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Home arrow Tuesdays with Tukaiz arrow Tuesdays with Tukaiz Blog arrow Digging Deeper Into Gamification
Digging Deeper Into Gamification
Monday, September 17 2012

Here on Tuesdays with Tukaiz, we've highlighted one of the major challenges that marketers and advertisers face when trying to get their audiences engaged and activated is that audience's general distaste or annoyance with ads. Some of that annoyance comes from irrelevance, yet some of it comes from the fact that even many of today's ads and marketing campaigns just aren't that compelling. Still-emergent channels like mobile and social provide platforms for delivering interactive, persuasive experiences but marketers and advertisers continue to wade through how to effectively reach audiences in these channels.

One technique that marketers and advertisers continue to experiment with is employing gamification. We covered gamification earlier this year on Tuesdays with Tukaiz, and it continues to garner attention as more companies turn to it to generate engagement that drives results. As a reminder, gamification is applying game design or game mechanics in non-game contexts. In the context of marketing and advertising, gamification is increasingly being used to incentivize engagement with a campaign or program. By using points, coupons, rewards, badges, and other incentives, marketers now have the power to alter behavior through positive reinforcement-engagement that can help drive results.

Advertising technology solutions are focusing on employing different gamification schemes through social gaming that can help companies more effectively engage with their target audiences. Firms like Badgeville, Bunchball, PunchTab, and SessionM provide brands platforms for prompting users to stream ads incentivized with rewards for viewing, engaging, and sharing. These firms attract publishers-typically mobile app developers-to embed their technology with the selling point that gamification will lead to more interactions, which in turns leads to more revenue for the publishers. The technology is typically embedded in the following ways:


  • Non-game content: Publishers can tie incentives to general user activity within an app, particularly when interacting with content. For instance, the MTV News app, through its partnership with SessionM, incentivizes users via a points system for watching general video clips in the app and further incentivizes users for watching ads. Tweeting a news feature, viewing photos, and even just opening the app can also garner points; these points can be exchanged for gift cards and other rewards, adding further value from the perspective of the user.
  • Game-based content: While gamification can clearly be used with non-game content and applications, there is an intrinsic relationship between video games and the concept of gamification. In most implementations, incentives can be earned by playing and completing levels of a mobile game, and additional incentives are offered for when users engage with an ad.


One of the biggest hurdles that companies face when trying to generate engagement through their advertising efforts is to quickly communicate value and give audiences that are already inundated with ads a reason to click and interact. Gamification, through its use of incentives, helps clarify and heighten that value to create a spark of interest other advertisers struggle with. While there are inherent risks with this technique-including the potential for fraud from people who are purely trying to earn rewards-early results show that gamification campaigns, when done well, can truly spur engagement, increase retention, and drive results for marketers and advertisers. 


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