Anyone who witnessed the Pokemon Go revolution knows that the answer to the question “Can mobile games influence consumer behavior?” is a resounding yes. Hundreds of millions of people around the world downloaded the augmented reality game and endlessly searched around their surrounding areas for Pokemon.
Players were walking around, collecting Pokemon so frequently that in one survey, 43% of players claimed to have lost weight due to the game.
So, instead of asking “Can mobile games influence consumer behavior?”, the better question to ask yourself is “To what extent can mobile games influence consumer behavior?” And in short, the answer is: to a great extent. The longer answer will require some context and explaining.
Throughout this article, we’ll look at the natural features of games that make them highly influential on consumer behavior. Then we’ll show how you can leverage that influence in your marketing strategy to boost your company’s sales.
Games captivate players
Before moving into the specific behaviors games influence players to take, it’s important to first understand why it is that games are so powerful. Games are compelling in many ways, but the strongest element of games is their ability to captivate the player.
The famous psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, said players enter a state of “optimal experience,” or “flow” when playing games. Players can enter this state of optimal experience, or flow when they’re doing activities such as sports, art, hobbies, or any activity where they’re simultaneously enjoying and challenging themselves.
Athletes and gamers refer to this feeling as “being in the zone.” They describe the experience as one of feeling fully-concentrated on the task at hand and temporarily forgetting about all other worries or thoughts that usually cloud their life. In his studies, Csikszentmihalyi found that people rank these events as the most enjoyable and valued in their daily life.
After players get their first taste of an optimal experience, they seek it again and again, because they become addicted to the thrill.
Games deliver flow and give players the chance to escape to another world, where they feel in total control. Games are satisfying and addicting in nature, which are the main reasons why they’re so influential on consumers.
Games influence consumers to spend
A clear indicator of how influential mobile games are is the amount of revenue they bring in. Mobile gaming is currently a $70.3 B industry and is expected to continue to increase. Though some games make their money with an initial acquisition purchase, the majority of games make their money later in the process by influencing consumers.
Take Fortnite, for example. Fortnite is a mobile game that players can play for free, yet the game earned $510 M in revenue in 2018. The bulk of Fortnite’s money came from players buying custom, in-game accessories and additional playing modes.
Players get caught up in the thrill of playing and are willing to go to great lengths to continue or elevate that optimal experience. Fortnite realized this and influenced consumers to keep spending, by giving them the ability to personalize their experience.
Games inspire players to take action
Games move people and take them to new places. Literally. In the same Pokemon Go survey mentioned above, 40% of the players said they visited a historical landmark for the first time, as a result of playing the game.
How businesses leveraged Pokemon Go to increase sales
Businesses quickly took notice of the popularity of Pokemon Go and leveraged it to increase their sales. One pizza parlor, in particular, bought lures, which are used to attract the best Pokemon, then set the lures in their business throughout the day to see how they’d affect customer visits. They observed that just tying a game to their place of business significantly increased their number of store visits.
Customers collected Pokemon and enjoyed their pizza while the pizza parlor sat back and received an impressive rise in their ROI.
How you can use a game to increase store visits
The best part about the Pokemon Go story is that it’s not an anomaly. Well-made games have a similar influence on consumers, so not every business needs to use Pokemon Go. You don’t have to wait around for another game like Pokemon Go to come around or compete with different businesses to entice customers with the same game.
You can turn your brand into a game to create a unique, powerful experience for customers. When you turn your brand into a game, you engage consumers and increase customer loyalty and sales.
Games encourage loyalty
Games encourage loyalty, which then has a resounding positive effect on your brand image and sales.
Games make your brand more likable
Games significantly increase likability because they’re educational and fun. Likability, in turn, makes customers more willing to remain loyal to your brand and share your brand in a favorable way with others. You’ll increase your number of loyal shoppers because your customers will love you.
Games allow players to compete
Apart from the amazing individual experiences games provide, games are also amazing because they allow people to fulfill their desire to compete.
The best way to leverage people’s love for competition is to give players bragging rights. The ROI on bragging rights is incredible because it costs you almost nothing to give to players, yet players go to distant lengths to obtain them.
Offer badges and leaderboards to the top performers of your game, and then add a share feature for players to show off their achievements on social media.
Players will compete with each other and continue to play until they get to the top of that leaderboard or earn more badges than their friends… then they’ll continue playing to stay at the top and keep earning more accolades!
Meanwhile, the more sessions a player plays in your game, the deeper the connection they create with your brand, and the more they visit your stores. Check out how this game uses a leaderboard, based on credits, to incentivize customers to keep returning to the store!
You have an amazing opportunity to influence your customers to take action and spend more; you don’t want to let that opportunity pass by. Or worse, stand by as your competitors leverage the power of games and steal your customers’ loyalty. Turn your brand into a game to reach your customers and increase retention and sales.
Want to learn more about what games can do for your brand?