As virtual events come to the forefront, they will require more incentives and gamification to keep everyone engaged. The virtual space is new for all of us, so you’ll need to nudge your attendees to guide them through your agenda and ensure sponsors feel some love. Gamification is a great way to differentiate, continue to make events engaging, and keep people connecting with each other, which we all need right now.
As things are right now, only 10% of event apps use gamification to drive their desired action from attendees (and that’s just looking at live events). It’s an underappreciated addition that can make any virtual event more memorable, unique, and engaging.
Here are some of the benefits of, and tips for, creating a great event game.
What Is Event App Gamification?
Event app gamification is the process of adding game mechanics to an event by allowing attendees to complete challenges in the app, receive points for each completed challenge, and see where they are on a leaderboard. Different challenges can be worth different amounts and those who win or participate in the game can receive prizes.
It’s a fun and unique way to improve networking opportunities, sponsor engagement, session attendance, and ultimately the overall event experience.
Time to Get in the Game (the Benefits of Event Gamification)
Gamification is becoming more and more accessible, which means that at some point every event will have some type of event game. You can either choose to ignore this chance to upgrade the event experience or you could go all in now and really stand out.
Use it right, and event app gamification can bring a lot to your event, such as…
- Networking opportunities (that lead to real connections)
- Higher levels of engagement for your sponsors
- Increased attendance of sessions (with more interaction)
- Heightened brand awareness
- Higher post-event survey completion rates
7 Steps to Create a Top-tier Event App Gamification Experience
Step 1: Know Your Goals
Whether you have one main goal or a bunch of smaller goals, having an event game can help. It’s important to understand exactly what you want to get out of having an event game so that challenges don’t come across as trivial.
Challenges can help increase sponsor engagement and survey participation, and upgrade the overall event experience. Here are some ideas for what you could do based on your goals:
- Provide sponsors and exhibitors with codes to be given out during sessions that they’re included in. Or maybe they can share the code on social, the decision is in their court!
- Include easter eggs in the event app that will provide codes (goal: improve attendees’ usage of the event app)
- Reward codes based on number of connections made (goal: supporting virtual networking)
- Provide codes at the end of surveys (goal: increase survey participation)
Step 2: Pick the Right Event Technology
Depending on which event app software you choose, the event app gamification options will vary. Some have games where you can pick and choose from premade challenge options. Others provide more customization options for the challenges, such as making them apply to specific sponsors or staff members.
Make sure that the software you choose can help you reach the goals you’ve outlined.
Step 3: Define the Scope of the Event
Depending on the size of your event, how long it is, and who will be coming, you’ll want to tweak the event game…
- Will the event game run for the whole event or for a specified time within the event?
- How many challenges are needed to not run out?
- Is there enough online staff to support the game?
You don’t want gamifying the event to be overwhelming or underwhelming, so you need to understand the capacity of the team in charge of the game and what the event itself can handle. Hosting an event online means there may be limits to how many admins there or or how many attendees you can have. Keep that in mind.
Step 4: Write the Rules
Trying to play a game with no rules will only lead to frustration, cheating, and disappointment.
Instead, provide clear, well-thought-out instructions so that people will know exactly how to play right away. It’s also a good idea to put prizes or rewards in the rules as well so there’s no confusion about what’s being offered for winning or participating in the game.
Step 5: Choose Prizes
Prizes are a fun part of winning any game, and it’s the same for event games. Whether it’s just providing event-wide recognition (and maybe a mini trophy), or giving the winner something of monetary value, use prizes to incentivize everyone to play the game. (And if these are physical prizes, remember to offer to mail them to the winners!)
All of these have been prizes/rewards that we’ve seen given out for participating in or winning an event game:
- Build-it-yourself Lego Llamas
- A Gucci Bag
- Flights to Vegas
- Cash/$10 Amazon Gift Cards
- Event-Wide Recognition (during and after the event)
- A Gift Contributed By a Sponsor
Step 6: Promote the Game
Besides offering rewards for playing the game, making sure everyone knows about it is another huge part of increasing participation. You can do this by posting on social media before and during the event, sending out push notifications, including it on the event website, and even having speakers mention it in their online sessions.
Don’t let anyone sign off feeling like they missed out simply because they didn’t know the event game existed.
Step 7: Celebrate Who Wins
Once the event game ends and the winners walk away with their prizes, it may seem like that should be the end of it. Instead, think of a cool way to celebrate the winners even after the event is over.
Take for instance the Llama Loot Hall of Fame that Lessonly now has on their website. It celebrates the 31 people with the highest scores from the event game. It also includes the profile images from the app that each person had. Now they get to forever have a space that celebrates their event game win.
Virtual events don’t have to be boring! Event app gamification is one way to keep an IRL aspect of events in any virtual event.