Gamification on media sites: how it is implemented, what tasks it solves. Our experience

    The editors of online media are always faced with a problem: how to attract readers when the competition in the news field is hysterical, and no one has canceled the television yet. Therefore, other non-textual ways of interacting with the audience are used here. One of the main ones is gamification. Unofficial achievements of Habrahabr as a picture to attract attention . Elements appear on the site that suggest that the user will not only read and comment on texts, but also otherwise show his activity. The most obvious is simply to press the buttons, vote, highlighting the important and the unimportant, to believe or not to believe, to approve or disapprove the words of the speakers.

    Indeed, not every media reader is ready to write comments - to be honest, they are written by a fairly narrow group of users who are eager to convey their opinions to everyone and everyone. Most visitors to media sites come in, read and leave, deeply experiencing something in themselves. And because they are lazy, and because they don’t have “super important” thoughts, and because they don’t want to enter into discussions, cursing with opponents. The reasons are many, but the general conclusion is still the same. Forms of comments on the site, of course, should be, but it is better to supplement the site with other opportunities to be active, more impersonal.

    Let's look at the most striking examples of gamification on media sites.

    1 case. RIA News

    Of the largest media outlets, RIA Novosti alone was actively trying to introduce gamification , even before the Russia Today MIA became.

    After the last global update of the RIA website, there appeared the possibility of registering with the RIA Club. Having become a member, the user gained access to the elements of gamification, although the mechanism, as it becomes clear when analyzing the site, was not brought to an end.
    What, however, was done, and most importantly - why?

    Firstly, after registration, any member of the RIA Club could receive medals. Logging in and browsing the news, he quickly became the owner of the first of them, entry-level, for viewing the first ten articles of a certain category. In the future, medals became more and more “weighty” - as a result, for the latter, it was necessary to look through a thousand materials.

    The most interesting thing is that the medals did not give these users anything. Maximum - they could boast in social networks, but nothing more. Neither access to additional content, nor any status of a “super-reader” for comments - in fact, these were forms of “achievements” in a computer game, meaningless, but encouraging collector's excitement peculiar to any person.

    The “medals” agency’s site was given the opportunity, first of all, to improve the quality of the audience: a person (in theory) had to come back, dreaming of receiving not silver, but silver achievement, reaping on all new texts - along the way, of course, increasing depth viewing, and its time.

    It should be clarified that the hereditary disease of most of the agency’s projects (and its flagship site), as can be seen from open statistics, was a very low proportion of the core audience. The main traffic fell on the search engines, and the readers were in no hurry, getting out of bed in the morning, to go to, preferring something more ideologically or personally sharpened by its impartial presentation of the material.

    Thus, the idea with medals was correct, but incomplete. The RIA Club generally made (and even more so now makes) the impression of some kind of imperfection. The offer of membership in it was lost against the background of other elements of the page, and why this membership, except for achievements, was not very clear.

    There was no real communication between users among themselves, since, as we said above, the audience of “button-clickers” and “dog-commenting” are not too similar to each other.

    Also, the ability to like or dislike any material was bolted to the RIA website. But - again, a flaw - it was in no way connected with the Club. Any user could and could like to click “like-dislike”, without the need for any registration. In addition, it always remained unclear what exactly the final statistics “25 thumbs up and 37 thumbs down” mean in relation to the news “40-degree frosts will come to Yakutia” (or any other material that the agency may have the most heterogeneous).

    Thus, the efforts of the RIA in the field of gamification can only be considered successful partially. These were, rather, the first steps, the task of which was to increase the core of the audience.

    2 case. Echo of Moscow

    Now let's look at another, in a sense opposite, RIA Novosti example of a news site - Echo of Moscow . Just in this case, the audience’s core share is very high, in particular due to the fact that readers come to the site either for a personal position (the main page of the portal is made up of texts of media persons) or for transcripts of broadcasts, which are also submitted in the format of blogs. Actually the news has never been a strong site of the Echo site.

