The best apps and platforms we use typically have some fun quirky way to get us to continue logging in. The best apps make that quirky thing actually beneficial to us. Others are clearly just engagement farming. There is a right way to do it and a way that actually adds utility to both the operator and the end-user. We believe strongly in ensuring that all features introduced to a product yield utility.
We refer to these mechanisms as gamification. In this guide, we will explain why it’s important to sports brands, and how to implement real campaigns using Unyfy, our flagship platform and community builder. Bonus, we give you a mini checklist to tackling KPIs and tracking such campaigns.
Gamification is simply put, a way to offer your fans experiences or activations that have game-like elements to them. Think about your favorite apps like Candy Crush, Duolingo, etc. that entice you to keep playing, logging in, and engaging. The intent is to increase the time you spend using their products. Sports brands are starting to implement such mechanisms into their fan communities, premium apps, and more. This leads to a more engaged and interested fan.
Using things like points, badges, and leaderboards being added to non-game contexts, we can better increase engagement and motivation. In this guide, we are gonna cover a few of these mechanisms and how they can all be accomplished in Unyfy, our flagship platform and community builder.
A Snapshot of Unyfy’s Gamification Features
Unyfy is a white-label platform and community builder. Using it, you can easily launch a fan app, invite your fans, and engage with them. Unyfy comes with a host of features you can access like digital goods publishing, sponsorship activations, premium content, and events.
In the realm of gamification, there are a few dedicated features we wanted to cover.
How do we entice fans to continue engaging with our brand outside of gameday? Well, Unyfy’s got you covered with login streaks. It’s like offering daily treats that turn regular visitors into your biggest fans. The longer they stay, the better the rewards – a bit like unlocking levels in a game. This feature was inspired by countless of our favorite consumer apps which implemented such mechanisms for users to stay engaged.
In Unyfy, we also allow you to publish participatory content like Votings, AMAs, Ideation Missions, and more. These pieces of content prompt your users to engage and participate with you and your brand’s decisions. For example, many of our sports clients publish weekly “man of the match” votings after each game, allowing users to give their two cents on who they thought played particularly well.
Digital Collectibles and Bounties: Treasure Hunt for your Fans
Your digital community can be a place for fans to earn achievements or complete bounties. Using digital collectibles like stickers, tokens, and more, you can create tasks or objectives that fans can complete to obtain them. For example, login streaks (mentioned above) can be one version of a bounty. Another can be using content interaction. Users have a chance to earn rewards when they engage with your feed’s content like participating in a voting.
Another type of bounty can be a referral campaign. Essentially a way of turning your users into “recruiters,” you can reward them when they onboard their friends and family onto your platform. This can be automated.
Community Management Features
The best communities are those that are active. Simply put, active communities grow larger and require less oversight as fans fuel conversations and activity. What gamification adds to this is it gives community members a daily reason to show up. By providing them with experiences that entice them to engage, you turn your audience into a community naturally and organically.
Unyfy offers a host of community management features like Spaces, content boosting, comment boosting, and stickers to fuel engagement.
The key is to shift your audience into a living community as this can yield many benefits. Fuel engagement with votes, ask-me-anythings, and ideation missions. Introduce Spaces for direct fan interactions, allowing fans a way to coordinate, gather, and share ideas in segmented ways. You can also use these spaces as a way to gather insights directly from fans and give them a say in future decisions.
Crafting Engaging Campaigns, learn from Unyfy’s Best:
SammelDeinTeam (Axel Springer’s Digital Collectibles Platform)
Maximize stickiness, retention, and lifetime value with a gamified loyalty scheme. Axel Springer achieved this by allowing fans to collect digital stickers of the German Men’s National Football Team players.
Different stickers were released based on different events and fans were tasked with collecting them to win prizes. For example, some sticker packs included real game tickets.
Borussia Dortmund (BlackYellow App Promotion)
A large part of sports is live events. So how do we blend live events with your digital community?One way is to use Unyfy’s QR code-enabled digital collectible drops. Users scanning the QR code found at live events receive exclusive stickers, driving registrations and provide a fantastic way to onboard and capture users that show up to big or small events.
