Let’s be honest everyone enjoys a good game. We’ve grown up playing them; peek-a-boo, Tic-Tac-Toe, Scrabble, Battleships, Risk-the list is endless. And it’s not just children at it; games have made their way into our adult lives too. Be it a cross word or a Sudoku puzzle on the morning commute, with a friend in one of the many games hosted on social networking sites, a slot machine in a casino, or perhaps on one of the 22million games consoles in the UK; games are everywhere. Personally when it comes to games I’ve only got time for a good old board game; but it is interesting just how many people love a good game.
This week I took a closer look at the hot topic of gamification and why it is taking the Market Research industry by storm.
Gamification isn’t exactly a new concept (by today’s definition of new-aka. less than 24 hours old) but it is only in the last year or so that it has become very much ‘in vogue’, with the likes of Research Through Gaming CEO Betty Adamou (read our Q&A’s with her here) paving the way for the MR industry to fully embrace and utilise this innovative and refreshing approach.
Throughout virtually every methodology, response rates have been dropping for years; with response quality quickly following suit. The underlying argument for this is that (good) people drop out and fail to respond because they don’t get rewarded for their efforts; put simply, there is no truly motivating incentive. Gamification is being increasingly utilised by market researchers to engage respondents for this very reason and is completely changing the user experience. But why is this? Why are we so much more forthcoming when it comes to responding through the act of gaming?
One industry bod succinctly summarises why gamification is so successful in saying “it taps into human needs and desires”. I witnessed this first hand at the Redefining Research conference back in June with the likes of Ray Poynter, Karen Schofield and Arthur Fletcher all using a voting system to engage with the audience. This isn’t uncommon at conferences; by introducing a simple voting system and/or flash cards, sessions quickly become interactive, and dare we say it, fun. And fun is one of the four key factors in what is driving the success of gamification and its use in the MR industry.
We all know that successful research is based on engagement and gaining insight into human opinions and behaviour. Gamification seems to have provided the perfect platform for achieving this; by focusing on the following four factors researchers are able to introduce ‘rules’. Rules which can, almost instantaneously, transform a boring task into a game.
Fun is essential; if something is fun we are all much more likely to not only engage in the first place, but to do so on repeat occasions.
Competition is also key; by our very nature humans are competitive (obviously some more so than others), but game playing taps into our competitive spirit and encourages engagement.
Challenge to entice; similarly to competition, is intrinsic to human nature. We all enjoy a good challenge. It becomes compulsive, particularly when striving to get to that all important ‘next level’ in a game.
Reward can be addictive; whilst we all love a challenge, we want to be rewarded for our efforts, another inherent part of our DNA.
The psychology behind these four factors provides that all important incentive but are not the only reasons why gamification is causing such a stir (and increased response rate); design and visuals are also important to the success of a gamification survey. It’s all about equal parts; marketing and research must balance. MR games have to sell themselves to the respondent with every single question, activity and/or level. This blog entry just touches on the surface of gamification and MR (I could go on forever), for now we just need to recognise why gamification is a resource we really should be pushing beyond the confines of conference walls. Gaming is at the forefront of technology and the modern world, but it is also a tad intimidating for an industry that is deeply rooted in tradition. Perhaps it is just what the industry needs; a platform far removed from the industry itself but is second nature to everyone else.
Can you think of a reason not to embrace gamification? If so let us know!
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