Gamification Dynamics in Mobile App Development

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Which e-commerce app are you more likely to buy stuff from, the one that gives you redeemable coins for a certain amount worth of purchase or the one without it? Which fitness app are you more likely to go with, the one with a leaderboard of your Facebook friends or the one without it? These little features sometimes determine which app is the user going to have on his phone and which one becomes just a tryout. The inclusion of features like these for honey-trapping users is called Gamification of a mobile app. It is a user-centered approach that promises increased user engagement and retention.

The Need for Gamification

Now as an app owner you must be thinking that would the increase in user engagement birthed by gamification be worth the investment of time and money in it? It is. By using different gamification methods, your app has an increased appeal to people and they are more inclined to use your app over others’. It is a “Human-Focused Design” as opposed to the primitive “Function-Focused Design”.

This leap in the direction of riveting user experience can make the users spend more time on the app, which hence increases revenue. Gamification adds a pinch of playfulness in your mobile app, which can make users do various tasks that they might not do without it. It directly bridges the user’s gratification with the amount of time they spend on the app. 

Different Elements of Gamification

  • Reward

Introducing a reward system for the users for being on the app will be beneficial for both the users and app owners. These app-based rewards can be connected merely to the time they spend on the app or to some routine tasks that can boost the revenue for you. But the offered reward should hold some value for the user. Worthless tokens and badges might give you a swell at first, but will be fruitless later and hence won’t be worth the spend.

You can make those rewards redeemable right away for offers or you can infuse it with a goal and after a certain number of rewards bagged the goal gets completed and the user gets some perks. These reward mechanisms give you an edge over your competitors and contribute explosively to the consumer base.

For instance, Flipkart has introduced “plus coins” in its mobile app. For every purchase of 250 INR, a user gets one plus coin. After a certain number of plus coins achieved, the user gets to use Flipkart plus which brings the users perks like early access to sales and free delivery. This, among other instances of coins or points introduced as in-app currencies, is the most popular way of gamifying your apps.

  • Dashboards and Leaderboards

Another great method to gamify your app a little bit is introducing dashboards for user statistics and leaderboards connected to various social media platforms or just phone contacts to add elements of competition in the mobile app. Users can see their daily progress on dashboards and even share it on social media platforms. On the other hand, leaderboards are a great way of adding competition in a mobile application which leads to increased user engagement.

A great example of these elements incorporated flawlessly in an app is Fitbit. You can view the number of steps taken, calories burnt, and other metrics, daily and weekly and compare the progress. It lets you connect with your friends and establishes leaderboards which can motivate users to become players and helps the app owners extract the desired user behavior out of the user.

  • Achievements

Achievements in the direction of desired user engagement can be combined with rewards in gamified mobile apps. They can be small or large depending upon the milestone hit or the goal completed. Depending upon the scale of challenge or goal completed by the user, a reward like digital badges or trophies should be offered in the app apart from value points. This will lead to users killing more number of hours on your app chasing those achievements for those badges or trophies that will make their leaderboard decorated.

Features of sharing achievements on social media must also be included in the app because when it comes to achievements, everyone likes to put the word out. You can notify the user of his achievements through push notifications or emails.

For example, Medium sends you really cool and supportive emails as achievement notifiers, like when your publication gets a first follower or hits a milestone of story recommendations.

  • User Status and Ratings

Apart from this, you can also introduce user levels or statuses that can be emphasized by various metrics of their engagement on the app. These user ratings can drive user engagement and create opportunities for monetization.

For example, Twitter status is affected by the number of followers you have yet bagged, Facebook statuses depend upon the number of subscribers or likes on your page. Similarly, food delivery applications like Zomato give out user levels on the basis of frequency at which food is ordered.

Wrapping Up

Although the major chunk of your user base will depend upon how easy-to-use UI/UX design is, how reliable your support is, etc, gamification is among the side-tricks for increasing user engagement, customer satisfaction, sales, loyalty, and user retention. Incorporating a gamified ecosystem into your mobile app can also boost your revenue generation. Most developers use libraries and features provided by Google Game Services, Apple’s Game Center, and Amazon GameCircle, which make it easy to add rewards, value points, virtual trophies, leaderboards and many more gamification elements to your app.

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