Ryan Rutan

To Gamify, Or Not To Gamify ... For Conferences, There is No Question!

Blog Post created by Ryan Rutan on Nov 21, 2013

All-star.pngIt's been nearly 1 month since Jive held their annual user conference JiveWorld13 in Las Vegas, and people are still asking about the JiveWorld13 Game Series.  Why did you do it?  How did you do it?  Was it successful?  etc... Given the interest, I thought I would share some of the process, design, and success around the JiveWorld13 Game Series so others can hopefully implement similar programs in their communities and conferences! 

As this will be a lengthy post, let's go ahead and get started by talking about goals and core principles.


Before starting ANY gamification initiative, you should always have a clear view of your game goals, principles, and ways to measure success.

JiveWorld13 Gamification - Goals

  • Increase Mobile App Downloads for Event +100% YOY
  • Increase Social Activity & Reach +100% YOY (includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and social photography)
  • Amplify Conference Differentiation, Networking Opportunities and Loyalty (Qualitative)


JiveWorld13 Gamification - Core Principles

  • Zero Effort Entry - Playing without even knowing it increases a participants stake in the game before they know they are playing.  Increases chances of kick starting a new active participant.
  • Compounded Return on Investment - All games should feed into each other inspiring participants to take the next step, or in some cases back track to improve their over-all chances
  • Always Something to Play For - At all times, there should be a prize in play and a clear understanding of how to win it.

With goals and principles in place, we designed the JiveWorld13 Game Series, which consisted of the following games:


  • Game Badges - 16 Badges, along with 4 secret badges that can be earned by simply participating in the activities that JiveWorld13 had to offer.  Each badge won, earned the recipient additional entries into the random drawing for a maximum of 250 entries!  Collect each regular badge to earn the coveted JiveWorld13 All-Star Badge!
  • Daily Challenges - Instant win opportunities during the conference to win iPad Minis.  Each challenge consisted of 10 photograph tasks, whose completion was measured by sharing said photograph via Twitter.  These photographs and Twitter participation fed into the Top Photographer and Top Tweeter prizes.
  • Top Photographer - Participants are asked to shared their best JiveWorld13 photos socially.  Along the way, participants can earn the Photo and Photo All-Star Badges sharing 40+ photos in the mobile app, which earns them more entries into the Random Drawing.  The ten most popular photos shared socially are brought into the community where the top 3 are determined by the Jive Community.  The top 3 winners each received a special badge and an iPad Mini, with the 1st place winner receiving an iPad Mini w/Retina.
  • Top Tweeter - Participants are asked to open up the conference back channel and share their conference experiences via Twitter with the #JiveWorld.  Along the way, participants can earn the Twitter and Twitter All-Star Badges by tweeting  #JiveWorld 40+ times, which earns them more entries into the Random Drawing.  In the end, the top 3 tweeters are selected by # of tweets, network size, variety, and quality. The top 3 winners each received a special badge and an iPad Mini, with the 1st place winner receiving an iPad Mini w/Retina.
  • Random Drawing - A catch-all game designed to raise engagement of the lowest common participant.  Entries earned through game badges, sessions, and other means were pooled together, and 3 winners are selected mathematically at random.


So How Did We Do?

  • Increase Mobile App Downloads for Event  Goal: +100% YOY - Actual:  +104% YOY
    • It was VERY common for attendees to install the mobile app on BOTH their tablet and Phone!  Communication channel ... check!
  • Increase Social Activity & Reach  Goal: +100% YOY - Actual ~50% YOY (overall)
    • Tough compare for overall JiveWorld12 activity, and yet during JiveWorld13, attendees tweeted over 10,000 times contributing real-time thoughts and sharing valuable insights and quotes. Those that didn't have the pleasure of attending JiveWorld13 could certainly learn a lot just from the user generated content on Twitter.  +1 x 10,000
    • JiveWorld12's top three tweeters all tweeted in the mid to low hundreds, while everyone in the top twenty at JiveWorld13 had at least one hundred tweets during the conference. JiveWorld13's top three tweeters contributed 2,634 tweets, and the majority of those were relevant and valuable content.
    • 2000+ photos shared via the mobile app in only 3 days - +108% YOY , +27% YOY in Social Photography
  • Amplify Conference Differentiation, Networking and Loyalty (Qualitative)
    • Overall Conference Rating:  4.6 out of 5 by Attendees
    • Here are but some of our quotes shared by conference attendees:

Thank you so much!  I was telling leigh_pankonien that the game series was a lot of fun, but also allowed me to make a ton of friends... Looking forward to seeing everyone again at JiveWorld14. - LAMBO

The game series was beautifully designed with so many missions focusing on different objectives and suiting such a diverse variety of attendees. There was something in it for everyone and many got into it thanks to the game series. It was not just about points, badges and leaderboard, but really about engaging all the attendees into the conference. - nikhilnulkar (see full conference critique here)

What an incredible game experience this year which added to a mind blowing set of enhancements and excitement around the Jive platform! - roguen (a.k.a. JiveWorld13 All-Star)

This was so much fun! Thanks for providing a great experience for all of us to show off our competitive side, connect with each other, and provide a memory I will not soon forget. - katiebroberts

JiveWorld has become an "anchor" of my calendar. It's a great, informative and fun event and the chance to connect with many friends and colleagues. So the pictures were really just an expression of the excitement for all of that. Thanks for being creative in allowing myself and others to share that excitement. - Edward Ford

I am honored to be selected as "random person" to receive an iPad mini! As if my first JiveWorld experience were not fabulous enough - this is icing on the proverbial cake! Thanks Jive! You guys do indeed RULE! - bdozier

This is a nice surprise! JiveWorld13 was fantastic, and I am already looking forward to JiveWorld14. Congrats everyone! - shorn


Taking into account all 3 of our goals, and the anecdotal interest in the game overall, it is safe to say that the JiveWorld13 Game Series was a massive success!  Check out the winners here:

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Top 3 Take-Aways

  • Conference Games must be ever-present and always actionable. 
    The success, or failure, of your game will start with the mobile experience, and will hinge on your ability to keep the game front and center at all times.  This includes pre-conference communication (see the JiveWorld blog series leading up to the conference) as well as in-conference signage in prominent places, such as the registration desk, common areas and even in the sessions themselves (i.e. session slides in every presentation)

Special thanks to our event mobile app vendor, QuickMobile, and our gamification platform/partner, Bunchball, for making this game a true success!

  • Less is More, and Automate Where-Ever Possible
    Focus less on delivering intricate prizes and game conditions, and more on delivering a quality experience that improves an attendee's conference experience.  Being able to automate the awarding of badges, points and prizes through actual activity is a big win for your team.  In our case, the mobile app was equipped with everything needed to award badges onsite, as a result it kept the game logistics in check and manageable for a small team to manage a larger conference.  Do not underestimate the actual time it takes to perform a manual task when the conference is in full flow!
  • Budget/Design in time for In-Game Adjustments
    Make the game a function of the players, it can also reveal a lot about your customer culture and ways to connect with them.
    For example:
    • JiveWorld13 Love Badge was inspired by praise trishaliu gave to another customer at JiveWorld12. 
    • JiveWorld13 Humor Badge was inspired by Brad.Fitzgerald and his hilarious post in the JC!
    • JiveWorld13 Birthday Badge was inspired by ruth_neighbors sharing the fact that she was celebrating her birthday at JiveWorld13!
    • and my personal favorite, the JiveWorld13 Wedding Badge inspired by Ted Hopton, nbussard who met at JiveWorld12 and are now engaged, and KerryCraig who got married at the Little White Chapel in Vegas while at JiveWorld13!

That's it.  From beginning to end, as much information I could think of to share about how we started with a general concept to increase conference attendee engagement, and ended up with the JiveWorld13 Game Series!  It's now time to close the book on JiveWorld13, take in all the amazing customer feedback, and head to the drawing board for JiveWorld14 and the JiveWorld14 Game Series!


Thank you to everyone who attended JiveWorld13 and made it such an amazing event.


Thank you to all who played and participated in the JiveWorld13 Game Series and above all,


I hope to see each and every one of you next year in Las Vegas for JiveWorld14!

What were your thoughts on the JiveWorld13 Game Series? 
Do you see this model working in your community or conference? 

How would you make it better? 

And most importantly, do you plan to participate in the JiveWorld14 Game Series? 

Share your thoughts/comments down below, we are listening!

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