    Therefore, the audience of the portal of the radio station is very different from the audience of the portal of the agency. The opportunity to engage in polemics with blog authors is even emphasized in self-promotion on the Echo site, and long discussion threads span several pages. That is why the elements of gamification, although present on the site, are made quite invisible. Yes, the entries here can also be liked (but already without the ability to express their negative attitude), although the buttons are several times smaller than those of RIA.

    Buttons on RIA News before the material

    Buttons on RIA News after the material

    Buttons on the "Echo" before the material

    Buttons on the "Echo" after the material

    The logic is obvious: the more motivated the audience, the less it needs to be trained - they will come and take everything.

    Similarly with the echo version of the "user club". They don’t give out any achievements here - only advanced features in the comments: again, the kernel exists and without that, it does not need to be lured with additional artificial bonuses, which, frankly, do not seem too effective.

    Thus, the main emphasis is placed on the ability of users to communicate with each other. Each of them has a “About Me” page, and the site itself contains elements of a protosocial network: for example, you can be “recommended” by other users, in essence, earn yourself social authority.

    Note that a similar idea is also present on the RIA website, but it is much less developed. Although users have pages there, there is no longer any active interaction between them. If in Echo in the comments the readers themselves take on some of the functions of moderators, then RIA has a separate staff for this. Thus, the social interaction on “Echo” is much better developed, which is explained by the same core formed by “personality-oriented” content.

    3 case. M24

    As another example of interaction with audiences, we’ll take a site as small as the two previous ones - the Moscow city portal M24 . It would seem that a number of gamification elements are also implemented here, but they do not work, however.

    In the header on the main page there is a specially highlighted link " People ", clicking on which you can get into a rather strange section. They simultaneously offer and add news to the " community" Readers News", And admire the" top users ", and register - but all these functions, upon closer examination, are dead. "Community" is a moderated tape in no way where complaints about problems with garbage cans alternate with the latest news from crazy prophets and PR of some deputies. "Top Users" does not change over the years and is a list of editorial staff. The only thing that registration gives is the opportunity to comment on the news. But these comments are so rare and so obviously not in demand that there is no one willing to write them plainly. However, the site does not call for this: the “Comment” button is made quite small and unobvious, there is no possibility to like one or another text (more precisely, this possibility exists, but only in the “community” and only text sent by the user).

    Suppose a user visits a site and wants to comment on something. He needs to register or make a prologin through the social network. OK, he does it. Click “Comment” again. A pop-up window with some kind of User Agreement is shown to him:

    Okay, the person ticks and clicks “Continue”. It gets to the redirect page, where he is asked to switch to the new version of their site:

    Then there is the opportunity to go to the main page of the new site. But not on the page of the material that the person originally wanted to comment on. Next, the person must again find the material that interests him, click “Comment” and, finally, do his job. In a word, everything is very complicated. Hence the "abundance" of comments on articles.

    Even by registering on the site, the user does not receive any significant bonuses - except perhaps the ability to comment on the text, and he is unlikely to need it, since he will not see the reaction to his comments.

    There is only one conclusion: here gamification is present for show, because "it is fashionable", but it cannot work in its current form.

    Basic gamification techniques

    Thus, based on the three considered examples, we will name the main elements of gamification.

    First of all, achiv medals. They allow you to play on the excitement of the user to get the next "rank" so that both he and other readers will see him. Moreover, medals should ideally be issued for essential things (like adding your own news), but this already requires a “human” user rating and cannot be left to the pure algorithm of “10 beds, get a medal with a watering can”.

    Statuses are also adjacent to achievements. They should give users some real advantages over non-readers. Say - let them moderate the comments of other readers. Or - add news, engage in discussions with “official” speakers on the site. There are many possibilities, but the main thing is that the user sees feedback, feedback.

    Secondly, the ability to evaluate materials. “Thumb up - thumbs down”, all the same likes, prioritization, which could affect the ranking of materials on the site. We repeat once again that such “buttons” are often more important than the form of comments, since not every user is ready to write the text (and from the point of view of moderation and Roskomnadzor, such “quiet” activity is much more convenient for any editorial office).

