Every company is hosting a wide variety of virtual events nowadays. It’s an integral part of many go to market strategies in order to connect people and build relationships.

At the same time, this means that the virtual event environment will get saturated. You need to stay innovative in order to entertain your audience. We’ve all heard of virtual event fatigue and gamification is a stellar way to pump new rocket fuel in your virtual events. 

We all love a good competition, especially when there are some amazing prices involved.

Here are some virtual event gamification benefits:

  • It increases audience engagement;
  • It maximizes learning as your audience is paying more attention;
  • Gamification promotes networking, which in B2B is crucial;
  • Your sponsors will get more return on investment;
  • It will enlarge your brand exposure on social media;
  • Audience satisfaction will increase. 

When your event finishes, you want your audience to tell their colleagues how great and different your virtual event was. You need to impress them in order to stand out from the huge crowd.

So, in this article, we will focus on the ingredients of gamification, some best practices and we will conclude with some ideas that you implement for your next virtual event. 

What are the ingredients of gamification?

Cooking a delicious meal is easier when you have top-notch ingredients. Similarly, pulling off a great gamification strategy is easier when you have the right ingredients.

Rewards are the pots you cook with when it comes to virtual event gamification. It’s the main ingredient. Gamification works on the principle of reward and reinforcement. There needs to be competition to make it work. People love competition, especially when there are some great prizes involved!

Interaction is another crucial ingredient. Most people don’t like to compete against themselves. When people are interacting with each other, they are motivating each other and increasing the level of competition. This means that your audience will participate more actively.

Analytics ensure that you are measuring the points that your audience is collecting. Analytics are key when it comes to virtual event gamification. The worst thing you can do is give people the feeling that their contribution is not recognized. It’s important to make the analytics as transparable as possible.

Clear Instructions ensure that the audience knows exactly what to do and how to earn points to win their prizes. It’s up to you to ensure that there is no confusion at all! If people don’t know what to do, they won’t participate and your gamification plan will bite the dust. 

Buy-in is important to create the snowball effect. Let’s say you’re hosting a larger virtual event with some sponsors. You need to ensure that they are also embracing gamification. This means that there are more playful elements throughout the event which will improve the experience of your audience. It will also increase the benefits for your sponsors

Fun elements bring your gamification experience to life. If you ensure that the audience is having fun, you will increase the level of audience satisfaction. This means that you have to think outside of the box and think of creative elements that they haven’t seen before. This is how you stand out from the crowd.

Virtual Event Gamification Best Practices

We’ve been applying gamification strategies throughout the majority of our virtual events. Having hosted over 30 virtual events, there are definitely some best practices that we’ve learned.

  • Transparency is crucial. People need to know exactly where they are at and what they’ve achieved so far.
  • Create a leaderboard. This has a couple of benefits. It will increase the competition element as people will want to rise to the top. In addition, it helps with the transparency point mentioned above.
  • Always encourage your virtual event sponsors to think of gamification in their virtual booths as well. Even better, include your event sponsor in your gamification strategy.
  • Include social elements in your strategy to improve your brand recognition on social media.
  • Create a clear set of rules. This ensures that you audience knows what to do and understand the exact requirements to win those beloved prizes.
  • Decide on prizes that people actually want to win. Try to be creative and avoid those standard prizes such as gift cards.

Virtual Event Gamification Ideas

We covered some of the ingredients of virtual event gamification as well as some best practices. Now the fun part begins! Let’s have a look at some ideas that you can implement for your next events.

Unlock the VIP Experience

I attended a leadership course earlier this year and my teacher provided me with an acronym that will stay with me forever, namely MMFI.

It stands for Make Me Feel Important.

People want to feel important and valued. Therefore, people love a VIP experience.

Your most valuable contacts would get access to the VIP experience anyway, but your general virtual event audience could also get access to this.

A great gamification idea is to allow your audience to collect points and then as a reward unlock a VIP experience. They will absolutely love this and it’s a great driver for them to participate and be actively involved in the gamification activities.

You might think that this only works for larger virtual events, which in a lot of cases is true. However, this might also work for smaller events. You can actually start the gamification experience prior to the event. This way, your audience can unlock the VIP experience before the smaller virtual event.

In-Session Trivia

Who doesn’t love a good game of Trivia? One of the goals of gamification is that your audience will consume more knowledge. This is why in-session Trivia questions are extremely important.

Your audience will be paying extra attention to the session because they want to get the Trivia questions right.

Of course, this strategy requires close collaboration with the speakers and needs to be prepared and trained in advance. So, always do a dry-run so that your speaker is familiar with the Trivia strategy.

Virtual Event Bingo

The satisfaction of screaming Bingo is incredible. If you’re like me and spend a good portion of your career in B2B, you will know that there is a lot of corporate jargon.

Lately, with the increase of virtual events, this has even increased. Now you have corporate jargon but also virtual event jargon.

In every conference call, you are guaranteed to hear the following:

  • Sorry, I was on mute.
  • Can you hear me?
  • Let me share my screen.

It would be great to create a bingo card, and include some corporate jargon that is bound to be mentioned during your conference.

Of course, this will be hard to measure so it will have to be based on good faith. If you want to provide a bit of structure, you can limit it to the words that might be noted on slides.

Scavenger hunt

I love scavenger hunts, and this is perfectly executable in virtual events. Simply create a list of things that your audience needs to collect on your virtual event platform. Make sure to include things they need to find in the virtual exhibition hall to increase the value for your sponsors.

I always like to incorporate a few easter eggs for the advanced people! 

A trip around the virtual exhibitor hall

Your sponsors are crucial to the success of your virtual events. The right sponsors will provide value for your audience. On the other hand, it’s your responsibility to create value for your sponsors. After all, they’ve invested in your event.

That’s why for every virtual event that includes a virtual exhibitor hall, you need to include gamification strategies that ensure that your audience will visit every sponsor booth.

The above mentioned scavenger hunt is a great way to achieve this but there are many variations of this. Visiting the booth is not enough, people need to actually talk to the sponsors. Therefore, make sure to give people extra points when interacting with sponsors.

A Cultural Trip

Another virtual event gamification idea is to provide a cultural trip for your audience. With larger virtual events, the chances are high that you will have an international audience. It’s extremely valuable for your audience to network with people from other countries and cultures.

Every culture thinks about business in a different way. We can learn from each other and as an event organizer you should promote this.

A great way to achieve this is by giving people points when networking with people from another country. This is fairly easy to set up on the major virtual event platforms.

In any case, a proper gamification strategy will require some budgeting. If you are looking for a virtual event budget template, then have a look here. You can download it and use it for your next event.

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Written by
Ricky Wolff
Ricky's North Star is growth. He is the founder of Markletic, a blog about growth hacking and demand generation in marketing.