Auto gamification from Upstream

Engines adds gaming techniques to mobile marketing

The buzzword ‘gamification’ has only sprung up recently. It refers to the practice of grafting gaming techniques onto mobile marketing campaigns. In truth, this practice is nothing new – as Guy Krief, vp for innovation with Upstream, admitted to Tonethefone. What is new is that his company has managed to automate the process by creating an intelligent gamification ‘engine’ which works in real time. The result is that a mobile campaign can respond dynamically to fit potential rewards to a user’s profile. Naturally, Upstream claims dramatic improvements in responses from participants for its clients – who are mostly mobile network operators.The results derived from applying gaming techniques to a mobile marketing campaign are pretty straightforward.

For example, a subscriber is awarded points for participating in a campaign. These points can be utilised to move the participant towards a new level – just like in a game.

Or alternatively the points could be redeemed as a reward. The reward can vary from a simple bonus of extra voice minutes, texts or Internet time. Alternatively they can take the form of physical prizes.

GoMo News is very familiar with such techniques thanks to the highly controversial Bright Top-Ups campaign run by France Telecom/Orange in the UK.(See GoMo News passim).

The big difference is that using Upstream’s gamification engine in association with the company’s Marketing Communications Suite (MCS) is that rewards and/or incentives can be adjusted on the fly.

Krief gave as an example a subscriber who participates in the campaign by answering questions.

If he or she answers a question about sport – specifically football, for example – then the operator can offer free access to a Live soccer channel for a month.

What gives this product its power, according to Krief, is the range of different mechanisms which the gaming engine can deploy.

For example, it can learn that subscribers respond better to when the time period given to provide a response to the campaign is shortened. That’s because it heightens participants’ competitiveness.

To replicate these techniques manually would be immensely time-consuming according to Krief. To such an extent that the exercise would probably prove impractical.

“Any mobile marketing interaction must provoke engagement and drive emotional value for the mobile consumer,”commented Egisto Benelli, consumer market VAS director with Telecom Italia.

“Upstream’s sophisticated, personalized gamification delivers just that capability in real-time.”

In terms of benefits, Krief told GoMo News that in Telecom Italia Mobile’s (TIM) case, using the gamification engine increased the engagement (but not necessarily conversion) rate by 50 to 100 per cent.

Another major benefit for TIM was that using the technology resulted in 30 per cent better customer ‘profiling’.

He hinted, however, that this figure could easily improve the more often TIM used the engine.

Although at present customers concentrate on using the technology via text based messaging, it could be applied to online usage, Krief claimed.

He also pointed out that it worked with USSD (operator generated automatic messaging) as well as standard SMS/text.

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About Tony Dennis

Freelance writer & consultant
This entry was posted in gaming, mobile marketing, network operators and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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