Community Rules: Using Gamification to Drive Publishing and Community Engagement, Part II

Community Rules: Using Gamification to Drive Publishing and Community Engagement, Part II

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Mediator Greg Johnson, of Fooda leads panelists Jesse Redniss, the head of digital at USA Networks, Rijat Paharia of Bunchball, Michael Ahern of Major League Baseball advanced media, Esteban Contreras of Samsung, and Brandon Evans founder of CrowdTap in a lively discussion about how you, the consumer, are the link between Twitter, democracy and crowdsourcing.

Contreras speaks about knowing we have to design well and that we have to keep adding more of what people like and keep surprising people.

Paharia says that right now companies are still not providing enough meaningful value to the end user. A lot of the systems don’t let people know what’s in it for them. Foursquare is a great customer onboarding system. You can be the mayor et al. But what else can the system provide? They don’t provide longevity. What is the meaningful longterm value? Provide long term end value.

What advice would you like to give the audience members? Johnson asks the panel.

Redniss suggests looking to make your efforts social. That’s the key to huge success. At USA they integrated into Facebook, Twitter, et al. But it wasn’t until they migrated it to Facebook that they saw growth. He suggests that you don’t build in a silo. Think about how you can syndicate it out.

Ahern admits that the MLB already had engagement prior to the game of Fantasy Baseball. There was a large enough user base so they didn’t need facebook but they are looking for ways to bring it in. For them it was more about users wanting exclusive items, badges aps and access. They have the contact. It’s a matter of figuring out how to tickle people’s interests.

Game mechanics doesn’t necessarily mean fun, says  Contreras. It’s also about creating a good and supportive community.

Paharia wants you to make sure you know how this stuff actually works and what you are doing before you begin.

Johnson opens it up to questions from the audience.

The first question is about incorporating health and wellness onto sites.

Paharia replies that on the publishing side, redding.com has just launched with amazing gamification strategies for publishing. On the wellness side there is a site meant to combat tween obesity that is filled with gaming tools that has had great success in helping to combat obesity in preteens.

Ahern talks about the ways in which the MLB has added user health and wellness to their programs.

The second question is about how the gamification benefits the core business. Do more people go to games? Watch the shows? Et al?

Redniss says that their stats show that their gamification programs do drive viewership. Similarly, when prizes are awarded, people who go to the stores to claim their prizes also buy an additional item while there. There is also talk of effective social reach. People average 200 friends on facebook that leads to real world-of-mouth marketing. There was an actual increase in the number of people watching the shows. Viewership is lifted.

For CrowdTap, Evans concurs that the research they’ve looked at supports the idea that gamification leads to lifts in purchase power. It also gives people direct access to the brand so that close connections are formed which is very powerful.

Ahern talks about how fantasy baseball actually leads to brand promotion. And they look to expand the number of baseball fans. The site simplifies the game in many ways for newer fans. The games are not designed for the hardcore baseball fans. Numbers are up. Nearly half of the registered users are also registered to play the game.

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