One of the things I have been asked on occasion is why I have included the Captain Up gamification platform on my blog. In my own words, I would describe it as “Short Term, Thin Layer” gamification (something I will elaborate on in a future blog). A layer of veneer that has little or no long-term engagement possibilities. The reason is because I wanted to. Simple as that. I thought that some people who read my blog may find it a bit of fun – short term or not. I have a few hidden Easter egg style rewards on there, but for the most part is a vanilla install that people can play if they like or ignore if they choose.
On a side note, I chose Captain Up because it offered the most flexibility for the best value (free!). The dev team is also very responsive. I had tried Punch Tab, Cube Points, Big Door and others as well.
Anyway, the point is, I have done all of this deliberately and fully aware that it is not true engagement with my content- it was never meant to be. I have other things on the site that add extra value to readers. Recommended for you, recent comments, others are reading etc. If people find the game layer fun, I am really happy and I will continue to add extra bits over time to give them more to play with. For the rest, my hope is that they are enjoying the content and come back for that!
Not everything needs gamification. “Gasp, shock horror”. This blog makes no money for me, so I am not fighting for viewing figures. I like good viewing figures, but I am really interested in people getting value from the site. I want them to learn from my content and enjoy it.
Think of it this way. If the only reason people are on your site is to play with your gamified layer, then there is a problem with your content.
It may be great for page views, but is it really true engagement with your content? If it is an additional reason to be on your site, then great – they enjoy themselves, you get the page views and everyone is happy.
When you gamify something, start by being honest with yourself about what the real reason is. If it is just to get people to stay on your site and play to give you better stats, then you may well be doomed to fail.
One more thing…
I spend quite a lot of time looking at gamification platforms and have decided that I have a wish list!
- Points, Badges and Leaderboards as a start.
- Missions, Quests, Tasks etc.
- Ability to reward non-site specific tasks (social media mentions not from the site – that sort of thing)
- Easter Eggs
- Competitions and Quizzes
- Ability to create collections then trade, vote and comment on them for points etc.
- Social discovery, Social Networking
- User customisation tools
- User generated content / quests etc
- The same sort of pricing structure as Captain Up!
Who’s up for that one then?