Cole, G. (2014), "Executive summary of “Motivational effects and age differences of gamification in product advertising”", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-08-2014-1095Download as .RIS
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Executive summary of “Motivational effects and age differences of gamification in product advertising”
Article Type: Executive summary and implications for managers and executives From: Journal of Consumer Marketing, Volume 31, Issue 5
This summary has been provided to allow managers and executives a rapid appreciation of the content of the article. Those with a particular interest in the topic covered may then read the article in toto to take advantage of the more comprehensive description of the research undertaken and its results to get the full benefit of the material present.
Different studies have noted the emergence of “gamification” as a means of enhancing product advertisements. The process involves incorporating certain elements from digital games and using them as slogans on advertisements like TV commercials and flyers. One example of this technique is the use of gamification to market running shoes based on the scope to assess performance scores while the wearer runs. The rationale here is that people can gain some insight into how they are progressing athletically and inspire them to increase their sporting activities.
Many designs for gamification are based on quantitative aspects like points, badges and leaderboards (PBLs). That extrinsic motives such as these are responsible for the enjoyment people obtain from gaming is widely presumed among marketers. But certain scholars argue that intrinsic motivation is at least as important. In this case, playing a game for the enjoyment it offers is the source of intrinsic motivation. Outcomes like those inherent in PBLs provide motivation of the extrinsic type. It has been noted that extrinsic motivation can help the consumer develop feelings of “competence and mastery” by positively impacting on intrinsic motivation.
Extant literature likewise notes the relevance of “flow”. This concept is defined as a people being totally absorbed into an activity with the concentration being so intense that they cease to self-monitor. This and the sense that they are being “perfectly challenged” prompts people to perceive an activity as “intrinsically pleasurable”. One assumption is that flow results from experiencing certain game elements, although the value of PBLs in this respect has been questioned. Identifying which intrinsic factors stimulate flow is thus recommended.
How consumers make decisions can help the creation of effective gamification designs. Evaluation is a key part of the process and the consumer will assess both product-related aspects and external factors. The latter might include advertisements, recommendations from significant others and purchase frequency of the product concerned. Individual differences and previous experiences are additionally recognized as influential. In the case of the latter, memory about certain products can be strengthened by intrinsic motivation and “flow” experiences.
Another factor recognized as important is subjective norm. This is a key component of the theory of planned behavior (TPB), a model widely deployed to measure consumer decision-making. It specifically refers to consumer motivation to act in ways which comply with the norms of the environment. Along with this are attitudes toward a specific object and the belief of consumers in their ability to perform and control a certain behavior.
The TPB has been utilized to predict the purchase of conventional sports products. Researchers have used the modified technology acceptance model for a similar purpose, although exposure to gamification advertisements was also a factor. In this adaption of the model, flow is assumed to be influenced by the interactive aspects and ad content. Flow then impacts on the perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use that are inherent in the model. It is supposed that purchase intentions will increase if an individual believes that the product is simple to use and will positively impact on his or her life.
In the current study, Bittner et al. aim to identify which of the above factors most impact on how gamified advertisements influence consumer willingness to buy a sports product. In addition, level of gaming experience was considered, as it was presumed that enjoyment of gamified products was likely to be greater among those who spend more time playing digital games. Perceived enjoyment from gamified products was likewise assessed.
A total of 101 subjects from The Netherlands recruited via social media platforms completed an online questionnaire. Only those who participated in sporting activities once every month or more were included. The final sample consisted of 73 males and 28 females and participants were aged between 15 and 71. Subjects were exposed to four advertisements for running and basketball shoes: two containing pictures and conventional slogans and two which included pictures and game-slogans. The first type emphasized such as comfort and customization, while the gamified slogans focused on the likes of development and achievement.
Examination of the data revealed that:
purchase intention for conventional products is considerably influenced by perceived control, attitudes and subjective norm;
attitudes, subjective norm, perceived control, flow, perceived usefulness and enjoyment all appreciably predict purchase intention toward gamified products;
previous gaming experience significantly impacts on purchase intention of gamified products but not for conventional products;
a strong connection was evident between gaming experience and perceived control and extrinsic motivations;
intrinsic incentives positively relate to enjoyment and flow;
extrinsic motives strongly predict enjoyment;
flow mediates the impact of intrinsic motivations on purchase intentions;
enjoyment mediates the effect of extrinsic incentives on purchase intentions; and
compared to younger people, older consumers consider gamified products to be less useful and experienced lower perceptions of enjoyment and flow. Purchase intention among this segment was thus significantly less.
Further analysis to ascertain important aspects for gamification design suggested that freedom of control, feedback and choices are key intrinsic incentives. Feeling connected and the extrinsic incentive leaderboards were deemed neutral. The intrinsic motivations avatars, storyline and losing points seem insignificant for gamification, as do bonuses, points and badges from the extrinsic scale.
On this evidence, the authors recommend that gamified products should ideally be targeted toward younger consumers with previous gaming experience. Those lacking familiarity might struggle to comprehend the slogans used in such advertisements. Different strategies might be appropriate for other consumer segments and focusing on aspects like product quality could be more effective.
Bittener et al. note how various key intrinsic and extrinsic incentives augment flow and enjoyment associated with a product. They propose integrating enjoyment into ads to strike a healthy balance between challenge and fun. Another possibility is to use gamification as means to increase the appeal of products that social norms view negatively. By focusing on intrinsic incentives, flow and perceived usefulness, the influence of other people in the consumer’s environment could be weakened.
Scholars might in future investigate which other aspects of sports products help to increase their appeal and consumer purchase intentions. Such factors might include comfort and could influence response to gamification advertisements. Among other possibilities are enquiries into actual consumer behavior and whether gamification could be used in public health broadcasts to encourage the public to tackle the obesity crisis by increasing their level of physical activity.
To read the full article enter 10.1108/JCM-04-2014-0945 into your search engine.
(A preécis of the article “Motivational effects and age differences of gamification in product advertising”. Supplied by Marketing Consultants for Emerald.)