Now that some event production companies are pivoting to virtual platforms, they will need to become a little more creative to increase engagement levels across the board. Enter gamification. It lets you tap into the same mechanics that make video games so addictive and compelling – things like instant gratification, a sense of competition, and progression.
If properly applied, gamification can completely transform your virtual audience’s expectations and engagement levels. If your virtual events agency hasn’t already hopped on board, it’s time you gave this unique approach a try. And no, it’s not difficult to apply gamification at all – even if people try to tell you otherwise – the trick is to learn more about your audience. We’ve narrowed down 6 ways to leverage gamification in virtual events.
1. Badges for completing event objectives
Completing objectives is a central theme of any gamification experience. It doesn’t matter if the objective is big or small, it’s important to make sure they are relevant to the event. To brainstorm the most compatible objectives, you have to identify why your audience decided to attend in the first place, so they don’t appear trivial in nature.
Here are a few basic questions you should explore to help you properly gamify the event:
- Who is the event for?
- What do you hope to gain from this event?
- What do you want to learn from this event?
- How will you measure success?
Properly defined KPIs will help you create the right content and determine the ideal format, timing, audience, hosts, and platform. Armed with the right answers, you can then proceed to gamify the event successfully. Here are a few ideas you could try to maximize engagement:
- Plan Easter egg hunts throughout the event that reward players with badges for paying attention (helps you determine when audiences are watching your content)
- Provide badges at the end of surveys to increase survey participation (ensures that your audience make it through to the end of your content)
- Provide badges based on how many connections were made during the network (incentivizes your audiences to connect with each other)
Passing each step entitles the participant to a badge. The participant with the most badges wins.
2. Invest in a compatible gamification tool
Your event app gamification options are based on the event app software you choose. Some apps feature games that let you pick and choose from existing challenge options. Other apps provide a greater degree of customization for setting up challenges. You can also restrict them to specific members of the event, such as sponsors and staff members.
Select a tool that is easy to use and one where your visitors can spend a reasonable time. You could include games like connect the dots or fun puzzles to solve. Create leaderboards, promote through social media, and include event networking games. Overall, make sure that the software you choose can help you reach your stated goals.
3. Gamification through polling
One way to increase audience engagement is through polling. Polling is based on any topic related to the event and helps you collect feedback on its levels of engagement. The audience can vote by choosing their favorite option and help you arrive at a majority opinion.
There are many ways of making polls more engaging. One idea is to divide the audience into distinct teams and getting them to vote on your polls. The team with the most participation is declared the winner. This should be followed by prizes (not necessarily monetary). Another idea is to organize a guessing contest where each team is asked to guess which option got the most votes. The team with the best guess wins.
You can also award badges to the audience based on their answers to the polls. You could set up different levels of questionnaires and polls. These were just a few ways of making polls more fun.
4. Incentivize overall engagement with gamification
Another great way to incentivize overall audience engagement is to reward participants for performing specific actions. Your event tracking platform should provide you with the necessary analytical data needed to keep track of audience actions. This will allow you to maintain a scoreboard with each participant’s score. This ‘leaderboard’ of sorts could be displayed on your event app or event website.
The participant with the highest points wins. The process starts by deciding the key components of your events that you want to increase audience engagement for.
5. Familiarize attendees with your app
Event production companies play a major role in the overall engagement levels of their audience. Part of their job is to make sure the audience feels familiar with the event app without getting confused with the workflow. As such, event planners have to do a lot of research before finalizing the virtual environment.
For obvious reasons, if the audience does not feel familiarized with the event app, they will not be able to submit their feedback even if they want to provide one.
A fun and enjoyable way of achieving familiarity is to award attendees for visiting different areas of the event and tinkering around with all the available options. For instance, you could reward them with the title, “Color Enthusiast” for participants who change the color of their signature a certain number of times.
6. Using gamification in Q&A events
Q&A sessions are useful because they help initiate thoughtful and insightful discussions that can be useful for your audience. This is another area where gamification can prove to be particularly effective. The virtual event company can encourage the attendees to ask more questions and reward them for doing so.
You can even turn this into a competition. Announce beforehand that participants are requested to send in their questions about the topic being discussed. The medium through which they send their question is based on their convenience. It could be through social media platforms, the event app, or even offline. The attendee with the most relevant questions or best question gets to win. You can encourage audience participation by asking them to vote for the best question asked. Winner gets a prize.
Gamification only works when the rewards and incentives are worth it. You could make your event extra special by providing discount vouchers food passes, special badges, and even money. This requires going back to the drawing board to analyze what incentives are best for conversion. Perhaps more importantly, gamification is about being creative and making your virtual event just a little more fun.