Is Gamifying the User Experience the New Frontier of Advertising?
What Is The Gamification of Advertising?
The sparkle of a trophy, the gloating rights of a high score, the puffed-up chest of he who stands on the “first place” pedestal—these are among the elements that draw players to gaming. Advertising, by contrast, is not characterized by any such affirmations. “Being advertised to” is not a state during which someone feels pride; they aren’t completing levels or attaining high scores. A massive disparity of engagement exists between an individual playing a game and an individual who is being advertised to. But, what if we were to marry the two, harnessing the level of engagement and investment from a “gamer,” and endowing your advertising with it?
Examples of Gamified Advertising
The use of gaming concepts and strategies in marketing is not entirely new, but hardly old-hat industry standard either. As advertising continues to shift toward user-friendly interfaces like mobile apps and computer desktops, the opportunity has emerged to lock in consumers’ attention with a gamified ad strategy. Consider the following case study from Think With Google.
To drive buzz—and fill online shopping carts—for last year’s holiday season, Yoox dreamed up “The World’s Most Exclusive Collection” campaign, a series of 25-second pre-roll video ads that practically dared viewers to buy a one-of-a-kind item. The catch? If a user didn’t click on the ad quickly, the offer was gone forever…the campaign drove thousands of conversions, six-figure sales results, and had an average view-through rate of 37%, 23% higher than the average view-through rate for video ads in the e-commerce industry.
The success of this campaign startled even those who created it. By targeting specific “affinity audiences” and “custom intent audiences” (such as those who’d exhibited interest in ‘bargain hunting’ or had recently searched brands Yoox carried), the campaign was put in front of the right eyes and therefore poised for success. Gaming has a leg up on traditional advertising when it comes to enticing users to take action, however fleetingly. Advertising itself is a game of enticement, but is largely passive in its attempts to bait the customer. Although a game invites users to take action in a way ads are not immediately capable of, if a gamified campaign strategy is not backed by sound psychological theory and predetermined business objectives (à la Yoox’s video campaign), it is destined to fail.
Yoox’s interpretation of gamified advertising is just one interpretation, with countless more potentially on the horizon. Gamified ads need not always involve a direct purchases, for example, some can be used to raise brand awareness:
In one gamified ad, M&M posted a photo on Facebook and asked users to find the pretzel hidden amongst the M&Ms. The results – including 25,000 likes, 6,000 shares and 10,000 comments on the company’s Facebook page – represented major gains in audience engagement and social shares.
Service-oriented companies without retail items to proffer can still benefit from the format; they need only think critically and determine how best to apply the concept of gamified advertising to their own offerings.
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