Event gamification is a simple yet innovative way to boost attendee engagement and keep your participants talking long after the event has passed.
What is Event Gamification?
Gamification is the ability to add games, competition, rewards, and other elements of game-playing, like point-scoring, to encourage engagement with a service or product.
In the events world, event gamification means that your attendees will interact with the brand, presenters, sponsors, other attendees, and exhibitor booths in new and exciting ways.
Whether they receive points for interacting with a sponsor or get a digital award for providing feedback, event gamification can boost attendee engagement for brand awareness campaigns, product launches, career fairs, conferences, trade shows, and social events.
Examples of How to Gamify Your Next Event
There are simple ways to gamify any event. Whether you are running an online event, hybrid event, or in-person, consider these event gamification ideas easy wins:
Interact To Win Points
One of the easiest ways to gamify any event is a point system. The event professional hosting the event would have to define the event branding, game rules, game mechanics, how the point system works, and the game’s goal. Attendees would get points for pre-defined behaviors.
- Attendees could win points for interaction with other attendees through exhibitor booth check-ins or provide answers in session Q&As. Be clear about what your attendees might win if they cross a certain point threshold.
- You could also include feedback as part of the points system. Or, reward your attendees with a discount if they provide feedback even after the event has ended.
Prizes and Social Rewards
Another way to gamify your event is with prizes. If you can give away prizes, like gift cards to your sponsors’ storefront, free one-on-one coaching sessions, or unique branded elements like coffee mugs and T-shirts, then you can amp up the excitement by giving away some of those elements based on interaction.
Personalization With Badges, Pins, and Trophies
If your attendee signs up for a session on time, then they could be rewarded with a badge, pin, or trophy (depending on if your event is online or in-person).
- Badges are great at fundraising events and career fairs, as badges generate environments of networking and collaboration!
- The badges could be one-off badges that will never be printed again! This could increase the exclusivity and FOMO of the gamified element.
Many attendees will attend an event as part of a team. This might be a corporate team or a social group at an academic association.
- Team games are also perfect for webinars or training sessions as they will improve your attendee’s ability to learn.
- In any case, ask that your attendees pair up as teams to increase the excitement and talk.
- Create a team-based game where the points of each member add up to team points. The winning team could win a big prize, like a trip to a unique location, a pre-paid dinner, or special perks like a unique cultural event.
If you have exhibitors or running an online trade show, be sure to include your exhibitors in the game-playing. Visits to their booth could be part of a point system or treasure hunt! Encourage exhibitors to come up with their games as well!
Social Media Shares
No matter which form of gamification you use, you should always ask your attendees to share things about your event on their social media page.
- Social media shares can contribute to points, the earning of badges, or perks (like discounts down the road).
- You could also consider entering your attendees into a drawing for a certain number of high-quality social media shares (or perhaps just one high-quality share!). This gamification element works for remote attendees and in-person event attendees.
Gamifying Online Events
Many of the game examples above can also be played online. However, you might also need to get creative when it comes to virtual event gamification.
- If you are running an online event, you will need to alter things for the digital format. Hire a graphic designer to make your event custom badges. Each badge would signify a level that the attendee has achieved.
- You might also need to have one of your event managers monitoring the online forums in each session to monitor and facilitate the gamification. If you have an automated system included in your event technology, this might make things easier.
- With event management software like Accelevents, gamification through badges, attendance tracking, and session tracking becomes easier! We highly recommend digital scavenger hunts and photo contests to up the ante in the online format!
Gamification Techniques for In-Person Events
In-person events are very familiar with gamification techniques. However, you might want to mix it up to keep your attendees guessing.
- We highly recommend having a designated person in charge of the game. That way, anyone could go to that person to learn the rules and ensure that the game is running smoothly.
- Fun things to include in your in-person event are public shout-outs! The gamification manager could call out those special attendees who are interacting the most in a leader board. Announce each leader every day or at key sessions like the keynote to get the excitement flowing!
Here’s How to Gamify a Hybrid Event
Hybrid events are on the rise, and many of them now have the choice to attend in-person or online, and it also increases accessibility and your public audience. You can do many of the same things to gamify a hybrid event.
- Consider photo contests from both in-person and online attendees. Classic icebreakers still work in the hybrid format as well, and you have your choice of splitting up the attendees or having them interact together!
- Oh, and do the scavenger hunt! Those are fun, and you will be able to mix and match the treasure hunt to include physical and online items!
Tips for Gamifying Your Event
Remember, the major reason you want to bring in gamification is to amp up the excitement, engagement, and ultimately brand awareness. Therefore, you don’t necessarily need to give away a lot. Really, you want to tap into our human need for having fun and connecting with people!
- Your gamification elements will only be successful if they line up with the event goal. For example, it’s a good idea to host a scavenger hunt (with a remote audience or in-person one) if you are hosting a trade show or an event with multiple exhibitors. That way, it encourages a lot of your audience to go to each of the virtual or in-person exhibit booths to talk to exhibitors!
- If you’re new to event gamification, remember to keep it simple. You could have a long game that spans the entire event. But if the rules are too confusing, then your attendees might lose interest.
- Don’t be afraid to host a simple game. If you have interesting prizes, then the game practically will run itself! Also, be sure to have a space in your event app where the rules can be accessed. You can even host an event session where the leaderboard remains up.
- Be mindful of how the game is set up. You want to make sure that everyone has a chance to win. If you are running a hybrid event, for example, you can’t have the online attendees try to find something only available to in-person attendees. They can search for physical items in their own home or workspace, though!
- As a bonus, consider giving away a participation prize! Because even if you don’t win, it’s always fun to get a goodie bag!
Amplify Your Event With Gamification
Even when you’re new to the event scene, gamification is a great idea. If you work with an event planner or event organizer, it’s easy to implement a gamification strategy as part of your pitch deck for improved virtual event engagement especially with a virtual event software that facilitates gamification!