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Erica Kurowski, Managing Director OnePulse, explains how the gamification of the consumer insight industry will revolutionize how agencies collect data by making the collection the reward.
Gamification, or the process of utilizing game-like mechanics to other areas of activity, has become a popular means of improving user participation in the market research field.
For this industry, the aim is to understand human behavior. Or to put into layman's terms, why people do what they do and buy what they buy.
When people are enjoying what they are doing, they are more likely to participate the way you want them to.
Market research requires high response rates and good continuation and completion rates to be effective. User-friendly, gamified apps have improved all of these things for the industry, and it’s led to better quality data collection and insights.
The Psychology of Gamification
When gamification is a part of an app’s experience, a person’s psychological need for relatedness, self-governance, mastery, and purpose kicks in within a gamified experience. All of these are powerful motivators that can ultimately lead to greater responsiveness.
Gamification also encourages completion of a goal, repeat use, and—when done correctly—can even encourage people to go above and beyond what is being asked of them. It allows users to enter into a flow state where they don’t notice the passing of time. This increases their focus and involvement in the app—and your company. In addition, playing games releases dopamine in our brains, which improves motivation and attentiveness.
Market research has desperately needed gamification.
Instead of opting for simplicity, a lot of brands and agencies are moving towards lengthier surveys.They make the process laborious and complicated in a bid to gather ever-more information. But this doesn’t help anyone.
Overly long formats turn respondents off to the idea of completing any survey. They are less likely to engage in future market research and form a negative association with the brand involved. Just think about it: have you ever agreed to fill in a quick customer survey online, and six questions in, you are already bored but still have four or more questions left to go? It’s annoying!
Over the next decade, gamification will increase to the point where it is no longer championed only by a few early adopters and specific converts. It will become a natural part of brand engagement and marketing activities.
It’s no wonder why the dry and dusty world of market research has welcomed gamification. Big brands like Coca-Cola and Accenture have turned to consumer-focused micro survey apps such as OnePulse. Short, gamified experiences, are the future. In fact, the global gamification market was valued at $10.19 million in 2020 and is expected to reach $38.42 million by 2026, according to a Mordor Intelligence study.
To get people to complete a survey, their motivation is important.
This is where gamification comes in. Brands want respondents and consumers to be doing something for the joy of it, a consumer practice known as intrinsic engagement. This contrasts with extrinsic engagement, where being rewarded is the primary goal. When people are enjoying what they are doing, they are more likely to participate the way you want them to.
Gamification Best Practices
While all of this sounds great from a business perspective, gamification isn’t an instant answer to low engagement.
If a brand approaches gamification with this mindset, then it will likely fail to succeed or reach the full potential of how gaming can help. Dropping in a points system or adding in some other contrived playful element will be distracting, rather than a thoughtful means to change behaviors and response rates. First, the data-collection experience must be built from the user’s perspective outwards. It needs to be intuitive, accessible, and easy to use. Once these three things are achieved, then you can consider how best to introduce gaming techniques.
Gamification also encourages completion of a goal, repeat use, and—when done correctly—can even encourage people to go above and beyond what is being asked of them.
A good place to start is to think about the overarching goals; why is the brand asking people these questions in the first place? When that is identified, then consider what rewards can be offered that meet the narrative and the content offered.
Market Research Gamification in 2021 and Beyond
As recently as five or six years ago, quantitative research consisted almost entirely of a very traditional approach, relying on surveys and questionnaires as the only means of getting feedback. But the future of market research is going in one direction. Gaining customer feedback requires swiftness and simplicity, with a little bit of fun thrown in. Over the next decade, gamification will increase to the point where it is no longer championed only by a few early adopters and specific converts. It will become a natural part of brand engagement and marketing activities.
Dropping in a points system or adding in some other contrived playful element will be distracting, rather than a thoughtful means to change behaviors and response rates.
At OnePulse, we witness this effect in the real world. User enjoyment is a significant part of our DIY survey process with relevant ‘Pulse’ categories, financial rewards and leader boards for participation. And we’ve seen it pay off. Immersive market research via gamification produces a new level of positivity from participants. When play is introduced, it’s not a chore to give feedback to a brand or agency.
Ultimately, gamification is a more engaging experience. It veers from the traditional, which is exactly what the industry needs to stay relevant. The question then remains: is your brand ready to embrace the inevitable?