The art of Demografication before Gamification

I’m reading a lot of buzz about gamifying your website, marketing campaigns and customer engagement models, applying the mechanics of gameplaying in order to enrich the consumer experience and the internal culture of the business itself. But something which is glossed over time again is the age old (pun) issue of demographics. It simply isn’t enough to propose playing a game and earning points while you apply for car insurance for example.

According to recent research by Flurry, younger players have more time and a lower amount of disposable income, older players are in the reverse situation as they may have more demanding jobs and families to support. The company looked at 20 million users across all of the freemium games it supports and found that while 18 to 24-year-olds make up 32 percent of the time all players spend in freemium games, they only bring in 16 percent of overall in-app purchase revenue. In contrast, players ages 25 to 34 bring in nearly half of in-app purchase revenue even though they make up 29 percent of the time spent in freemium games. Thirty-five to fifty-four year-olds account for 28 percent of revenue even though they only account for 14 percent of time spent in games.

Whilst this research only talks about freemium games and in-app purchases it’s not a giant leap of the imagination to translate this to gamification also, that before you apply gaming techniques and reward structures to everyday consumer and work situations you have to think about who this is going to apply to, whether that section of your market has the income to actually spend money on your products in the first place before luring them in with an enjoyable consumer experience, or the time to ‘play’ in the first place. Or whether gamifying a process will actually work. Just because it exists doesn’t mean it needs it (I know, I support gamification but I’m also playing Devil’s advocate here.)

Of course, content and engagement are key to gamification, but they have to be pitched to the right market, each one demands it’s own set, and perhaps to gamify will eventually mean even deeper mechanics, bringing in more complex AI in order to reach all segments of the market.

Remember, it’s just as easy to hit ‘Quit’ as it is to press ‘Buy’….




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