Or do they?
I was recently pitched on Jellyvision - it's an interactive (and pretty engaging) product that helps communicate complex topics. It reminded me of a concept that I've been meaning to address for a while now: game mechanics as a driver for brand engagement. We've all seen the obvious examples in FourSquare, Twitter (number of followers is similar to a score), and now websites that provide badges or achievements for clicking links, commenting and sharing content with your social networks.
Game mechanics make ads and websites more engaging
It may be a Millennial thing, but incorporating achievements or awards - even if they are valueless - in front of consumers compels them to interact with content more often. Incorporating game mechanics into digital outlets doesn't make sense for everyone, but in the right environment against the right audience it can be the tip of the spear that drives return visits.
Not convinced? Here's another example of the game mechanic in action: Empire Avenue. As if you needed one more social media site to participate in... I like Empire Avenue because it takes the next step of creating a marketplace for social currency where you can buy and sell your friends for virtual currency just like stock markets across the world. On top of that you get the whole badge/achievement thing. Remember my old article on "The Currency of Like"? Here it is in action folks. Oh, and if you want to pick up some shares of me, I'm listed under the ticker symbol NICKK.
What do you think? Are sites that build in game mechanics more successful?
Nick Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 9 years, and helps the Fortune 100 identify unmet consumer needs, create ideas to fill those needs, and bring them into market. He currently works at Maddock Douglas.