Engaging in website activities such as commenting or even buying should be a rewarding experience for consumers—literally. That’s where gamification comes in.

It’s more than just a level up. Gratifying your users with game-like features builds brand loyalty. But is gamification good for your business? Here are the basics on this tech trend and how to play it right.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the concept of introducing game thinking to non-game concepts; think: boosting a user’s website account title for participation in a forum (e.g. rookie to master). Through these types of impressions, gamification has paved the way for increased user engagement. Yet, it doesn’t end with engagement. Gamification-based interaction provides valuable metrics on the areas of your website or app that users access the most.

Essential Pieces of Game Thinking

Although forum user-level gamification is a common and even old-school concept, new game thinking are still employed every day throughout many aspects of online or mobile business. Game mechanics such as points, challenges, certifications, and virtual goods can all be leveraged to create advanced ways to engage.

Take certifications, for instance: You can use them to foster a likeminded community. Perhaps you have content on your website like white papers or premium documents. Likely, this material is made for marketing and you want users to read it. Consider creating certifications for reading and testing on your expert-level content. If your website is community-oriented, provide badges to those users who master the material. This introduces competition, an invaluable game dynamic that’ll have users challenging one another just to consume your content.

How to Introduce Game Concepts

Game concepts start with expert programming and web design. That is to say: Gamification should be thoroughly planned with careful attention to the visual elements that help elevate the experience and motivate continued “play.” Glitches in the user experience could lead to frustrations that stop the game before it even starts.

Game concepts work best when they’re considered with reference to business goals. While forum user levels may work for a law website that encourages attorney relations or certifications may work for a website that’s building community of trained writers, these same devices may fail for other types of dotcoms. An experienced developer can determine where gameplay fits best for your business.