The Membership Guys

The Potential Downsides of Using Gamification In Your Membership

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Gamification is the strategy of using gameplay elements as a means of encouraging engagement with your product, course or membership.

Typically with membership sites, this manifests itself as point systems, badges and other rewards for completing content or contributing in your community.

While gamification can be a highly effective strategy, it isn’t a “magic button” for creating an engaging member experience, and if implemented poorly can actually have an adverse effect on your membership.

In this episode I discuss some of the potential problems with using gamification techniques for memberships.

Episode Summary:

  • How gamification can lead people to get complacent about actually engaging with their members
  • The importance of truly knowing your audience and understanding what they will (and won’t) respond to
  • Why game mechanics often reward the wrong people – and the effect this can have on your membership
  • How the most valuable outcomes your membership creates are often ones you can’t measure (or reward with badges!)

Key Quotes:

“Depending on how complex the gamification elements you’re using are, you’re going to be adding a whole bunch of stuff into the mix that your members need to wrap their heads around and figure out how to use. The time that they spend doing that is time that they could be spending getting value from your membership”

“Gamification is not a substitute for actually showing up. So just because you’ve got some fancy tricks, some fancy gimmicks, some badges and all of that sort of stuff doesn’t mean that you get to take your foot off the pedal in terms of putting forward effort to make your site an engaging experience for your members.”

“You can’t measure everything. You can’t gamify everything. Gamification tends to focus on quantitative outcomes. How much activity somebody has completed; how many pages they viewed; how many lessons they’ve completed; how much of a course they’ve consumed; how many times they posted on a forum. It’s all quantity based, but a lot of the time, the really valuable outcomes of a membership are qualitative, and it’s much harder to award badges for those type of achievements.”

Related content about gamification and member engagement:

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