6 ways to leverage gamification in virtual events

6 ways to leverage gamification in virtual events

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 organ­ise 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.

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