One of the biggest challenges faced by developers is maintaining continuous or regular use of their apps. Getting people to simply download your app isn’t enough. If you want to keep your bottom line moving, you need continuous engagement from your growing user base. So, how can you go about creating loyal users who keep coming back?

Engagement.

This is the aim of the game. If it only was as easy as simply asking for it. The dream would be that someone downloads your app and uses it regularly without prompting, and leaves you a glowing review on the app store. However, in our world of fast turnover, and countless apps bidding for peoples attention, simply sending your app live is not enough. You need ongoing hooks to keep users coming back for more.

To solve this problem, companies like Facebook, Duolingo, and more have utilized the concept of gamification to incentivise users. Some have done this successfully, whilst others have failed to produce the intended results. In this article, we’ll outline what gamifying actually means, and suggestions of how you can implement this in your app.

How does Gamification work?

This principle is based on using game elements outside of a game context to motivate people to take certain actions.

These techniques appeal to our intrinsic and extrinsic motivations through things such as rewards or points. It’s about making things fun and appealing to their competitive nature so they are motivated to keep using your app. Take a moment to think about a video game (doesn’t have to be your favourite), how does it work? How do you progress? By making your way through the various levels, collecting valuable items to assist you, beating bosses and accomplishing missions. All of these tasks create a sense of achievement and keep you motivated to want to keep playing.

You can take these ideas and use them in your app, through things called game mechanisms. However, simply adding these to your app for the sake of doing so can do more harm than good. The trick is to add these mechanisms to your app without interfering with the user’s experience. These should be used to enhance the experience of users, rather than hindering it.

So what are examples of Game Mechanics that you can implement into your app? You may have done some of these already. How you implement these is only limited by your creativity.

Let’s find out!

 

Levels

We’ve mentioned this idea already, but essentially these are stages users complete. Each new level is harder or more challenging than its predecessor. This could be in a number of ways, but this is one of the most straightforward ways to incorporate some gamification into your app.

The easiest method would be during the onboarding stage of the app as users get acquainted with the interface. However, building it into the ongoing use of the app can help keep users coming back for the long term.

 

Redeemable Rewards

Rewards are a great way to gamify your app. Once your users earn a few through simple tasks on the app, this will incentivise them to try to earn by completing even more tasks within the app.

There are a number of ways you can go about this, such as:

  • In-app points: Certain tasks could be rewarded with points upon completion. Then these points could be used to unlock certain areas of the app or redeemed for other rewards.
  • In-app currency: If it fits within your app, and you’re feeling quite creative, why not try an in-app currency? This could be used to buy add ons within the app to give more to users or even real rewards such as small gift cards. This is a great way to give more value to your users.

 

ScoreBoards

We’re all guilty of being a little competitive, and app developers know this. Incorporating a form of friendly competition is a great way to incentivise participation. Furthermore, success in a competition creates a sense of achievement – which keep people coming back for more.

 

Badges

Another form of gamification is badges. When users complete certain tasks, use the app a number of times, or meet other milestones (these are all examples of course) you can reward them with badges as they complete these stages.

This method is particularly effective during the onboarding stage, as new users get used to the experience of the app and how it works. This is the most crucial step to getting users hooked, sorry building a sense of achievement is really crucial.

 

Final Thoughts

These are just some of our suggestions and hopefully, you can draw some inspiration from them. There really are no rules in this process, however, you need to find a way to incorporate these features into the regular flow of the app. If they are empty and don’t add anything to the user experience, they will only achieve the opposite of the intended effect.

Good luck, and game on!

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