The Power of Survey Gamification with 3 Examples

Gamification is the buzzword today, it seems like we all have this in mind. But when do we use survey gamification? What does that mean? Does that even work?

Let’s find out.

That said, we don’t want you to fall into that trap of applying survey gamification for the sake of it. I want you to have an idea about how and why you could apply it to your feedback programs.

Done correctly, it can be an effective way to engage your customers. But also make accomplishing the task of giving the feedback more enjoyable. When done poorly, survey gamification can be distracting and gimmicky.

Smileys are not gamification. But smileys make your feedback form more attractive

Gamification works because we, humans need to have goals, we want to feel valued. We are competitive and have a need for dominance and fame – this is where survey gamification comes in.

Goal setting
More on goal setting here

Besides this, if you decide to give a reward (aka. a survey incentive), or offer something in return for the feedback of your customer, you are likely to increase your customer loyalty as well. 

In February 2015, Air Canada was named the top airline in customer loyalty as a result of frequently rewarding its frequent flyers; they even go as far as rewarding Canadians living in London with free round-trip tickets home for the holidays.

There is a whole range of benefits gamification can bring to the table.

  • Increases user retention. Using survey gamification makes the user experience more enjoyable, works as a powerful tool for engaging them
  • Increases user acquisition through word of mouth and social sharing
  • Increases brand loyalty and awareness. It keeps users interested in the brand by ensuring positive app-experience, improves app and brand acceptance in general
  • Feeds into the user’s sense of developmental growth and accomplishment
  • Makes gathering of accurate user-data easier, supplying businesses with high-quality insights

Great, but what does that even mean to apply survey gamification?

What is Survey Gamification?

It can be anything from playing with the wording of your questions to creating a whole set of contests, animations and giving bounties.

In a nutshell, gamification stands for the use of game strategies to boost engagements and hook the user.

For online form, it could be applied with:

  • Leader boards
  • Badges or levels based on the achievements
  • A progress bar to show how close respondents are to completion
  • Survey currency
  • Respondent challenges
  • Rewards — usually referred to as survey incentive

For more on gamification, refer to this article.

Apply Gamification To Your Feedback Programs With Incentives

First, you can use survey incentives. But you need to pay attention to the population and cohort you are targeting. You might be facing a type of population simply looking for “bounties”, avoid the incentives in this case.

Financial Incentives

This is the most effective way to increase the response rate, as previous researches have demonstrated, especially when we are talking about cold cash, not any kind of voucher or discount. We have written more on them in this article.

And as you might expect, the more money, the higher the response rate. That’s being said, there is a threshold at which increasing the value won’t change much.

There is no perfect amount or value for a survey incentive, but there are different things that can help you:

  1. The budget and resources allocated to the survey
  2. The method used to deliver the incentive
  3. The target of your survey
Survey Rewards

The financial incentive can also be a donation to a charity, which is likely to work well for the high-end population.

Content And Non-Financial Incentives

When you don’t want to offer a monetary incentive, you could also imagine offering educating content, an invitation to visit the office or to a special sales operation. And much more, as long as it’s valuable and actionable.

Pre-paid or Promised Incentive

A pre-paid incentive is one you give to everyone who receives the invite regardless of whether they respond or not.

Even though it may seem counter-intuitive, it can be a very cost-effective solution because a prepaid incentive has a much higher impact on response rate than a promised incentive.

On the other hand, the promised incentive is usually interpreted as a “payment for the service”.

Which means that if you’re targeting a high-end population, they might see it as a very low hourly pay, and won’t take it.

Lottery or Guaranteed Incentive

When it comes to giving away the reward, you could decide to deliver it to everybody. You could also use probability to draw a winner.

Researches have shown that both types work the same, and will result in a similar response rate.

Gamify Your Survey
Gamify Your Survey

One thing to point out though is the fact that the lottery incentive could be less costly, but more difficult to manage and talk about.

When To Use an Incentive?

There is one thing to keep in mind: your use case may not need any incentive.

If you’re running a research survey or churn survey for instance, in order to get to know your audience, and find out what prevented them from going further, the incentive might come handy and wouldn’t impact the result much.

Besides this, if you’re targeting a population of “non-responders” or very busy people, it would come handy.

Note that the incentive could also be plugged-in the follow-up email if you haven’t got any feedback with the first request.

However, if you’re running anything involving your customer satisfaction, offering incentives may harm the quality of the feedback you get or bump up your final score.

As a matter of fact, the customer is more likely to give positive feedback, thinking it would mean a bigger reward.

Survey Leaderboards and Badges

Another way of using survey gamification would be through the use of leader boards and contests.

At the end of the survey, the respondent would receive a badge, some points or anything that can then be piped through a ranking system or a leaderboard.

Feedback completion badge
Feedback completion badge at Feedier

You could rank people based of the fact that they answered or not, but you could also get deeper and use a ranking based on the feedback quality, the time spent to answer, the length of the feedback, etc.

You can then challenge people, use that as a way to get your survey viral and get people to feel a sense of achievement.

This gamification trick is also a great way to increase customer loyalty.

At the time of their next purchase, they can show the badge on their mobile device to receive their discount. They are then encouraged to take the survey again, in regard to their most recent interaction.

With each survey they take, they are eligible for a new badge that provides a higher discount.

Gamification Survey Questions

Another great way of tricking the user and adding a challenging layer to your feedback programs would be to change the wording of them.

For instance, instead of asking the respondent to present themselves, you would ask to present themselves in 10 words.

In 2012, the market research group Engage Research, conducted some researches on gamification. They found a higher interaction rate and higher quality of the answers from the respondent, simply by changing the way the questions were asked.

Another way would be to ask your respondent to fill in the blanks.

We have all seen that: a survey starting with 5 demographics questions.

Nothing worse.

Instead, replace those 5 questions with an attractive fill-in the blanks exercice.

Wrap Up

In a nutshell, using rules can transform a boring task into a game.

So, gamification is a way to boost up your engagement and response rate, along with helping for more qualitative data.

You have to keep in mind that there are some regulations for some countries, so check that out before offering any incentives for instance. It also depends on your budget and audience.

If you feel like you even have to go further than those gamification techniques, have a look at research games.

If your target audience, product, or brand is right, try a gamification technique and let us know how it goes!

And, if you are looking for a survey gamification tool, and you are convinced that you can get started with it now, get startet at feedier.com!

Baptiste Debever

Co-Founder and Head of Growth at Feedier. French Entrepreneur, customer feedback specialist, passionate about startups and innovations.

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