    Thirdly, a kind of social network with a user’s page where he can talk about himself, mark his favorite materials, show them to other readers, etc.

    We add that each of these three points should be supported by constant feedback from the site, the most obvious way of which is mailing. Reminder about the topic (if the user liked the news from the plot), an offer to visit the site where he was registered, information about the response to the comment - and so on, it all depends on the content of the portal.

    4 case. Promises.Ru

    " Obeschaniya.Ru " - not a great site. The editors search the web for promises of politicians, officials, forecasts of economists, etc., and then look whether they are fulfilled, come true - or not. If you do not take into account news that is secondary content, then about 20 articles (promises, forecasts and expert opinions) appear on the portal a day. Yes, they can be devoted to the main topics of the day, but they are not able to fully and efficiently describe the news picture. Here gamification is helping out.

    First of all, grades. There are three of them on the site. The first - "silent" - is given to any reader from the very beginning, and even given intrusively: a banner on a page that actively offers this very "silent" to stop being, that is, register.

    Registration gives a second "rank" - the "Voice of the People" - and real advantages: now the user will be able to add promises of politicians and officials (that is, send them to the editorial board so that she already prepares them as full-fledged articles), summarize the results of the promises (again - provide the editorial office information that such a speaker did or did not do what he was talking about). Finally, the reader can simply leave comments.

    In addition, he will receive a personal account on the site, but more on that later.

    The third rank is the “People’s Expert”, its assignment is entirely left to the editorial office. This is necessary to cut off all kinds of crazy prophets and other not-so-adequate users, while, on the contrary, highlighting readers who leave truly valuable comments and help the editors in finding promises.

    The texts of the “people's expert” can be published on an equal footing with the opinions of experts commenting on the promises of the speakers. Thus, it is planned to gradually form not only a database of active users, but also to turn the site into a discussion platform with feedback. The scheme works especially well on the example of regions, since there power is traditionally "closer to the people."
    Achievements are also planned - for added promises, for their summed up results - while they should be visible in the user’s profile, giving it a certain “weight” on the site, noticeable to other readers.

    The next element of gamification is “buttons”. You can vote on “Promises” for any material - evaluate the news as important or unimportant, agree or disagree that the speaker’s promise will be fulfilled (“I believe - I don’t believe”), “support” or “do not support” the expert commenting on the promises and forecasts.

    Moreover, any such vote has a “second step”: as soon as the user clicks on the button, he is shown statistics and a rating of the confidence of other users in this text.

    From the ratings of trust in each text of a particular person, as a result, a general rating of trust in her words is formed, which users can no longer directly influence.

    In addition, by clicking on the button next to any material, readers subscribe to its update. Now they will receive letters by mail about summing up the promise - or that the deadline for its fulfillment will come soon. Thus, registered users are invited to independently control the speakers who are interested in them. This is achieved precisely due to the elements of gamification.
    Finally, registered users encouraged to return to the site by letters are provided with a personal account. Again, in the course of its development, it is planned to make all user activities visible to each other, to provide them with the opportunity to correspond not only in the comments, to see which reader is an expert on what topic (based on the specifics of the promises added and summed up) and so on. All this will contribute to the formation of an expert community on the site and - again - increase the permanent audience.

    Results of the introduction of gamification on Promises

    The buttons on the site are clicked daily from 50 to 600 times.

    In two months, the number of registered has increased from 2,000 to 15,000. The number of added promises by users has increased from 30 to 200 per month. The viewing depth increased from 1.5 to 3.

    So, as you can see, gamification is an effective mechanism for attracting users, which, after implementation, without requiring the efforts of the editorial staff, “automatically” increases both the quality and the number of audience.

    Some useful articles on the topic: one / two / three.

    And what “gamified” sites do you know? Leave examples in the comments on how it works on other resources, and most importantly, what bonuses it brings to them.

    Thanks for attention!

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