Gamification isn’t a new idea – from puzzles on the backs of cereal boxes to airline loyalty programs, savvy marketing gurus have been figuring out ways to make ads interactive since the 1930s. But a recent slough of platforms has made online gamification easy for companies of all sizes to implement. For the most part, the products offered by the suppliers of gamification solutions have the same basic features: users are encouraged to engage with the site by earning points, badges and even real-world prizes for performing social activities on the site. When looking into implementing a gamification solution for your own site, it’s important to consider your audience, budget, and expectations – are you looking for quick implementation, do-it-yourself customizability, or a full-service gamification campaign? Do you want your gamification program to boost customer engagement, reward loyal users, or make tedious tasks a little more interesting for your employees? We’ve compared how four of the major gamification providers strive to break away from the pack.
Gamification plans can be costly, so if you’re on a budget BigDoor is your best option. Unlike the other providers on our list, they provide a free solution (“Lite”) for sites that receive up to 25,000 monthly visitors, which is great if you’re just starting out, interested in testing the waters, or if you need to keep costs low. One of the features available at the free level that make BigDoor gamification unique is “Quests,” which allows you to guide visitors exactly where you want them to be. Users can gain more points for completing a specific series of tasks; if you want to introduce customers to a new product, you can have them earn points for visiting its profile or watching a demo video. “Lite” is a great option for smaller companies that don’t need a heavy-duty social infrastructure, but would like to boost engagement and reward loyal users in a fun way.
Bunchball has been around since 2005, so it is one of the oldest and best-established gamification companies. Bunchball focuses on offering scalability and reliability; Nitro is probably one of the most powerful tools on the market right now, and quarterly software updated ensure that it’s always at the cutting edge. In the past year Bunchball has also introduced employee facing gamification; Salesforce has implemented a successful program for its sales team with Bunchball’s help. Looking at Bunchball’s past successes reveals the effort they put into thoroughly and seamlessly integrating gamification into a brand. They focus on integrating game mechanics into the user’s experience of the brand beyond the web as well; for instance, their campaign for USA Network show Psych gave users a chance to earn points by checking in while the show was broadcasting on television. For more on Bunchball’s beginnings and gamification in the workplace, see our interview with founder Rajat Paharia.
Badgeville sets itself apart from the competition by providing a different model of service that focuses on quickly and efficiently crafting a custom gamification solution. By dividing their service options into 6 “platforms,” Badgeville provides templates for creating and customizing your gamification plan by type of business. This feature is unique to Badgeville; other providers draw a sharp line between cheap, generic plans and expensive, fully-customized ones. By providing these semi-custom blueprints, Badgeville helps speed up the implementation of a system that works well with your company’s needs. It is a great option if you are looking at gamifying your workplace; like Bunchball, Badgeville offers employee-facing gamification tools as well as customer-facing ones. As an added bonus, Badgeville has recently teamed up with Claritics to provide real-time analytics to users, helping companies determine the lifetime value of customers and track engagement in a meaningful way. If learning more about your audience is a key concern for your company, the integration of Claritics provides a compelling reason to go with Badgeville.
Gamification is just one element of the trend towards social media integration, and Gigya wants to address the whole picture of social integration. They provide a complete suite of social infrastructure tools to help build your brand by integrating social media sites like Facebook into your site. Working with over 500 companies to reach over 1 billion users per month, Gigya has been enormously successful in helping businesses “socialize” online even before they introduced their gamification tools last summer. Gigya is a great option if you want a thorough social solution that goes beyond gamification itself. Their API and Plugins are fully customizable, so you can easily integrate them into the design of your site. If you’re already using Gigya’s other social tools, you’re in luck; their Game Mechanics and other gamification tools are designed to incorporate automatically with their other plug-ins. For further information on Gigya check out our recent interview with CEO Patrick Salyer on their mission to deliver social infrastructure to businesses.