Gamification is a rapidly growing strategy that is being used by a many sectors to increase customer and employee engagement. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that it is also a growing trend among companies that have affiliate programmes in place so I decided to write about this interesting affiliate marketing gamification case of study.
2Parale, a Romania based affiliate marketing company, had introduced gamification as part of their campaigns to try to increase sales. Adrian Vicentiu Salcu and Carmen Acatrinei from The Bucharest University of Economic Studies performed three case studies to analyze these campaigns and determine whether these gamification strategies have been useful or not.
2Parale’s first campaign was the Fashion Affiliate Challenge, which targeted fashion affiliate programs. In that challenge, the affiliates had to try to get enough leads to be on top of the leaderboard, a common game mechanic. The affiliates could earn rewards in a variety of ways, which provided incentives for the affiliates to give their best. In some cases, the amount of leads needed to earn certain rewards was fixed, so it created a sense of racing to the finish. Other types of rewards included continuous rewards (rewards from each activity), bonuses (commission fees), and variable rewards days. The variable rewards were unannounced, so it introduced an element of surprise which urged the affiliates to keep performing at their best. At the end of the campaign, the top three affiliates won cash rewards. The game mechanics used in this challenge were points, leaderboards, and quests. For more information on what these terms actually mean, check out our glossary.
The second campaign was the Summer Affiliate Challenge, and a number of tweaks were made in the system to improve affiliate engagement. First of all, it was a network wide challenge and was not limited to only the fashion affiliate programs. There were three different leaderboards with different rewards for each categories, so the affiliates had multiple ways to “win”. The leaderboards introduced icons or badges to show the status of the top affiliates, which is a game mechanic that thrives on the need of gamers to earn status rewards. However, these badges were given only to the top affiliates, so their engagement level may have diminished after a while. The Summer Affiliate Challenge further introduced mini-challenges which are like bonus quests, and the rewards were hotel accommodation and business lunch opportunity with the CEO of 2Parale. These were one day challenges and encouraged affiliates to branch out their sales in multiple campaigns. Furthermore, the leaderboard displayed points needed to earn a spot in the top slots, similar to a progress bar; however, this number could have been daunting for some people, as it may seem too high and unachievable. Instead, it may have been a better idea to display the points needed to climb just one rank in order to provide minimal requirements for advancement.
Finally, the last challenge was even more complex. It consisted of 5 different challenges, seven leaderboards, and 7 iPhone 5’s as rewards for the winners in each leaderboard. The challenges included generating the most leads overall, in fashion category, in IT&C category, and between the categories. There were also separate challenges for top tier affiliates and bottom tier affiliates; this provided a chance for everyone to win, and not just the top affiliates. This challenge introduced real-time chat, which is another key game mechanic to promote socializing and competition. This was achieved through Facebook Chat plug-in.
All the challenges proved to be huge successes. 690,000 RON were generated in sales for the first challenge; 2062 sales were generated by the top 10 affiliates; 397 commissions approved for the ranked 1 affiliate; 161 sales were generated on May 22nd alone. With the tweaks in the second challenge, 2Parale enjoyed even greater numbers: 1.85 million RON generated in sales, 3438 sales generated by the top 10 affiliates, and 698 commissions approved for the ranked 1 affiliate. As you can see, sales went up three times. The results for the last campaign haven’t been completely calculated yet, but judging from the figures on Black Friday alone, it is evident that the complexity of the level of gamification in the third challenge proved to be a massive success. On Black Friday, 3.2 million RON were generated in sales along with 9477 generated leads.
The numbers verify 2Parale’s huge success in incorporating gamification in affiliate marketing. While the challenges were not perfect, each new challenge improved upon the previous one by implementing more engaging game mechanics to motivate the affiliates. By introducing these fun game mechanics it is possible to encourage the affiliates to perform their best, generate more leads and increase the sales.
Now it is your turn, do you know any other affiliate marketing gamification case or affiliate programme that has reached success through gamification? I would love to hear about it.