Borussia Dortmund put it to the test at a few events like their New York Times Square Football Tournament and the Summer 2022 Asia Tour.
The result was a fantastic 20% conversion of event attendees to their fan app.
Login Streaks with DHB
The German Handball Federation or DHB decided to implement one of our newer (and exciting) features, Login Streaks to boost user activity.
The goal was to reward users who logged in consecutively to increase daily use. Similar to a lot of our favorite gaming apps, creating mechanisms to reward loyalty can be an effective strategy.
Defining Fan-Centric Actions
It might be a good idea to define some of the moments that deserve rewards. This provides us a baseline to start testing activity rewards. As you introduce rewards, tracking the metrics on those activities is paramount. This will allow you to have a clear snapshot of the effectiveness.
- Opening the app/Logging in
- Engaging with content
- Participating in votings or ideations
- Commenting or boosting other user content
- Inviting friends and other users
- Making purchases
- Attending live events
- Achieving milestones or bounties that you create
- Much more.
Defining loyalty rewards (the output)
So we defined “events” or activities that can be potential reward triggers. Now would be a good time to define “outputs” or simply put, rewards. With Unyfy, you have the opportunity of introducing a host of web3-oriented rewards in addition to the already available inventory like physical tickets, merchandise, discounts, etc. Let’s quickly list some:
- Tokens: reward users with your platform tokens, or points, or coins, or biscuits – whatever you choose to call them. They are the “currency” that fuels the platform.
- Achievements paired with stickers or badges for users to flaunt them
- Leaderboard visible to all users
- Digital collectibles like NFTs, stickers, and digital art – can be created easily and you can make them as unique as you desire
- Sponsorship activations for all of the above – “This sticker is presented by <Sponsor Name>”
Activating Sponsors in Native Ways
One of the uniquely beneficial things about digital products is the ability to activate your partners/sponsors at will. From the campaigns to the rewards themselves, you can create entire mechanisms that are sponsored and Unyfy makes this very easy.
Take this sponsored “Lion of the Game” voting that the Brunnswick Lions launched on their Unyfy platform.
This particular voting was sponsored by one of their main partners, Volkswagen Financial Services. Nothing too fancy – but effective.
Metrics Matter: Track how Gamification Helps
Any activation or campaign is as good as the methods you have of tracking them. To determine whether anything we do is actually working, we require a snapshot prior, during, and after. In Unyfy, we provide various dashboards that allow you to track different KPIs related to these gamified mechanisms.
Let’s list a few quick KPI best practices that can be blanketed across your activations.
- Establish an end to end attribution machine
- Are you able to track users as they engage with your brand’s touchpoints? This includes your website, social media, email, and your purchase centers
- Define what success means for your activation
- Success can come in stages. One success metric can be registered users. A deeper success metric can be engagement or time on page, and other activity centric metrics. An EVEN deeper metric might be average lifetime value of your users, sales, etc.
- Take a snapshot of the “now”.
- When you have your metrics determined, take a snapshot of those metrics with a large enough time range to be statistically significant for your audience. This will help you determine what success should and could be.
- Launch, track, analyze
- Now it’s time to launch your activation and ensure all those KPIs are being checked and tracked periodically. After enough time (statistically significant again), you should have data to show how it worked out.
- Optimize and do it again.
In conclusion, gamification offers an exciting and engaging way to transform sports fans’ experience. By using Unyfy’s platform, sports brands can incorporate game-like elements that increase fan engagement and loyalty. Whether it’s through login streaks, digital collectibles, or sponsored activations, the opportunities are endless. By defining fan-centric actions and rewards, brands can create a dynamic digital community that not only entertains fans but also provides valuable insights. It’s crucial, however, to track and analyze the effectiveness of these strategies through established KPIs to ensure their success.
As the digital world continues to evolve, so too must our strategies for fan engagement. Remember, the goal is not merely to have fans but to build an active community where each member feels valued and engaged.