The power of gamified information and how to use it to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic

For some time now many of our clients and partners have been eagerly waiting for data about what kind of benefits the Psyon Games gamified information method can bring to the digitalization strategies of the life science industry.

In our previous post we introduced the key concepts of gamification and gamified information. Taken that you are now familiar with them, we will now examine
1. how we at Psyon Games use gamified information in the field of disease and health awareness
2. how powerful this method actually is.

Awareness and understanding to drive behavior change

As we discussed in our previous text, gamification is an efficient way to add incentives to any activity or process. Our ambitious goal as a company is to use gamification to drive collective change in the attitudes and behavior of humanity, to build a better world.

When it comes to our largest clientele, the life science industry, the desired collective changes in attitudes and behavior have to do with e.g. compliance to treatments, engagement to prevention, patient education and general awareness.

The world would be a safer and better place, if we all made sure our vaccinations are up to date and practiced good hand hygiene and social distancing in times of novel virus outbreaks such as the on-going coronavirus pandemic. Lives of loved ones could be saved, if they sought help early enough and cooperated with the medical staff when facing health problems.

All of these individual and communal crises boil down to the attitudes and behavior of free individuals. Our attitudes and behavioral patterns again, are dependent on complex personal features such as worldview, habits, background and education. Because attitudes and behavior are this way tangled in our identity, we humans are rather resistant to change, and old attitudes and behaviors often persist, even if we face new information that should make us reconsider our ways.

This is why information alone is not a very effective driver of behavior change. To change behavior, the information must be understood and internalized. For this to really happen, one must be in an open state of mind, willing to reflect and to play with the thought “What if…”.

This is why Psyon Games designs games that don’t only pass information, but also tune the player to a state of curiosity and associate the learning experiences with positive emotions and powerful sensations of success and flow.

The method

The gamified information method comprises 4 steps that support each other. The method is demonstrated in figure 1.

Figure 1: The Psyon Games gamified information method

The Psyon Games gamified information method
  1. The first step is an awareness campaign. This step can be thought of as a mixture of a traditional information campaign and a thrilling game advertisement. Social media analysts know that the latter usually stands out much more than the former and thus gains more clicks.

    When browsing social media, colorful action packed animations naturally capture our attention. The Psyon Games approach to health campaigns turns this to the benefit of the health campaigner both to deliver a crucial awareness message, and to promise a high quality entertainment game for those who choose to click the ad.

  2. The second step is the centerpiece of the method: the platform that includes the game and a game themed information website.

    While the campaign can be used to increase public awareness, the game itself strengthens the awareness but also drives a deeper level of understanding through engaging gameplay that sparks curiosity and allows users to explore the game content in their own way.

    Interactivity builds a strong sensation of ownership. Instead of a passive information receiver, the user is an active discoverer, who chooses their own path and takes in information as it best suits them. Throughout the gaming experience users receive new information in small easily understandable bits and apply it repetitively. This strengthens the learning experience without the user even noticing, because it’s all about having fun with the game!

    Instead of simply reading an infomercial once and moving on, the users are engaged for tens of minutes or even hours.

    To increase the impact of the game, the platform also includes a game themed information website. The website has more information and entertainment in the form of videos, images, comics and written text pieces for those who are hungry to learn more.

    The website also serves as an alternative landing page for the awareness campaign ads to also reach those who don’t typically play games. E.g. parents who find the website useful may well recommend the game to their children. The website and the game are linked back and forth to support traffic in both directions.

  3. The third step is the ultimate goal of changing attitudes and behaviors. This happens as a result of successful completion of steps 1 and 2. However, we’ve made it a separate step in the process, because it’s our clients’ key point of interest and developing ways to measure and understand these results is one of our key missions.

  4. Data is collected throughout the process to improve each step of the method, to provide insights and understanding to our clients. The data is also used to analyze and improve the conversion rates of steps 1 and 2. So step 4 is not something that happens after step 3, but in the background of all the other steps.

Results

The following results about the Psyon Games gamified information method are based on a 2019 hepatitis awareness campaign done in cooperation with GlaxoSmithKline. The campaign was built around Psyon Games’ flagship product Antidote. Antidote is a tower defense game which teaches the player about vaccines and basic immunology, such as immune system cells, viruses, bacteria and toxins.

The campaign data was gathered by an independent media company Dagmar. The data analysis and the related discussion was performed by Psyon Games, based on multiple references from life-science, social media marketing, and web analytic standards.

