gamification and video strategy

Gamification is an innovative way to interact with an audience and keep consumers invested in your brand. Gamification refers to a process by which you motivate people to take certain actions by leveraging elements common in games. Think bonus points, leveling up, progress tracking, special features, or challenges. Here are eight tips for incorporating different elements of gamification into your video strategy.

1. Incorporate Incentives

What is your incentive? How are you going to keep someone coming back to your video? The best gamification strategies have well-thought-out incentives that keep people playing, checking in, or purchasing.

When designing your video, think about what kind of incentive you want to offer viewers, and how you can evolve the incentive over time to keep them engaged in the game. Are you going to reward people with points or badges for viewing videos, set up a leveling system, or create challenges that require viewers to respond with comments or personal videos?

Points, Badges, Levels, Leaderboards, and Video Challenges are all great examples. Good incentives will encourage commitment while providing some sort of social proof for players. Remember, if the payout is too great too soon, or too hard to achieve, players may become discouraged and move on. Most importantly, a good incentive system will keep consumers coming back to view your videos.

2. Do the Research

There is a lot of research behind gamification, so much so that it is a hot topic for dissertations and innovative thinktanks. This is an asset to you — there is a lot of great information out there for you to use.

Game researchers are posting conferences videos, making webinars, and blogging about the most effective ways to gamify. Using their models as guidelines can be an easy way to plan out your gamification strategy.

The Octalysis Framework is a good example. Using eight core drives, including meaning, empowerment, accomplishment, scarcity, and unpredictability, the author categorizes game elements according to the drive they fulfill. The model is also an interesting way to see how and why people game, and what needs gaming fulfills.

3. Consumer behavior

Before you design your game elements, it might be good to consider what consumer behavior you are encouraging. The end result may influence your game design.

Do you want to increase brand loyalty? Increase knowledge? Encourage people to donate to your cause? Meet new sales goals? Launch a new series of products? Although the question is simple, it is an important one.

4. Demographics

Think about your target demographic. Your demographic is going to shape the game elements that you add to your video.

Targeting a general population will require you to think of elements that will be appealing to a large number of people with varying ages and interests. Narrowing down your demographic will help you create game elements that can make niche communities feel like they are part of your brand.

5. Trolls

With the good comes the bad. While gamifying a video is an innovative way to reach out to your audience, games can have their downsides. If you have ever seen kids gloat over a win or spent any time playing World of Warcraft, you know that games can sometimes bring out the worst in people.

We cannot control how people are going to react once they are participating in our game programs. However, we can create game elements that will promote healthy competition and camaraderie.

How do you do that? Plan ahead. Come up with ways to encourage cooperation and eliminate negativity. Or, at the least, address these problems when they come up. Make sure your incentives foster the right kind of competition and that you have a way to handle issues like cheating or personal attacks on other players.

6. Be Consistent

Good examples of gamification include games that align with the missions and objectives of an organization. If you are trying to save the world, you are going to want to settle on elements that promote social justice, educate, and empower players to facilitate change.

Khan Academy is a great example. Historically, the online education video powerhouse used to be just that – online webinars. Recently, the academy has gamified their videos, incorporating ‘skill trees’ that allow viewers to unlock new videos and learn new skills. The skill tree system complements the Academy’s main objective: education. Bottom line, let your objectives drive your design.

7. Talk to Friends

Feedback from family and friends is a great resource. Gaming companies hire game testers and create ‘beta games’ to get feedback from players. Even the biggest gaming companies have their misses. They rely on these focus groups of gamers to tell them what works and what does not.

Talk to friends and family that play a lot of games — find out their likes and dislikes. Create beta videos for your network to test. Their insights can help you during the creative process and to fix elements that do not work.

8. Play Games

This one is simple. Go out there and play games. Download innovative game apps. Play some tabletop games. Check out good examples of gamification. See what you like… and what you do not. You will get inspired and get excited. Remember, we are all gamers in one way or another.


Shoot us your questions about using gamification in videos! Or, tell us how it worked out for you in the past in the comments below.

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted July 8, 2013

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