White-labeled embeddable social rewards system Badgeville announced yesterday that 50 new clients will begin incentivizing user behavior with its widgets. By offering users points, badges, recognition on leaderboards, and more for clicking Like buttons attached to content or Facebook Pages, viewing webpages, and registering for accounts, web and mobile sites can suggest behavior to new users, and leverage the loyalty of their biggest fans.
The new clients, including Deloitte Digital, Active.com, and Menuism, signal that more brands, news sites, and web services are turning to social rewards to increase engagement and virality.
While Facebook’s social plugins including the Like button, Comments Box, and Recommendations create distribution channels and let users see what their friends are doing, but they don’t allow sites to structure behavior to further their own goals. As expansive, content-rich web 2.0 sites proliferate, structure and guidance can be crucial to creating a sticky first-time user experience instead of one that overwhelms or confuses people.
Launched in September 2010, the 20-employee Badgeville has raised $2.75 million from angel investors to develop a rewards and tracking system that accomplishes this goal. It has since turned its service into a platform and opened an API. The new clients join The Next Web, Comcast SportsNet, and several others.
These websites embed Badgeville’s widget and buttons, choose a set of user actions to incentivize, and specify rewards for completing these actions. Badgeville can tap into a site’s proprietary registration system, piggyback off of Facebook Connect, or both.
Sites can reward users for clicking multiple Pages and discovering “reward spots”, posting comments, clicking Like buttons on content or for a Facebook Page, posting to Twitter, buying products, watching videos, answering surveys, or registering with their email address. Rewards include points for leveling up, trophies, badges, virtual currency, discounts, and premium content.
Site admins skin their Badgeville widget to blend in with their site. Those looking to drive engagement with their Facebook social plugins can use a special Facebook-themed skin. The widget shows users a leaderboard of top fans, recent Badgeville activity from the site, the actions and scores of their friends, and their own badges and activity. Users can easily share their badges and activity to Facebook and Twitter.
Admins of Badgeville-integrated sites can track the behavior of logged in users through the service’s engagement analytics tool. This provides insights into how these incentivized users behave differently their general visitor base, and
There are some issues with the rewards system, namely that it doesn’t always register site activity, so users might be denied their badge even though they shared an article. There’s also the question of what percentage of users actually care enough about the recognition and virtual goods they’re rewarded to change their behavior.
Still, with immense competition in many areas of web publishing, and brands experimenting with whatever might bring them more Facebook fans, turning even a fraction of visitors into evangelists can make Badgeville worth testing. User generated content sites who depend on this short tail of high-loyalty visitors have even more reason to try a social rewards system such as Badgeville.