Due to the agreements we’ve signed and in general good will to our clients, we will not publicly disclose any details about the reference data. We can elaborate on the data analysis in private discussions with investors, clients and partners, within the conditions of the signed agreements.

Table 1: Key performance indicators and their definitions

Table 2: KPI values for each step of the method

Table 1: Key performance indicators and their definitions


  • KPI
  • Definition
  • CTR
  • Click-through rate: The ratio of the number of times the ads were clicked and the number of total impressions
  • CPC
  • Cost per click: the ratio of the ad budget and the number of total clicks
  • Time spent in game
  • The total time spent in the game by the average user
  • Time spent in learning materials
  • The total time spent browsing information content by the average user
  • Qualitative data
  • Study results to evaluate changes in behaviors and attitudes


Table 2: KPI values for each step of the method


  • Step
  • KPI
  • Result
  • 1
  • CTR
    CPC
  • 1.26%
    0.63 €
  • 2
  • Time spent in game
    Time spent in learning materials
  • 72 min
    5 min
  • 3
  • Qualitative data
  • Great qualitative results &
    Study being prepared

Table 2: KPI values for each step of the method


  • KPI
  • Result
  • CTR
    CPC
  • 1.26%
    0.63 €
  • Time spent in game
    Time spent in learning materials
  • 72 min
    5 min
  • Qualitative data
  • Great qualitative results &
    Study being prepared

The key performance indicators (KPI) of the Psyon Games gamified information method are defined in table 1. Table 2 shows the results of the KPIs and what step of the process each of them are related to.

The numbers alone may seem a bit dull. The ads are clicked 1.26% of the times they are viewed, costing 0.63 € per click for the advertiser. The average user plays the game for a total of 72 minutes, of which they spend 5 minutes in the in-built learning materials.

To tell a better story, let’s add some context! See visualizations in figure 2.

There’s a large variance in the performance of life-science industry social media ads. Nevertheless, depending on the reference the CTR of our gamified health ads is 50% to 320% better than in traditional health info campaigns with a 20% to 60% lower CPC.

In layman’s terms this means that a health awareness campaign based on the Psyon Games gamified information method can bring over 3 times more clicks with less than half the price of traditional methods. The gamified information method is up to 8 times more cost-efficient than traditional campaigns! And that’s just the first step.

Appeal

Click-through rate for game themed health info ads
Up to 320% more clicks
Click-through rate for traditional health info ads
Benchmark

Affordability

Relative affordability of game themed health info ads
Up to 60% more affordable
Relative affordability of traditional health info ads
Benchmark

Engagement

Time spent in game
Over 40 times longer user enegagement
Time spent in traditional campaign info websites
Benchmark

Figure 2: performance of the Psyon Games gamified information method compared to industry benchmarks

When it comes to engaging information, the time people tend to spend on the landing pages of health information campaigns varies from some tens of seconds to several minutes. On average the Antidote game engages users for over 40 times as long! Over the course of a 72 minute gaming experience, the users splend a total of 5 minutes in the in-game learning materials. This time is comparable to the times spent on information pages in general. The power of the game is that after absorbing the information, users don’t close the browser or move on to some totally different activity forgetting what they just read. Instead, by playing the game they repeatedly apply what they have learned reinforcing the lesson through a memorable interactive and visual experience!

The third step of measuring change in attitudes and behaviors is somewhat tricky and still remains a work in progress (WIP). To get to the bottom of it, Psyon Games is organizing a cooperative study with the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare that is planned to take place later this year (though, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic will surely affect the schedules). Follow us, and we will keep you posted!

In the meantime our hypothesis “Games can change attitudes and behavior regarding health information” remains well established based on the data we’ve gathered from game test sessions and our understanding of games and psychology.

Calling for partners

So, 2 out of 3 steps of the gamified information method have been validated and proven to overpower traditional info campaign strategies. What’s best, mobile games are agile to develop and quick to update and modify. They can be easily harnessed for different campaigns and timely purposes.

Say, based on what you just read, wouldn’t it seem like a pretty efficient strategy to use this method to effectively inform people about the coronavirus and precautions we all need to take? We have everything we need to turn Antidote to a coronavirus awareness tool. There are over 2 billion mobile gamers out there. Partner with us and let’s halt this pandemic – with the power of games!

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One Comment on “The power of gamified information and how to use it to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic”

  1. Pingback: Gamified Disease Awareness Method | #YGD

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