mobile app and laptop format
The great thing about gamification is that it works in traditional digital formats and non-traditional formats. Someone may want to play the game but doesn’t have access to a cell phone.
An event mobile app that has the cross-functional capability for desktop and mobile use gives the non-traditional cell phone user the chance to participate and win.
Provides an experiential learning experience
Experiential learning is a popular trend of learning through experience. This means that attendees are learning by doing. As an event organizer, you should set up different scenarios that reward but reinforce learning.
Throughout the event, push out notifications on the mobile app for challenges that attendees can participate in. The challenges should be quick responses to multiple choice questions or having to find a certain sponsor.
By doing so, you are teaching attendees something new, regardless if they answer a quiz question correctly or win the overall challenge.
Easy way to spark joy and boost engagement
A major advantage to gamification is that it’s an easy way to spark joy and boost engagement. The idea of learning for entertainment, keeping attendees engaged in reaching a specific goal. If designed well, games do an excellent job of motivating attendees to network and interact outside of the mobile app as well.
There has been a lot of questions about the effectiveness of gamification. In our experience, gamification through a mobile app keeps attendees motivated, inspires unity amongst attendees, increases interaction between vendors and attendees, and provides an educational opportunity for attendees.
Event organizers can see success in gamification with the right goals and objectives paired with a properly designed gaming strategy.
When it comes time to make a decision on whether or not to implement a gaming strategy for your upcoming event or conference, keep in mind what your ultimate goal is and how you want to connect with your target audience.
Think about the content you are creating and the experience you want attendees to have. Gamification is an opportunity to engage with attendees and sponsors while creating a memorable experience.