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The top 5 myths about gamification

by Rasmus Engelbrecht Sorensen

October 28, 2021

“Gamification wouldn’t work for my brand, we sell luxury.”

“It’s just clickbait. This won’t help my business.”

“Games will only work for a segment of my audience — not the whole thing.”

These are just some examples of what we’ve heard from prospective customers who don't think gamification is right for them. Gamification is often thought to be something passive, just another tool to add to the box. So I ran a data study to see if we could prove or bust these common myths:

  • Games are played more by men than women
  • Younger people play games — they’re not relevant for audiences 50 and older
  • Games won’t help me spend more time with a prospect
  • Gamification won’t work for my industry. It’s just not a fit
  • Games masquerade as pop-ups. They’re just another tool for collecting data

Let’s see what myths we busted using our own data:

Men play games more than women

Many assume that men play games more often than women; however, women gamers are on the rise. In fact, Statista reports that more than 45% of gamers are women, which shows that women are just as open and receptive to playing games as men are. That’s because games address our innate human motivations and desires, and that reaction in the brain happens regardless of gender.

We also see the same pattern in gamification in marketing. In fact, more than half of the visitors on gamification campaigns created in the Leadfamly platform are women. The fact that we see 56% female visitors shows that brands who use play and gamification in marketing will resonate just as well, if not better, with their female audience.

Branded games are more effective with the under 55s

What has consistently surprised us, when we see branded games in a marketing strategy, is which age group engages the most. A staggering 58% of visitors of gamification campaigns built in Leadfamly are 45 years or older. Often, we hear that marketers think certain tactics and tools only work for their younger audiences, but again, this is because games and play tap into our motivations and desires. We can see that age is just a number (and not an indicator).

This also follows general trends observed for video games — that all ages engage in playing, and older segments also increasingly play games in their daily lives. In fact, Statista found that for the age group 45-64 years, 73% of internet users report playing games on at least one of their devices.

Brands can’t expect to spend more than 10-15 seconds with a prospect

Given how busy the average consumer is and how inundated they are with ads (the average consumer sees two million ads a year, or 5,500 each day), brands need to be realistic with what they can expect, right? If we look at industry averages, that means marketers can hope to see 15 seconds for digital content, 1.5 seconds for digital ads, and 13 seconds for newsletters.

Fortunately, we’re here to tell you that there is a proven high-engagement data-backed alternative to such traditional digital media. On average, a prospect engages with a game built in the Leadfamly platform for 65 seconds. That’s four times longer than with traditional marketing channels like content, ads and newsletters. And those seconds matter because it’s a unique experience. When we play games, our brains produce feel-good endorphins and that just doesn’t happen with traditional marketing.

Not all industries are created equal

Perhaps you’re thinking that gamification or play only works for certain industries like iGaming, retail, or e-commerce. Sometimes we hear that games won’t work for certain industries like the more traditional ones. However, our data shows that games are effective across all industries including ones like energy and utility, government and public sector, pharma and healthcare, and consumer brands.

On average, brands can look forward to an average of 65 seconds of time spent with a prospect, when they use gamification. That’s pretty incredible — to know that the industry doesn’t influence how well the channel works.

Games are registration forms in disguise. They only help marketers collect first-party data

We’ve heard all of the concerns about gamification — it’s just fun and giggles; it’s not for my brand; it’s just a registration form in disguise. The last is one we hear often; it's a wolf in sheep’s clothing, if you will.

And while it’s true that games do ultimately help marketers collect leads and data, just like popups and lead generation forms, it also helps brands learn more about their audiences’ preferences and obtain zero-party data that couldn’t have been collected otherwise.

This is only possible because of gamfication’s unique and crucial strength: providing meaningful experiences and the opportunity to play.

Here’s an example: the international fashion brand Masai wanted to accomplish the following:

  • Generate leads
  • Gather zero-party data

So they created a personality test where their consumers answered questions in order to understand what the ideal clothing cuts were for their body type. This was meaningful for their audience. On top of that, Masai was able to use the responses to:

  • Make informed decisions on retail and wholesale planning
  • Learn about their consumers preferences, purchase intentions, and body types
  • Create clothes based on direct feedback from their consumers on colour and shapes

This data is invaluable. In addition to this, they were able to lower their CPL (cost-per-lead) and create a 20-page brief of exactly what their consumers wanted that was shared across the company.

While games do include registration forms and enable marketers to collect data, they also create real value, both for the consumer and for the brand.

To sum up

Our data ultimately busts all 5 myths surrounding gamification:

  • Games are played more by men than women
  • Younger people play games — they’re not for 50+
  • Games won’t help me spend more time with a prospect. It’s the same as any other tactic
  • Gamification won’t work for my industry. It’s just not a fit
  • Games masquerade as pop-ups. They’re just another tool for collecting data

What this shows is that games and play drive action, that we’re naturally attracted to these experiences because they engage our brains, give us a dose of feel-good endorphins, and provide value. Games in marketing work so well because they provide meaningful experiences.

Curious how other brands use games to achieve their KPIs?

“Game mechanics give us a way to listen to our customers’ preferences and use that information to direct products to the markets that they’ll perform best in.” – Maria Stigsnæs-Eriksen, Head of E-Commerce Sales & Campaigns at Masai

Read the full success story for fashion brand Masai here.



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