People are hard-wired to enjoy positive reinforcement. And, well, play is fun.
Consider golf: Social interaction aside, why would anyone go to a course and attempt to hit a tiny ball into a far-away hole? “If we were thinking of standards of productivity, we would just invent a machine that stands over the hole and sort of shoots the balls into the hole,” explained game designer Jane McGonigal, who studies the social and mental impact of gaming, at her South by Southwest Interactive festival keynote speech this year. “Instead, playing the game is something entirely different.”
Gaming reinforces players through positive feelings generated by achievements, which are perceived through points, badges, discounts, or any award—tangible or not. Game mechanics are, simply, ways of generating those positive feelings.
“Foursquare was a really great early example of this happening,” McGonigal says. Foursquare started this whole trend of making achievements and giving people badges for doing stuff.”
Giving customers something positive encourages additional interaction with your brand, service, or product. For this very purpose, LinkedIn added a progress bar that documents user-profile completion. But that’s not its sole purpose.
“Filling out your profile, that’s a behavior LinkedIn wants to motivate. The progress bar is this total insight to your progress as a user,” says game designer Gabe Smedresman, who designed the Facebook game Crazy Boat, and who is working on a social-interaction app called Meet Gatsby. “That taps an innate human desire to complete things, and not leave things undone. That’s what games do—they are systems that give people pleasure.”
For LinkedIn, the benefits are straightforward. Giving users even perceived achievements harnesses users motivation in a way that gives the company more loyal users who are more invested in the service. As a bonus, it collects more data on its users.
If you would like to learn more about how Salesboard can be used to reward your employees please visit the site today.