M2 Research expects that the consumer‐level honeymoon period for gamification will be largely over by the end of 2012 and leveraging game mechanics implementation will have become a significant supporting pillar for integrated marketing. When done properly, using gamification for market‐branding adds another level of engagement to a company’s social marketing strategies.
In 2012, businesses will increasingly expect ROI accountability and measurable results to replace much of the early excitement for gamification that focused on "gamified" applications that frequently have been treated as standalone opportunities.
The evolving opportunity
A considerable benefit for consumer gamification is the fact that consumers are constantly evolving their online social behavior. Social networks and aggregators, such as Facebook, Google+ and even Twitter are accessible consumer platforms that are driving social behavior and trends, making them absolutely necessary tools for marketers.
The 2012 opportunity
The opportunity for gamification will grow on the grounds of user incentives for the consumers of applications and marketer incentives for the creators of gamified applications.
For consumers, gamification will increasingly be geared toward the desire to have:
- Bragging rights that are delivered through achievement recognitions and considered to have a certain value;
- Human beings natural longing to win a game and to stand out of the crowd;
- The belief that achievements should be rewarded with prizes – which don’t have to be have necessarily physical value, but need to be different for different achievements and evolve as we progress within an application.
For the marketer, the obvious opportunity and challenge will be a chance of:
1. Unprecedented proliferation within aggregators, such as Facebook, which is approaching one billion users worldwide in 2012. Such so-called “virality” is not leveraged to its full potential, yet, as an expanding user base provides room to deliver on secondary goals of a gamification campaign.
2. The development of gamification platforms are offering a much more sophisticated way to avoid scatter shooting with campaigns and target user groups with specific characteristics.
3. Gamification is ready to become omnipresent as it is understood by more marketers, which will drive a phase of competitive marketing in which marketers are looking for USPs and key advantages for their campaigns to reach the attention of their audience.
M2 Research estimates that at the beginning of 2011 gamification in consumer‐driven applications accounted for 91% of the total market. By the end of 2012, consumer applications will account for 62% of the total market, or roughly $151 million. M2 Research expects consumer gamification to grow exponentially over the next three years, as social networks become intrinsic to the consumer experience.
Challenges and strategy
ROI will be the single most important challenge in consumer gamification. Marketers will react with a fixed and dynamic set of strategies to be able to justify an investment in gamification and make their case for an attractive ROI. Early adopters are most likely to reap the fruits of their efforts as more industries and players are crowding the field and changing the rules of gamification.
Key strategies of consumer gamification in 2012 include:
- Goal definition: What are primary and secondary marketing goals? How do those goals relate to immediate and long‐term ROI and how can they be measured? Target group research: What activities are appealing to the targeted group?
- Reward research: What prizes are considered attractive by the targeted group? Trend setter vs. Trend follower: Is there value in taking the risk of evolving an existing trend?
- Conclusive brand integration: How can a brand integrate with the story line without alienating the user? Captivating game play: Can the application provide prolonged entertainment?
- Design flexibility: Can the application be fine‐tuned to changing user behavior? Activators: How can the application be supported to achieve sustained engagement?
M2 Research believes that consumer gamification in 2012 will be driven by the response to much more defined ROI, the understanding of goals as well as the implementation of clear metrics that measure the success of an application. (Source: http://www.m2research.com)