If you’re looking for a way to get all your attendees involved and interacting at your upcoming event, you’ve probably come across gamification during your search. Gamification is an initiative that uses game design concepts – such as point scoring, competitions and prizes – in non-game content, to help increase motivation and engagement in attendees.
These game design concepts encourage your attendees to get involved with things at your event in exchange for some kind of reward, whether that’s an actual prize, emotional satisfaction or networking opportunities. This gamification can also then help event planners to reach their event goals.
But how do you know if gamification is right for your event?
Is your event interested in engagement and interaction?
If you’re organising a conference, exhibition, trade show or other event that is going to put its focus on understanding engagement, improving participation of your attendees, and is going to concentrate on using activity to pursue event goals, then gamification could be a suitable way of achieving that.
Since gamification is often carried out through an event app or other mobile technology, an event where the primary intent is to provide information through speakers and presentations wouldn’t necessarily suit gamification. You wouldn’t want people sitting looking down at their phones while your keynote speaker was presenting!
Do you know what will motivate your attendees to play?
Many people focus on the issues of demographics when considering if gamification would work for their event, assuming that only younger attendees would be interested in playing. However, the demographic of your audience matters less than you may think, with gaming statistics from a recent study showing that the average age of a gamer today is 35.
What matters more than demographics is that, instead of asking “Will my attendees play games?” you instead ask, “Will my attendees play my game?”. If you know what will motivate your attendees to play your game – such as a tailored reward based on your attendees, e.g. a physical prize or a networking opportunity – you’ll be more likely to succeed with a gamification approach.
Do you want your attendees’ behaviour to achieve event goals?
At a recent event, the IRF wanted to include a ‘happiness’ theme and learn about their attendees’ experiences. To do this, they used gamification to ask their attendees to identify and highlight positive experiences and rewarded them with points for doing so. When attendees shared pictures of their ‘happy place’ at the venue, or sent positive messages to other participants, they received points which put them on an event leader board.
In order to get the most out of gamification, you have to know what you’d like gamification to help you achieve at your event – what would you like to encourage your attendees to do?
Once you have decided that, you can decide which part of your event app you need to focus on to encourage people to play. Gamify the exhibitor part of the app if you’re looking to increase the amount of interactions that attendees and exhibitors have or focus on the feedback part of the app if you want to emulate the IRF example above.
Gamification can be effective for a number of different event goals, from increasing networking activity to driving more interaction with content, but you just need to work out how creative and flexible your event technology can be.
Do you want to show the value of your event through data?
Due to the nature of gamification, your game will naturally highlight certain aspects of the event you’re running and will encourage your attendees to interact with those aspects.
Using the data gained from your gamification, you can see whether your attendees are behaving in the way you’re hoping for and work out how you can adjust and adapt your event to encourage more of the desired behaviour. You will be able to see if you’re achieving your event goal and can change the game if you need to, to match the flow of the event.
At the end of your event, you’ll be able to collect the data from your gamification – often very valuable since it’s collecting very specific statistics of attendee behaviour – and can use it to tailor your event the following year with realistic, achievable and quantifiable event goals.
Do you have the resources available to spend time creating a game strategy?
While gamification can be a fantastic resource for your event and can help you reach goals and gain analytics to help you improve for future events, you will have to recognise that it’ll take time to create and build game elements into your event.
You will need to create an event app, which will definitely take some time, but you will also need to make sure you spend enough time on creating the game that will help you meet your event goals within the app. Gamification is most efficient when you build your game with the event’s strategy in mind.
If you don’t have time to implement an entire game strategy into your app, it can be equally valuable to use the analytics from the app to help you decide what goals you’d like to use to gamify your event the following year.
When it comes to evaluating whether gamification is right for your specific event, it’s always important to bear in mind that the core goal of gamification is to create and maintain an ongoing relationship between your event and your attendees during the course of the day or few days. If you’re looking for a venue in central London to host your event, and gamification, why not consider The Brewery. Find out more about what we can offer you here.