Gamification and Roi: what’s up?

Welcome gamers and players, today I write something important to anyone who need to match business requirement and gaming. This post is about Roi, aka Return of Investment.

The Roi is a concept well-known to whom which work in business investment field: it measure the amount of money you get, in relation with the money you spend. For example, 1.000 $ spent in a marketing campaign wich brought you 2.000 $ get a (massive) Roi of 2. In another case, 1.000 $ spent on a new kiosk to sell your product with an income for 500 $ get a Roi of 0.5 (here we intend “spent” in totally: opening and managing cost included). So, when you have to propose a gamification project you should expect that someone (yourself, or someone else) will have to calculate the Roi. Unfortunately, calculating the Roi in some cloudy field as gamification is not possible by a method of measurement. Why?

  1. Roi is a way to make measurable and objective something that, in gamification, is really subjectiveThink about the kiosk example: you get a negative Roi (Roi is negative below when below 1, the 1:1 relationship is the balancing point), unless you wish to count the asset you’ve got. How to calculate the factors involved in gamification (that have not a market price)?
  2. Calculating the Roi is not a math technique. What’s the Roi of a marketing campaign? The number of buyers you reach thanks to campaign itself. But we are not doing something by experiment: we never could know exactly your income without the campaign itself ¹. Maybe, there are also some hidden process you can forget.
  3. Roi is a measure, and so it consider only what’ measurable. Some analyst tries to find a measurement system based on social network. What is the Roi of a “friend” on your Facebook’s page? What’s the Roi of a follower on Twitter? It depends. On your business-model, on your engagement strategy, on the data analysis. You could considered a wide-spread of different key point.

Those statements simplify the basic idea: it is really hard to figure out how standardize the Roi of gamification. And, often, those who have skills on business plan, have not skill about games.
It is also difficult to create a business model that use some aspects of gamification, as it has been in social network. Finally, very few game-designer and game theorist have a deep knowledge of business process.
Check out how gamification now works: engagement, brand awareness and, at maximum, direct business.

As an addicted player of everything as I am, I see this situation as a doom. Gaming is one of the most powerful tool we’ve got to create, reinforce or change our way of living (or part of it).

My idea is that, by a more sophisticated way to value impact of gaming on people’s behaviour, we can provide an array of tools useful to calculate the Roi of gamification in a better way.

While you are waiting, take a look also to this blog for more information and data about the Roi of gamification. In the next post, we’ll see a number of factor that you need to consider when you’re calculating the Roi of a gamification project.

See you in the next post – FD

¹ = This is a common problem amongst many sciences we consider “hard” (as experimental sciences) but that are not so hard. Think about economy. Could you observe a control group “without” economy at all to test exactly the impact your foresight? You couldn’t: you can only hope the the impact of your actions (or lack of actions) is indirectly measurable. Through processes in which your own way to choose terms and procedures get an important impact on the final outcome.

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4 thoughts on “Gamification and Roi: what’s up?

  1. Pingback: Roi of Gamification #1: Playtesting « Play for Business!

  2. Pingback: Brainstorming the wall | Play for Business!

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