Gamifying Mobile at GamesBeat 2011

Gamifying Mobile at GamesBeat 2011


This week in San Francisco, VentureBeat held their co-located GamesBeat and MobileBeat conferences. While topics such as the future of shopping, payments, and social networking on mobile devices dominated the discussion, gamification was given dedicated time in the program, and gamification-related subjects such as loyalty and CRM were widely mentioned.

In yesterday’s Gamifying Mobile Apps panel, Kris Duggan of Badgeville, shared some sage advice, saying, “Just because you can reward [a user behavior] doesn’t mean you should,” and stressed that it’s important to identify which user actions are of core importance to your business and focus on creating engagement around them. He also recommended pacing gamification integration, doing less if necessary to get it off the ground, in order insure that what you do is effective and done in a smart way. Iteration and adding to your gamification feature set can be done over time.

All the panelists stressed the importance of analytics to monitor user response, and to make decisions about when to tune user flow and incentives based on performance.  Mark Baxter of Vivity Labs has been using A/B testing methods that do not require app updates to gather data, gauge user response, and adjust rewards in the company’s Arookoo fitness iPhone app. Nicole Lazzaro of XEO Design also called out the need to consider that mobile experiences are typically short in session length and happen on-the-go. Consequently, the gamification elements should be quick, simple to understand and rewarding, insuring that the user leaves feeling the emotion they sought when they came to the application.

Location-based offers were a hot topic in several sessions. Though the tremendous response to local offers from a litany of aggregators and providers is undisputed, the long-term impact of these programs is uncertain. Once awareness is created, it’s largely up to the brand to re-capture customer data from purchasers, and preparation has to be made for supporting long-term relationship building and loyalty. Brands making local offers to their users directly also need to consider the behavioral goal they are trying to achieve; do they, for instance, want traffic to retail locations, or to generate online and mobile redemption and fulfillment? Panelists also voiced the need to balance selecting offers based off of user information versus encouraging users to explore new products and services on their own.

Gamification Co will be hosting it’s second Gamification Summit in New York on September 15-16. Join keynotes from Gilt Groupe CEO Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and 42 Entertainment’s founder, Susan Bonds, to learn how the new science of engagement is rewriting the rules of product design. For Gamification Blog readers, use discount code GCOBLOG for 25% off at We look forward to seeing you there!


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