December 4, 2014

Is Gamification Data Meaningful?

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The internet is abuzz with talk of both gamification and big data, and the two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, gamification and big data make a great match. Here’s why.  

“Gamification is about results”Gamification is a natural data aggregator. Gamification platforms capture the information customers or employees generate as they interact with systems across an organization. Data gleaned from gamification – from a customer’s click habits, to their shopping history, to which of your customer service representatives has the highest volume of resolved calls – can be used to personalize experiences that drive engagement, optimize marketing, and make informed business decisions.

That’s why gamification isn’t just about making user interfaces more enticing; it’s about driving actual results. Let’s look at a few ways companies can use the data they collect from gamified apps.


Two Examples of Customer Data

One of the biggest opportunities for data is personalization: businesses can use the data generated from gamified apps and systems to create unique and meaningful experiences for the user.

1. Social Data

Nike has turned running into a data-driven social sport that provides users with breakdowns of their activity. The company developed a series of Nike+ devices to measure running achievements which provide insights and help motivate people to improve. Those devices include:

  • Nike+ Running App: a free app that tracks the distance of a walk or run
  • Nike+ Sportwatch: for avid runners, this watch tracks laps and speed info
  • Nike + Fuelband: a wearable band that tracks daily activity like how much, how often, and how intensely you move
  • Nike+ Training Club: another free app, this one is “your personal trainer, anywhere, anytime” and features over 100 workouts designed by professional trainers

Holy data, Batman – that’s a lot of user information. Runners can share their workout data and progress on Facebook or Twitter, but Nike didn’t stop there. They created a free community for runners to track activities, set goals, challenge friends, and share stories. The Nike+ online community is now approaching 30 million members. But has all this data paid off?

After the launch of Nike+, the company managed to increase their share of the running shoe market 14 percent with 50 million less in advertising – even though Nike shoes aren’t required using their smartphone apps or joining their site. By building a community specifically for their target market, Nike+ is able to personalize its users’ experiences by offering runners gear that’s specifically tailored to their activity.

2. Loyalty Data

A social app is just one way to leverage data generated from gamification. Another way businesses are collecting data via gamification is through customer loyalty programs. The data generated from a loyalty program can be segmented to pinpoint specific behavioral indicators. This kind of predictive analytics can be used to identify patterns among similar customers.

For example, if analytics indicate that certain types of loyalty members are likely to register for a credit card, then companies can market to similar customers. On the other hand, if brands identify customers that are unlikely to sign up for a credit card, then they can personalize their marketing with a different message, or exclude certain profiles in order to reduce their overall costs.

Additionally, having data on a customer’s purchase history allows you to customize promotions to specific interests – after all, no one wants coupons they aren’t going to use. By tracking this data, companies can recommend related products that the customer would likely buy if offered a discount.


Employee Data

Data can also be used by companies to learn about their employees. By tracking employee progress and results in a gamified system, managers can quickly identify weaknesses and places where additional training may be needed. Employees can be segmented into similar performance groups to analyze, so managers can learn why some groups perform better than others. Additionally, this type of data also opens the door for mentorship opportunities. Managers could pair top tier performers with those lower on the ladder for a beneficial relationship that proactively solves issues.

In short, yes – gamification data is meaningful. But simply having one or the other won’t make your business successful. Gamifying an app, customer loyalty program, or employee engagement effort doesn’t automatically guarantee success. Likewise, having lots of data from gamified efforts is meaningless unless you know how to analyze it.

If you’re looking to reap the benefits of gamification and its meaningful data, be sure to thoroughly compare options before jumping on the “trend.” Data from gamification can be hugely beneficial for your business, so don’t let the valuable insights of this dynamic duo pass you by.