It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned gamer or if you’ve never held a controller in your life – gaming is becoming more and more common in our daily lives. Gamification (using elements of game playing as a marketing or engagement tool) shows up everywhere, from your coffee shop rewards program to your fitness tracker to your mobile banking app. Have you noticed you’re eager to rack up points?
When it comes to events, gamification is a great way to break away from the stale webinar format; 59% of event organizers have used gamification features to improve audience engagement at their virtual events, according to Markletic. And beyond engaging your online audiences in the moment, gamification can boost your social media presence, provide new sponsorship opportunities and unlock important analytics for future event success.
Below, we share five gamification tools to entertain attendees and maximize returns, no matter what format your virtual event takes.
Individual gamification features - redeemable points, advergames, earning badges - are par for the course. Why not make your virtual event a more engaging, personal experience by creating teams? Encourage intra-event or -company team building by pitting executives versus interns, the marketing department versus engineers, U.S. attendees versus Canadian attendees, et cetera. Increase connection, foster collaboration and run a truly fun event: team gamification will make your virtual event more than just a video conference.
Team-based games and competitions present a unique sponsorship opportunity, too. Sponsors with smaller budgets can put their name on a team, getting their brand out there and offering sponsored prizes. With an event management platform like PheedLoop that lets you customize every aspect of your virtual event, combining gamification and sponsor identity is easy.
Team-based gamification is best for: virtual team-building events and virtual professional conferences
Earning points is a gamification mainstay. Companies like DuoLingo and Starbucks have it down to a science, encouraging customers to earn points that build habits, put them on a leaderboard and win them rewards. It’s satisfying to see your points increase – and even more satisfying when earning points means earning prizes.
You can apply a similar gamification feature to your virtual events by creating VIP tiers, experiences or rewards that attendees can unlock when they reach a certain point threshold. Badges and leaderboard placements are cool, but a tangible, exclusive reward will give guests something specific and coveted to work towards.
When attendees are looking to rack up points for access to a VIP session, a one-on-one with an industry leader or a sponsored prize package, you’ll see engagement with your mobile app, online content, event sessions or other point-earning actions increase. Use the lure of VIP experiences to drive engagement and encourage specific interactions with your content, all while offering your guests an awesome reward.
VIP tier gamification is best for: multi-day online conferences
Leaderboards are a classic gamification tool – in fact, over half of event attendees have encountered a leaderboard as a means of gamification during an event. They’re popular for a reason; leaderboards “enhance engagement through social comparisons,” creating a desire in your attendees to see their name at the top of the board. On your end, leaderboards are useful for directing attendee engagement where you want it to go. Want audience members to follow you on Twitter, sign up for your newsletter or attend at least three sessions? Give them points and watch them climb the ranks.
Set up a leaderboard displaying top point-earners on your event’s mobile app or online hub to bring out the competitive spirit. Coupled with team-based games or point tiers that come with exclusive rewards, like we talked about earlier, a leaderboard is a tried and true gamification tactic that will make your virtual event that much more engaging.
Leaderboards are best for: multi-day online conferences
Scavenger hunt-style gamification is a particularly good way to make your virtual event feel truly interactive, instead of a marathon of video calls. From using the various features on your event’s app to social media photo competitions, scavenger hunts can take many forms. For example, have guests post a selfie from their at-home viewing setup and tag you on Instagram, show proof that they visited virtual exhibitor booths or networked with a new person from a different part of the country or industry – the customization opportunities are endless.
Scavenger hunts also make for great sponsorship or exhibitor ROI. When your scavenger hunt checklist includes items like “Attend a session sponsored by X” or “Redeem virtual swag at Y’s booth,” you’re directing guests to interact with sponsored content, nearly guaranteeing more clicks, conversion and engagement.
Scavenger hunt-style gamification is best for: virtual trade shows and conventions
If your virtual event’s size and scope allows for it, hands-on learning experiences can make a huge difference in attendee engagement. Why go with the same old slideshow and lecture when you can teach your attendees with collaborative virtual escape rooms, trivia sessions or other puzzle-solving games?
In particular, smaller events like company team-building seminars or professional trainings can benefit from using games to teach key concepts. For example, Deloitte’s gamified employee training program resulted in increased engagement and retention of key information. When 87% of event attendees say that game elements make them feel more socially connected during work or professional events, it’s a smart move to make gamification a key feature of your event.
Hands-on gamification is best for: small group events like virtual seminars, team-building and professional trainings
You don’t have to be a pro gamer to reap the benefits of gamification at your next virtual event. Take your event from passive to active by getting your guests in on the action. The chance to earn points, work their way up the leaderboard, win rewards and collaborate with others will make your virtual event memorable (and even fun!).
You and your team will get something out of it, too; drive engagement towards specific content and crush your goals with innovative gamification features like scavenger hunts or hands-on gameplay. No matter what kind of virtual event you’re running, there’s a gamification solution that can work for you.
Looking for an event management platform with advanced gamification capabilities? PheedLoop has you covered.