In the world of online events, engaging attendees is everything. Organizers need to unlock every possible way to capture and hold the attention of attendees. What is one proven, powerful method of driving engagement? Virtual event gamification.
What is Event Gamification?
Why are video games a bigger industry than movies and sports combined? Because human beings love games. They are drawn to them and delighted by them. When they enjoy them, they find it hard to stop playing them.
Gamification plays on these basic truths of human cognition. A powerful engagement tool that is used widely across a variety of fields, gamification leverages game elements, mechanics, and the thrill of gaming. Across verticals and contexts, it has proven extremely effective in driving engagement, improving knowledge retention, and spurring business revenue.
- According to a large body of research on the subject, game-based motivation increases user-engagement by 48%, and 72% of employees have claimed gamification inspires them to work harder.
- Organizations that deploy event gamification tactics have increased customer interactions by up to 40%. Among employees who undertook gamified training, 60% reported a significant increase in their productivity.
The Rise of Virtual Event Gamification
Event gamification refers to the practice of gamifying physical event experiences. Remember, pre-pandemic, when you used to go to an event, and vendors would have raffles, or mini bowling alleys, or quizzes? Perhaps ping-pong competitions to win a free user license? All of that was gamification.
Virtual event gamification is the practice of incorporating these same game-like principles and elements into various digital contexts. When an organizer gamifies portions of an event, they strategically implement game-like components within the landscape, with the goal of better engaging attendees.
The rise of XR (Extended Reality) has provided events organizers with technology that allows them to build virtual spaces that mimic real-world settings. Unlike with the stasis and blandess of a Zoom call, with dynamic events, people can interact with other users as if they are in each other’s presence.
Implementing Virtual Event Gamification
Gamification works. But as we all strive to adapt to a pandemic-stricken world, how can organizations use gamification to bolster activities in a virtual environment? Here are some innovative gamification ideas for virtual events that SpatialWeb users seen success with:
- Hunt for Virtual Tokens. Scavenger hunts have always been a popular virtual event gamification activity. Organizers can task participants to team up and search for tokens, such as certain items in the event area, or phrases mentioned by keynote speakers. The possibilities are limitless. Sponsors can also participate to make the virtual scavenger hunt interesting.
Another cool version of the virtual hunt? Participants can be immersed in a virtual
room, where they need to find clues to solve riddles, unlock levels, and race to claim prizes.
- Go Hybrid. Crates and keys can be powerful gamification elements in virtual events, and enable organizers to implement a hybrid model. Digital crates or loot boxes are given to attendees, who earned them as prizes or incentives in previous virtual activities.
But to open these crates, they will need a key, and these keys can exist in the physical world. For example, they can be secret words and phrases found in sponsor magazines, websites, and TV shows. This hybrid approach is a great way to keep participants engaged in the virtual world and still remain grounded in the real one.
- Offer Digital Incentives to Visit Sponsors’ Booths. The usual incentives given at physical events and expos – trinkets, tote bags, stenciled lattes, and so on – aren’t obviously replicable in a virtual space. But that doesn’t mean organizers can’t compel attendees to check out their sponsors’ booths. Virtual event gamification can still happen by virtual raffle entries. Sponsors can give free trials for their products and other offerings if attendants play a mini game and provide their email.
- Sponsors’ Bingo. One of the most popular gamification ideas for virtual events, the goal of sponsor bingo is have attendees fill up their cards with information provided by the sponsors at their booths. Information can be keywords, phrases, or tag lines, as well as products displayed at the booth. The number of spaces per card hinges on the size of the event and the number of sponsors.
- Concept 5: Treat attendees to an immersive and dynamic quiz. Quizzing attendees on the spot can be fun, especially when there are prizes involved. Organizers and sponsors can ask questions about the topics previously discussed and encourage participation by offering prizes (free demos, free trials) to those who give the correct answers.
- Multiplayer Activities. This is another powerful way to implement event gamification. Providing multiplayer experiences within your events effectively combines knowledge delivery for your participants, and valuable data for sponsors. Immerse your participants in a custom virtual environment where they can build their avatars and where teamwork and collective effort are required to score points and win. Product and sponsor knowledge can be supplied and reinforced prior, during, and after the game, in order to increase retention and drive engagement.
Unlock the Power of Hybrid Events with Vatoms
The best way to level up your virtual event gamification is through the use of digital objects called Vatoms. Vatoms exist simultaneously in a digital and real-world environment and are truly XR.
Vatoms bridge the gap between the virtual and the real world. For example: In the SpatialWeb, users can pick up a digital Starbucks card. They can then access it on any device. They can then take it to any Starbucks to redeem it for a real coffee… or they can send it to a friend as a gift.
The power of Vatoms is limitless. Any commercial or business entity could be used to move back and forth between the virtual and physical space to facilitate multiple types of interaction.
Successful Events Embrace Gamification
These are just some of the options on offer when you’re approaching virtual event gamification. Whatever you choose, it should be driven by your knowledge of the participants and what will appeal to them.
Erika Bachis, gamification consultant at Marabhale Picture, says gamification is
“75% psychology and 25% technology.” She asserts that gamification is a human construct, thus, “it means that the experiential and storytelling aspects of the event should always be more important than the technology or game mechanics involved.”
Remember: Your participants always come first! Happy gamifying.