Games, challenges, competitions and puzzles can add a new dimension to any kind of virtual event. Think it sounds like a gimick? Try it yourself and see how bringing in just a small competitive element can be a game-changer if you’re trying to drive interaction and engagement.
It could be anything from a simple quiz to let your attendees show they are paying attention, to full-on immersive gameplay events, hosted alongside your main content. Adding a prize to tempt your audience to take part isn’t a bad idea, either.
Many of us feel we have now got the hang of organizing online events to keep in touch with our audiences and customers in these changed times. As we move towards developing the skills and knowledge we need to graduate from mere virtual events to all-singing, all-dancing virtual experiences, gamification is a key word to keep in mind.
What are the advantages of gamification for virtual events?
Gamification can provide the “hook” that keeps your audience connected and engaged with your event. While huge numbers of us are working from home, virtual event organizers are competing with a multitude of attention-magnets ranging from work zoom calls and time with the family to Netflix and Fortnite. Giving your audience something fun and competitive to get their teeth into – particularly in a live (if virtual) environment alongside friends or colleagues, will help them feel that their time with you is well spent.
Another factor is that online business events are generally available for consumption “on demand”, meaning that attending during the time the event is live might often be seen as optional. Adding a gamification element that runs while the show is live can be used to help build a sense of occasion. The “fear-of-missing-out” factor is a powerful tool for all marketers, and virtual event hosting is no different!
What are some good ideas for gamification of virtual events?
Starting with the simplest ideas, quizzes are great. Online tools like Kahoot are available that let you quickly create and customise quizzes for your audience. For a simple webinar you can use them just to let your audience show they are taking in and understanding what you are saying (few people can resist an opportunity to brag a little). They could also be organised entirely as recreational sideshows – in this case a prize can help sweeten the temptation for passing attendees to join in.
If you want to think a bit more ambitiously, technology such as Gamiotics lets you create an entire gameshow experience. Either invite attendees individually for a “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” type of experience in front of their friends, or have them compete in teams or individually. A professional host with experience in generating audience engagement will make all the difference if you choose this tactic.
For bigger platform-hosted events such as virtual conferences and expos, you can create a scavenger hunt to encourage your visitors to check out everything that’s available. This could involve spotting hidden objects throughout your event, with a leaderboard to track scores and identify your most engaged participants.
Interactive mystery games are also becoming popular additions to virtual events. Think of murder-mystery parties, or the escape-room puzzles that are popular in the offline world. These both adapt well to virtual event scenarios, and are great for encouraging teams to work together on cracking secret codes or solving mindbending dilemmas.
Another collaborative option involves teams working together to train virtual racehorses. Players work out diet and exercise schedules before betting virtual money on the outcome of the race, and if they want to play dirty, even get the chance to sabotage the efforts of their rival teams.
It’s even possible to create videogame-style experiences for your attendees where they compete against each other in paintball shooters or race to collectively munch through as many dots as possible in Pacman.
How do I start thinking about gamification for my events?
The two most important things to do are to make sure you have a solid strategy in place, and make sure you understand your audience. With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Start with strategy – what are you trying to achieve? Do you want to draw more visitors to your event, drive up the engagement rate or encourage visitors to spend money in the retail area?
- Consider who you are appealing to – take into account the age and demographic spread of your core audience and consider options that are likely to hook them in.
- Narrow down the available options to those that fit your goals under points one and two, and work with an event manager and technical manager to integrate them into your virtual event.
- Analyse metrics and evaluate your success. Did you achieve what you set out to do and do you need to tweak anything next time to get closer to your goals?
- Above all remember that games are meant to be fun. Evaluate the options with your team and try them out among yourselves, to work out what’s likely to be a hit with your target audience. If you or your team are excited enough by a game or experience to want to give it a go, it’s a good sign your audience will be, too!
Looking to level-up your own virtual events and webinars? Get in touch with us to find out how we can help!