From SAY Daily: Game On: The Rules of Online Ad Engagement

April 05, 2013

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Reality is broken. Game designers can fix it.

Jane McGonigal, Director of Game Research, Institute for the Future

If you're wondering what engages people consider this: Globally, there are now 1 billion people on the planet who play games for at least an hour a day. And that number is climbing fast with the growing adoption of smartphones and tablets. In fact, Jane McGonigal, director of game research at the Institute for the Future argues in her wildly popular TED talk, we should spend more time playing games too. Games like World of Warcraft give players the opportunity to save worlds, and the incentive to learn the habits of heroes – as well as solve big real-world problems.

Gamification, the process of applying the best elements of gaming to real-world, non-game situations, is also incredibly effective at creating behavioural change. A classic example is Volkswagen's Fun Theory experiment from 2009. By turning a set of subway stairs into piano keys, researchers were able to encourage 66 percent more people to use the stairs over the escalator. More recently and relevantly to digital media, a new Gigya study of billions of user actions with partners like Pepsi, Nike, and Dell, showed that adding gamification to a site boosts engagement by almost a third.

It’s no wonder then that brands have been quick to consider game mechanics to solve an advertising challenge: increasing ad engagement. And it hasn't been just the usual suspects like Pepsi and McDonald's who are trying it either. In 2011, Clarins launched a Facebook game aimed at women which involved managing a successful beauty salon and Aldo created the brilliant Aldo Shoe Paradise. But brands can play games in more places than just Facebook. 2013 was the year that gamification went big in social media and Superbowl ads, proof positive that this is no passing fad. [Read more at SAY Daily]

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