Gamification: real applications outside gaming context

Mobile Marketing

Gamification: real applications outside gaming context

Quoting gamification wiki: “Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.” 

However, the quotation I like the most is: “Using Game Design Elements in Non-Gaming Contexts”, which defines the whole scope in just one short sentence. To my mind, within this definition we encounter the 3 W of gamification: What, Why and Whom.

A lot has been set about this mainstream concept, but as usual, it is always more to the ad. I would like to share with you my latest experience after some testing and work regarding this topic.

Gamification is not for you

Being said that, you may well shouldn’t step forward into it after considering the following key aspects before laying out your gamification strategy:

  1. Define business objectives and KPIs. Even better if you have in front of your business plan displayed in a canvas (soon I’ll talk about its depth in the blog­­)
  2. Always stay focus, even rather obvious, is easy to forget the main business objective.
  3. Choose the trigger behaviors that are needed to be reproduced by your target users.
  4. Describe your players: who are they, what motivate them, which are their habits, preferences, tendencies, …
  5. Draw line loops: when the gamification would be effective when I will do it,…
  6. The secret ingredient: Fun. If we are talking about gamification we should add some fun to the formula, or at least something appealing and stimulating.
  7. Build, buy or take advantage of someone else’s tools. As one supplier told me once: “Someone has had the same need or asked for it before me, so there must be a path already walked”

Talking about abstract concepts is not appealing to anybody, therefore, I will place a case that I have recently analyzed. I must prevent you, is not one of those case studies from Cambridge but is part of my personal investigation methodology to discover new apps and get into their processes to find out what I might use in my job.

Two dots, the simplest the better.

The mechanics of this game are pretty easy, group dots by color. That’s all. Every time you achieve the challenge you’ll pass to another level, reaching different rewards in your progression.

What attracted me the most is the way they display instructions, their design, and the natural way in which the player is engaged and stimulated to share with their friends the experience. I’ll show some of it and try to capture some ideas from it.

The essentials

The instructions are easy to find and clearly structured. There is no more needed.


The inputs provided after passing a new level encourage the player to continue and also reinforce their self-esteem. Even if your players haven’t succeeded, you should never press them hard on it, give them hope and alternatives to failure or they will abandon for good.


Being social is not an option, is a must. Every time you can remember them to share the experience, as a marketer is not only important the social buzz, but also the positive engagement of the player with you.

Extra info

While the next level is loading, two dots displays small texts with useful info such as: “Every 20 minutes your lives will be loaded again” or “Connect with Facebook and compete with your friends”. Use every inch and second to reinforce the experience.


People are not in your game to guess what to do, tell them what are the necessary steps to go on with the gam


We all need positive stimulus, given it to them. What is most valuable in your game? Lives. Then spare some with them in early stages, and after you will be able to charge a small fee for extra ones.

Applying the concept: it’s alive!

Here it is an example of the non-gaming related business which transforms the km that you run into donations to NGOs. The process is pretty simple: first, you have to connect iWopi with a runner’s app and then, via the web, donate your Km to the social cause.

The essentials

First thing first, it is necessary to place the instructions, in this case, is their website and also when entering into your account.

I strongly recommend using only three key steps, if any process requires more than this it is very dangerous for your business, people tend to get tired in front of long explanations. Be smart.

Integrations, Feedback & Objectives

Being a social platform created to collect donations is even more important than ever the feedback and transparency in all process. It is always accessible your personal km meter.

Social Reward

(Ego’s recognition)

Runners love to compete with each other, use it in your profit. Creating a ranking you are taking advantage of their competitive spectrum and also let them feed their social ego with doing social good. It is just a win-win situation.

I hope this post might well help to find inspiration for future and presents applications. As always, be merciful with my English.

I have started this blog with the aim of sharing my career interests and learnings.
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