The Met Office has revealed that a game-based research project designed to assess how people respond to probabilities during weather forecasting has broken participation records to become the largest study of its kind. The game has users providing probability based advice to help an ice cream man character maximise his profits, and has been played nearly 8,000 times. The game takes five minutes to complete, and rewards those who take part with an entry to win a t-shirt. The Met Office hopes that it will give insight into how members of the public understand and use the weather forecast, therefore allowing them to provide more useful information.
Jim Wehmann, an e-commerce and online marketing specialist and senior vice president of global marketing at Digital River, made the following comments:
“This is a classic example of how gamification can go viral. Who would have thought that a scientific research project could garner a response such as this? When you deconstruct the game and its objectives however, you can clearly see how gamification can be useful in creating engaging user experiences that capture the attention and involvement of consumers.
“The efficacy of a well-designed gamification strategy has been demonstrated brilliantly by the Met Office in this case. This project has boosted public engagement with the organisation in a fun and light-hearted fashion, and has also demonstrated how such an endeavour can have the side benefit of providing excellent marketing and PR value.
“Meanwhile, it shows how gamification can provide a brand with actionable intelligence that can measure public perception, provide strategic insight and improve ROI. The Met Office is an organisation that deals with enormous amounts of data every day, so finding a way to articulate how best to explain this information to the public has proven invaluable. Organisations should look at what has been achieved in this campaign and consider how they can use gamification to increase customer engagement, generate valuable data and boost brand recognition.”