Sunday, August 17, 2014

4 Steps to Get the Most out of Points, Badges and Leaderboards

If you're anything like us, you may be curious about learning how to make your feedback initiatives more fun for the respondents in hopes to grow your community. Where should you even begin? Gamification is complicated, and we fully admit we have not mastered the subject just yet either. One thing we have learned however is that when it comes to gamification, there is no "one size fits all" strategy and like anything - you have to test it out, listen and make changes to improve. We think we may finally have the perfect combination of easy admin, surveys, analytics, engagement tools and the basic mechanics of gamification that can bring you the community growth that you're after.

I'm sure you have heard or seen somewhere by someone trying to sell you a service that gamification is easy. There are many PBL (Points, Badges and Leaderboard) solutions available to utilize for customers, employees and overall audience engagement. PBLs alone are not an entire gamification strategy. But if they are all you have - here are four steps you can take for making the most of them to create a more engaging user experience and get the best results. Plus we have included some examples of our all new badges that are also customizable to work for you in Survey Analytics on top of our pre-existing surveys, analytics, panel management and automated points and rewards system.

Survey Analytics Badges
All New Badges for Survey Analytics hosted Panels and Communities

Step 1: Define Crystal Clear Goals

Keep it in the back of your mind that Survey Analytics President Vivek Bhaskaran always says:
"It's about the journey not the destination."
Look at where you are realistically and the big picture of growth you want to achieve. Are you starting with a big community that is lacking engagement, are you starting from the ground up or do you fall somewhere in-between? Who is the primary audience of your community (customers, employees, other)? What do you want from your community? How well do you know them, how do you plan to reach them and get them to participate? If you can't answer at least some of these questions, odds are another company can't answer them for you and this means that points, badges and leaderboards are very unlikely to help you hit your goals. 

Step 2: Choose the Solution with Easy Admin 

Just because one solution claims to work better than the other - take into consideration the resources you have available today and how badges, points and leaderboards fit into the already existing works. Regardless of how big your company may be, you should always try to keep your eye and majority of your time taking steps to hit your goals and not fussing around with the setup and tool itself. Throwing a person at a problem is not a solution. Nor is throwing technology on its own at a problem a solution. Like any channel, it's about the utility of the technology, not the technology itself. Start with the tool that is the most easy to integrate, manage, scale and keep your main focus on the overall goals and growth milestones. 

Employee Engagement Badges Included in the FlashLet Product

Step 3: Take Time to Listen and Get to Know the User Behavior Patterns

Transparency is definitely a big trend in business practices today. We can no longer be the master of everything and we have to convince people to believe and show them real value. Listening requires a good balance of both quantitative and qualitative data. There's a reason we recently bought the usability testing service TryMyUI. Although it takes a lot more of your time to measure qualitative data, it really provides a depth of understanding that no quantitative data can. Nobody likes to be thrown into a system where they have no voice. And with services like TryMyUI - you may not get to know your member base entirely but you will be able to discover steps members are likely taking and where they lose interest, draw confusion or even call it quits.

Step 4: Know Which Type of Engagement is Most Important to You

What do you consider an engagement - or digging further - a conversion? This absolutely must be defined before adding in a points, badges and leaderboards system to measure it's success. Engagement with your community comes in many different shapes, sizes and behaviors that happen behind the scenes. If your members aren't engaging at all now, adding in points, rewards and badges are not going to make them anymore excited and it may be time to think about the brand of your community - what does it believe and what does it give back. Not many of us can say that we achieve all types of engagement at once or even which is most important to us. Is it discussions and comments? Is it the number of new members? Is it a certain number of social shares? Is it direct mentions to you? 

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