Life Is A Game, Or So They Say…

boardgame track

Last week, Betty Adamou, president of Research Through Gaming, joined Survey Analytics to speak about the transformation of surveys through the use of game techniques. The meteoric rise in the popularity of games online and on smartphones and tablets has opened many doors for market researchers to incorporate these elements, in an effort to increase engagement.

Why is this so important, you ask? Quick answer – interest in completing traditional surveys, especially lengthy ones is declining. Consumer market researchers targeting younger demographics also know that games can reach this audience like no other method. Though at first glance it would appear there is a strong age skew, game elements can be built into surveys for all demographics.

Introducing game elements into your surveys does not require a full Call of Duty effort. It can be as simple as incorporating interactive sliders, star ratings, thumbs up/down, smiley faces, drag and drop exercises or even images, videos or sound. The key here is to break up traditional survey formatting – e.g. long grids and matrices, lengthy pick lists, etc. – with smaller, more visual elements.

Social media, such as Facebook and Pinterest, are ideal avenues for sharing surveys. Facebook has incorporated gaming into its user experience, and if your sampling plans are amenable to social media then this avenue is congruent with surveys that incorporate gaming or game elements.

Are there potential concerns for going game-style with your surveys? Indeed there are. With games, you expect players to play more than once and to change their responses in order to level-up. These behaviors are not generally consistent with good survey respondent behavior.

Sierra Nevada Brewing was the case study presented: the brewery wanted to develop a community that could generate insights into new flavors entering the market. The community included a “Beer Camp” game, profile surveys, and social activities such as picture uploading. Since games often involve rewards, Sierra Nevada incorporated a point system for participation. This was an effective way to incentivize behavior.

Speaking of incentives, badges can be a powerful change agent. Badges must be earned via completion of certain tasks and allow the badge holder to achieve a sense of accomplishment. Badges are an important component to survey gamification, but should not be an end onto itself. Other features of gamified communities include personalized member portals, push notification delivery, discussion boards and the ability for social sharing.

Games and surveys can be combined to produce a richer and more engaging user experience. As Millennials and younger generations continue to grow into consumers, gamification may be the only way to cut through their clutter.

Greg Timpany directs the research efforts for Global Knowledge in Cary, North Carolina, and runs Anova Market Research. You can follow him on Twitter @DataDudeGreg.

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