Gamification, or the use of game mechanics in marketing campaigns, has become a buzz word lately, even spawning new startups focused solely on game-based mobile advertising. The idea is nothing new — McDonald’s, for example, has used Monopoly as a marketing ploy since the 1980s — but using it in the mobile channel opens up new possibilities in terms of driving user engagement. Upstream has actually been employing game mechanics in marketing campaigns since its inception, but the new introduction brings real-time gamification features to its already advanced marketing platform.
So how does it work? Upstream’s gamification engine offers real-time personalization to deliver key insights into interactions as they happen, enabling the platform to tailor campaigns so that their frequency, progress and content are driven by highly targeted mobile consumer segments, making it ultimately more rewarding and enjoyable for them. It works by combining game mechanics — including points; rules; countdowns; ratio, repeat and interval bonuses; levels; penalties; challenges; viral mechanics; virtual goods; digital and physical prizes and more — with game dynamics, such as rewards; urgency; reinforcement; pride; appointment; status-building; competition and achievement to provide a “powerful engine to drive high responsiveness, engagement and enjoyment of the mobile experience,” according to the company.
Game dynamics introduce the concept of rewards that can take many forms, whether it is correctly answering all the questions in a quiz; getting free entertainment content; a status announcement or winning bonuses, points and even large cash prizes. Upstream knows what it’s doing in the mobile marketing space and has used that knowledge and experience to develop this next phase of its platform. The company’s MCS platform has delivered campaigns to more than 500 million consumers for top-tier carriers and brands around the world, increasing customer responsiveness by as much as 400%.
What’s unique in the way that Upstream has integrated gamification is that its an automated solution that runs within its existing platform, allowing the use of carrier’s existing data on its customers to target them in very personalized ways. “If you personalize it correctly, if you don’t just apply a common recipe, when you apply it to the proper segment, you’re getting even better results,” says Guy Krief, vice president of innovation for UpStream. During a campaign with Telecom Italia, for example, the company measured 30% better average profiling results with its automated gamification platform versus a manual approach, and customer engagement spiked 60% using the platform.
Mobile gaming in general is building massive momentum and combining the high levels of engagement with highly targeted, relevant mobile messaging is definitely the wave of the future. Upstream has built its position in the mobile marketing space by primarily working with mobile operators — it currently works with over 30 of them across the globe — and combining carrier data with game mechanics and targeted mobile messaging will create a force to be reckoned with within the mobile space.