gamification-featureWithin the past few weeks my colleagues Pam and Colleen started a ComBlu blog series that looks at the four primary areas of community vibrancy best practices: engagement, content experience, community management and gamification and how they measured up based on a study we conducted on behalf of Lithium Technologies.  Their blog posts:  Community Engagement: Mixed Reviews and Community Content: Primed for Improvement covered the first three vibrancy best practices.  Today I will be continuing the series and talk about gamification as a key component of community vibrancy.

Utilizing a gamification system within your community is a great way to keep people involved and drive participation. It helps encourage community members to engage over time and the reward and/or recognition aspect of gamification serves as a solid return motivator.

Community - Gamification Best Practices

Our study revealed that gamification by large is not utilized to its full potential. Among the communities we studied, 70% offered some basic gaming functionality, which includes some or all of the following:

  • Points system
  • Levels (rank)
  • Community leaders recognized
  • Status and expertise clearly conferred
  • Status is associated with high-value content


However, most communities today do not take gamification to the next level and use it to it fully engage members.  Big misses include:

  • Not recognizing or showcasing high-performing members
  • Lack of leaderboards
  • Lack of specific engagement/activity badges


A full 91% of the communities studied did not offer an all-time leaderboard.  In addition, only half of the communities had a rolling leaderboard.  These gamification functionalities provide micro fame and increased recognition within the community – something many members really enjoy.

In addition, 68% of the communities we studied are not showcasing or spotlighting a member and their success in the community, and only 31% had some type of MVP/VIP program in place.

Interestingly enough, the communities with MVP programs are using them well.  Ninety-two percent offer a clear explanation for how they work and how to apply, and 71% actively recruit members into the programs.  Communities that have a stable membership and do not offer a VIP/MVP program miss the chance to leverage brand advocacy and create a system that sparks both contribution and engagement.

Communities need to focus on identifying and recruiting a group of mentors, designated as VIPs/Experts to help with support responses, build engagement, and grow the brand knowledge base. This will also ensure top contributors feel valued and will go a long way toward enhancing overall vibrancy and will help your gamification thrive within the community.

Do you have a gamification strategy that engages member to their full potential?  Please share!



Brenda Todd

Brenda Todd

Social engagement and community manager specialist. Current focus on: online communities, community management, consumer/advocate content and engagement strategy, advocate identification, social media measurement and tracking, and social listening programs, along with production and event management. Brenda has 18+ years of experience in both traditional and social marketing programs