Understanding Gamification | Part Two

In the second installment of this two part series on Gamification, Face Facts talks to Research Through Gaming CEO and Founder Betty Adamou about her innovative vision for the future of research.

Read Part One Now!


Although it is clear that members of the public have been engaged when interacting with existing examples of Gamification, once the novelty wears off do you think that this method of retrieving data will face the same issues as traditional methods of data collection such as surveys? How do you suggest the industry could address this potential pitfall?

The short answer is no.

If ten years later people are still taking those awful grid surveys then they would still take Gamified surveys in another 10 years. People have been playing games for decades, so there is no reason why a game-like survey wouldn’t survive with our respondents.

You can gamify a survey in two ways. Gamify the survey itself, which Research Through Gaming does, or gamify the entire experience of participating in research, which Research Through Gaming are doing this year 2012.

If understanding your contribution to research and it’s wider causes, comparing your opinions with others, gaining and growing rewards for your participation and using rewards to do things you enjoy will ever be boring, then I will eat my hat.

Besides, all the technological developments mean we can constantly update the look and feel of our ResearchGames if we really wanted/needed to.

All games are designed to eventually become boring because there is an END. Once you achieved all you have to achieve and reached your penultimate goal, you stop playing right? That’s why some games are shorter, eg, games for a mobile device, and some games are longer, like MMORG’s.

If a respondent plays one of our ResearchGames on a Monday, and plays again on a Wednesday, no, I won’t expect them to be as excited about seeing it as they were the first time round, BUT the constant build-up of achievements, rewards and bragging rights mean they will keep coming back, as do all players with games they love.

By introducing levels of achievement which unlock rewards and ensure there are rewards/recognition at every stage (so the respondent always has something to work towards) is always recognized for their participation and understand their contribution, we are able to address problems of over-familiarisation with this methodology.


Do we constantly need to evolve this method to ensure we keep it fresh and therefore keep respondents engaged? 

Yes and No. It depends what you’ve started off with.

Using gamification has its own ‘set of tools’ if you like. If you’ve found a way to imbue goals, rules, feedback and sharing options so much so that your respondents voluntarily come to your gamfied research experience, then you can GROW that AS A GAME, by perhaps allowing respondents to unlock more achievements for other efforts they make, for instance, such as posting up their own questions. Growing your game is, of course the right thing to do and perfect. This is what FarmVille do so successfully with things like seasonal offers and graphics and bonus in-games.

At Research Through Gaming we’re building a gamified research experience in our Playspondent™ Playground, which will allow respondents to gain achievements on not just how many ResearchGames™ they’ve taken part in, but also how many they’ve recommended, how long they spent taking part in a ResearchGame, how many brand battles they begin and how many they join. As our ideas grow, so will the game. We’re already looking at how the respondent Avatars can visibly improve the more they are rewarded for their efforts. Of course, if we think of other ideas we’ll implement those, and that can make for a fresher, more enjoyable experience.


If we are constantly evolving our methods what impact does this have on costs? – Based on this is Gamification still a viable option?

This question has a two-fold answer.

If you think about how much money we LOOSE on drop-outs, low incidence rates and active panelists vastly becoming inactive, and then how much money we spend as an industry recruiting more panelists and buying panel from third-party suppliers because the incidence rates are low – then I would say realistically, you should give another methodology a shot.

I have a client at the moment who’s global survey is really struggling response-rate wise and in some countries they’ve had to use up to 4 third party suppliers to top-up their panel. This is costing them a fortune. But, this kind of thing happens every day with many, many research companies. On the surface, the panel companies might seem like competitors but we know all too well that they supply to one another, just because there isn’t enough panel to go around!

Also, we spend a lot of money as an industry imbuing Flash-tools (which don’t even show up on mobile devices) to try and get those bored respondents more interested in our surveys.

So, with that in mind, I would say put all the money you LOSE together and then spend that on gamifying the experience for your respondents and let your researchers get creative.


Is there anything else you think that Market Research professionals should know about Gamification?

Yes, there is plenty to let Market Researchers know about Gamification! It is an entire industry, as well as there being an entire gaming industry too so I could really sit here for a year and never finish talking about it!

I offer workshops on Gamification in Research (and Gamification generally) which is a great way to introduce yourself to the subject, get to know about some core case-studies and even have a go at gamifying your own survey in one of the workshop activities we do. I do these for the MRS and ARK group but I did a one-off at NetGain for the MRIA conference.


Any closing thoughts?

Yes. In two conferences I’ve done now (ESOMAR Best of Croatia and MRIA NetGain) I ask the researchers in my audience to stand up. I ask them to stay standing depending on their answers to some questions I have.

I say “Stay standing if you enjoy your job”. Everyone stays standing at this point.

I say “Stay standing if you like working in research”. Again, everyone stays standing.

I then ask the respondent to stay standing if the answer is YES to the following questions:

‘Do you speak to your clients every day?’,

‘Do you speak to your respondents?’,

‘Do you read the surveys you send out?

‘Would YOU take the surveys that you send out?’

In the few times I’ve done this, one person is always left standing, I think that say’s a lot.


Betty Adamou



Betty Adamou is CEO and Founder of Research Through Gaming

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Posted on February 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

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