THE BLOG
09/18/2013 06:55 pm ET Updated Nov 18, 2013

WATCH: Gamification Goes Mainstream

The newly released Grand Theft Auto V just took in $800 million in sales. In one day. So games are clearly a pretty big deal. But can gaming concepts play a part in your marketing strategy?

"Gamification," applying game mechanics, like challenges, points, badges or leader boards to encourage engagement, loyalty and brand advocacy, is now used in educational programs, business management and training, and a host of consumer-facing sites and apps. One report predicts the gamification market to reach $2.8 billion in 2016.

While the novelty of game elements can help encourage users to make their way through otherwise less-than-exciting tasks, to really power your marketing it'll take more than badges and leader boards. Just as you'll need to determine from the start what it is exactly you're trying to accomplish, so, too, will your consumers need to understand why they should participate. There should be clear goals and rewards, like unlocking valuable content, prizes, experiences, discounts or recognition. Otherwise, well ... let Brian Burke from Gartner explain: "We predict that by 2014, 80 percent of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives." Ouch.

See some key examples of brands using gamification in the latest episode of "The Content Brief" from Freshwire below.

And find out how hotels are checking in to social media in last week's episode.