Gamify Your Content — Points, Ranks, And Getting Them Back For More

March 2024

When it comes to user engagement, the only winning move is to make it a game. Here’s how:

“Make a game of it” is advice we’ve all gotten at some point in our lives: parents telling us to make a game of cleaning our room, or teachers convincing us to behave by putting a row of gold stars on a piece of posterboard. We’ve seen simple games used to promote health or raise money for charity. But so-called “gamification” is also the key ingredient for many aspects of how the internet works today.

At Insticator, our work on user engagement has uncovered a lot of useful and fascinating information about gamification: what it is, how it works, and how it can be a powerful tool in the right hands. In this blog, we’re going to share some of those insights with you:

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Case Study: find out how Insticator Commenting helped Brit + Co boost their online engagement by 50%.

What Is Gamification?

Gamification is, to keep it simple, a way of enhancing the user experience by introducing elements that make it similar to playing a game. Once a niche idea, Gamification has permeated all areas of our society, whether you’re earning “splat points” at an OrangeTheory fitness, earning “upvotes” on Reddit, earning certifications on LinkedIn, and a variety of other experiences we go through every day.

Called “persuasive system design,” the approach is meant to increase engagement from your users, by making the experience more fun or compelling.  Rankings, point systems, rules and rewards all work together to hook your target audience and keep them coming back for more.

How Does It Work?

In psychology, the “reward system” is the part of the brain that help encourage us to do things, usually by releasing a flood of “good chemicals” in response to stimuli: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and others. Eating good food, falling in love, learning a new skill, all of these experiences are “rewarded” by the brain. But your brain also reacts this way while we’re playing games. The thrill of victory, the rush of solving a puzzle, the flood of happiness and pride when you pull off something difficult: our brain rewards us for playing games the same way it would when our ancestors hunted a mammoth or beat a rival.

This is why video games are a multi-billion dollar industry, why sports and gambling are so popular, and why adding gamification improves user experiences and customer retention. Aside from all that scientific talk, it can make things fun that previously weren’t, whether it’s losing a stubborn fifteen pounds or finally quitting smoking. And if the activity in question was already fun, gamification makes it more so, like adding a side of ranch dressing to some already-delicious hot wings.

Gamification And Online Communities

 With Insticator Commenting — and our latest version, Commenting 2.0 — gamification is a way of taking something all of us enjoy doing from time to time and kicking it up a notch. Engaging in online conversations and debates is one of our favorite pastimes, whether it’s on a popular social media site or in the comments section of your favorite blog. What gamification does here is help users feel like they’re earning something with that time spent.

With things like points, profile flair, and badges, gamifying profiles helps users signal their status within a forum: are you a Johnny-come-lately, or a pillar of the community? Earning the right to display a unique badge on your profile trips those reward circuits in the brain, and also adds a fun, competitive edge to online discussions.

With Commenting 2.0’s email updates, the fun also doesn’t end when the tab closes. If someone replies to your comment, you’ll get a notification to pull you back into the conversation, giving you more opportunities to earn points and build your profile. In short, gamification helps you build thriving online communities around your brand and content.

Gamification And User Engagement

Gamifying comments helps keep users engaged below your content, but what about the article itself? Users clicking away from your content too quickly can have a detrimental effect on your bounce rate and, ultimately, your SEO results. So how do you retain users for a longer haul?

There are a lot of ways to improve bounce rates, of course, but gamification has a role to play here as well. Insitcator’s Trivia widget, which can be either within or alongside your content, peppers users with trivia questions to keep them engaged with your page. Tailoring the questions to the content of the page means it’s a subject the user was already interested in, making it a challenge they’ll find it hard to back down from. This keeps users on your page longer, and also makes your page more fun, once again pulling them back in for more.

Final Thoughts

Turning your site’s engagement into a game through these tricks and tools is an excellent way to build communities, improve time on-site, encourage repeat customers and, ultimately, generate more revenue for you and your sites.

If you think of publishing itself as a game, then these tools are how you win. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to Insticator today to see how we can help improve your engagement, monetization, and more. We’ve got a team of experts ready to provide insights, support, and tools to hit targets you never thought possible.

Written by
Sean Kelly, Senior Content Writer

Sean Kelly is a Senior Content Specialist, St. Louis-based engagement expert with 20 years of experience in content writing, and 8 years in adtech.

komalchand gaidhane

Written by

komalchand gaidhane