How Gamification Can Enable Digital Event Success

dannette veale cisco systems virtual edge summit 2012


At Virtual Edge Summit 2012, I attended an excellent Learning Lounge presentation by Dannette Veale (@dveale) titled “Driving Attendee Engagement with Gamification.” Dannette works in Digital Engagements and Technology Strategy at Cisco and is a client of our’s.

First of all, just what is gamification? Dannette defined it this way in her session: “Gamification is the use of game design techniques, including game mechanics and game dynamics, to drive participation, engagement and loyalty with an audience.”

Who’s Got Game? We All Do.

To understand game mechanics is to understand human desires. Showing a chart provided by Bunchball (a leading gamification platform), Dannette highlighted our basic desires for reward, status, achievement, self-expression, competition and altruism. These were listed horizontally on a matrix. Listed vertically were game mechanics that fulfill particular desires: points, levels, challenges, virtual goods, leader boards, gifting and charity.

Gamification Tactics in Digital Events

Dannette provided a captivating list of results you can create by applying gamification tactics to your digital events:

  1. Drive traffic to sponsor booths.
  2. Increase audience for sessions.
  3. Improve peer to peer networking.
  4. Motivate audience to consume pre, during and post-event content.
  5. Build audience loyalty.
  6. Incent audience to contribute to event social media conversation.
  7. Increase audience use of session engagements such as polling and Q&A.

Before you deploy these tactics, however, you need to consider the following:

  1. Understand what constitutes a “win” for your event.
  2. Unpack the player’s intrinsic motivation and progress to mastery.
  3. Design for the emotional human, not the rational human.
  4. Develop scalable, meaningful intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
  5. Most interactions are boring: make everything a little more fun.
Case Study: Cisco Global Sales Experience (GSX)

Cisco’s annual sales meeting, “Cisco GSX” is a hybrid event that combines face-to-face interactions with a digital experience [the digital experience is hosted on the INXPO Platform]. Working with an extended team, Dannette led, among other activities, the gamification strategy and implementation around Cisco GSX.

That extended team achieved some amazing results:

  1. Over 50,000 achievements unlocked.
  2. Over 60,000 congratulations sent to sales recognition program winners in virtual environment.
  3. Over 8,000 polls submitted.
  4. Over 2,000 questions asked.
  5. Higher than expected “use rates” for session content.

While gamification can create higher levels of engagement and interaction for your digital event, it’s not a simple “switch” that you turn on or off. Gamification requires a corresponding strategy that all starts with what motivates and interests your audience.

INXPO has added a number of game mechanics into our VX Platform and we expect that more gamification features will be added over time. How do we know that? Because you’ve been asking us for them.


Post contributed by Dennis Shiao