Social Media Games Influences Offline Behavior

Gaming has recently emerged as a compelling way to engage and motivate individuals, and mobilize the masses around causes in a way that can have a significant impact. For Instance, Recyclebank's recent Green Your Home Challenge used several gaming techniques, known as gamification, to motivate participants to learn about green living and to take small green actions.

A recent report from ROI Research indicates that incorporating gaming techniques like contests, rewards and basic interactive content will engage users around social and environmental issues, and influence their overall behavior offline.

Gaming has recently emerged as a compelling way to engage and motivate individuals, and mobilize the masses around causes in a way that can have a significant impact. For Instance, Recyclebank’s recent Green Your Home Challenge used several gaming techniques, known as gamification, to motivate participants to learn about green living and to take small green actions.

For those who are new to Gamification, it refers to the practice of using games in non-game environments as a way to encourage people to adopt desired behaviors, an approach in line with the Challenge’s goal to increase awareness of everyday actions people can take to live more sustainable lives—and do so in an entertaining way. In total, nearly 49,000 individuals participated in the Challenge.

The report identified the following major findings:

Gamification can increase awareness of positive environmental actions. Ninety-seven percent of the Challenge participants surveyed said the game increased their knowledge about how to help the environment.

Games can drive individuals to take positive social and environmental actions. Fifty-four percent of existing members and 58 percent of new members said they are very or extremely likely to take green actions as a result of participating in the Challenge. This indicates that online games can be effective in encouraging real-world positive behavior change, as demonstrated in the following bullet.

Games hold power to impact actual green actions. When reviewing the reported green actions for those surveyed both before and after the contest, there were significant increases in several actions that were featured in the Green Your Home Challenge and even some that weren’t mentioned at all prior to the launch of the game.

What green actions do you take?

I turn off the lights
Pre 18%
Post 26%
+44%

I use CFL/eco bulbs
Pre 28%
Post 38%
+36%

I conserve water/energy
Pre 34%
Post 45%
+32%

I buy local produce
Pre 0%
Post 14%
—-

I wash clothes in cold water
Pre 0%
Post 7%
—-

Games are an effective and appealing educational tool. Eighty-six percent agreed online games and contests can be a good way for companies and brands to inform and educate them personally, and 73 percent thought games/contests are a good way for companies to interact with consumers in general. This indicates a significant opportunity to use games as a means to not only entertain, but also educate people on the environment and other causes in a way that truly shows lasting effects.

“Gaming for good is an incredibly exciting area of study, and through this report we’ve gleaned some valuable insights into how it can be leveraged to inspire people to action,” said Scott Haiges, president of ROI Research. “We learned that to truly engage around a cause or issue, games should be educational and interactive; make an online and offline connection; and have social elements that enable the participant to get their friends involved.”