Over the past decade, there has been much discussion around the concept of gamification and the use of game mechanics within market research studies, such as within online communities, to increase participant engagement and improve data quality.
But what does gamification mean?
…a way to describe interactive online design that plays on people’s competitive instincts and often incorporates the use of rewards to drive action—these include virtual rewards such as points, payments, badges, discounts, and “free” gifts; and status indicators such as friend counts, retweets, leader boards, achievement data, progress bars, and the ability to “level up.”
In essence, gamification uses game mechanics in everyday scenarios such as business and learning environments to help engage people in their tasks at hand.
What does this look like in Market Research Studies?
Gamification is one solution to the problem of waning market research engagement. The idea is to add game elements to an existing study to make the experience more visually appealing and interactive, stimulating fuller participation and completion rates. Game elements can be designed at the individual question or task level or interwoven throughout the study. They can also apply to groups or segments of the community or the community as a whole.
What can this look like in your FocusVision Revelation study?
Enhancing data quality through gamification sounds good, but you may be wondering what it looks like in practice. Here are three ways you can include gamification elements within your next FocusVision Revelation study.
Design a set of badges for your project. Allocate the badges at set times, such as when a participant levels-up (more on this below) and/or give out on an ad hoc basis, such as ‘Most Detailed Response Ever.’ You can also use badges to promote community engagement through a series of community badges.
A custom-designed set of badges can be quickly developed by internal creative resources or through a freelance service like Upwork or Fiverr. Custom badges should be relatively inexpensive. However, if there’s no budget, not to worry, there are several freely available options via sites such as FreePik and VectorStock. You may be able to customize some of these yourself within PowerPoint or Paint.
2. Spot Rewards
Badges can go a long way to motivate people and provide a sense of achievement (key elements of game mechanics). However, sometimes something more tangible provides a helpful extra boost – this is where a spot reward comes into play. Spot rewards are just that – offered on an ad hoc basis and generally unexpected by the participant. They don’t need to be large – a $5 Starbucks voucher goes a long way. Not only will someone get a cup of their favorite coffee, but they will also revel in their achievement.
3. Levels and Bonus Rounds
Design your study with the idea of ‘levels’ in mind. These levels can be the natural sections (groups of tasks) that typically exist reworked into levels identified by the opening and closing text and/or image. These levels also help act as a progress indicator motivating them to continue as they see their progression. Award participants a completion badge for each level.
In addition to the standard levels, think about adding a bonus round. We always wish we could ask more of our participants, but we need to be mindful of their time. For example, as a rule of thumb, we know it is fair to expect people to spend 30 mins a day on their activity. Any more becomes cumbersome. This is where an optional bonus round could come into play. Should the participant have the time and inclination, they can complete the bonus round for a special badge and/or spot bonus. When designing the bonus rounds, be mindful of the time required, how often they appear, and the available time to complete the activity. This will depend on your study length, the overall incentive, and other such factors.
Finally, think about how you design your activities within the levels – where appropriate, you can set ‘challenges’ and use language that helps gamify the task.
Including a few simple game elements in your study can go a long way to improving engagement and enhancing participants’ inputs. However, do be sure to think about the community’s demographic makeup and the topic being explored to ensure that the game elements are appropriate and to inform how they are best employed within that particular study.