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Keeping Score: Make Tracking Stats Fun With Gamification

by Andy Crestodina  |  
September 28, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Ways to make tracking statistics fun and game-like
  • Effective ways to keep score of your social media, SEO, and email campaigns

I've loved games since I was a kid. I grew up with 20-sided dice and Donkey Kong. I'm not the only one. People are hardwired to enjoy games, which is why game concepts are popping up in places you wouldn't expect.

"Gamification" is the use of game mechanics in nongame settings to encourage specific behaviors. By taking advantage of our psychological predisposition to enjoying games, gamification encourages people to perform necessary tasks—such as measuring and tracking statistics—that many people find boring.

So instead of calling it "tracking stats," let's call it "watching the scoreboard," which sounds much more fun.

Scoreboards are everywhere. Below are a few we like to use and tips on how to use them to drive behavior and results.

(Note: The following are separate from the measurements in Google Analytics. This isn't about traffic. This is about tracking activity that drives traffic.)

Social Media

The social media channel was born to be gamified. Twitter has been game-like from the beginning, with the main score being the number of followers. Foursquare, with its hundreds of badges to win, is basically a game. Foursquare isn't used; it's played.

Here are a few ways you can keep score on social media.

  1. Use Twitter Counter, and have fun tracking follower growth for free. Sprout Social has compelling charts, and offers a 30-day free trial with a chance to upgrade to either a $9 or $49 per month membership.
  2. Facebook "likes" are easy to count, and Facebook Insights offers charts that are easy to read with green (up) and red (down) arrows to measure progress at a glance.
  3. Klout provides a general score of social media influence. It has great badges (250+ unique retweets!), and nice charts. Klout is almost too compelling; beware of obsession!

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Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, a Web design company in Chicago. He's also the author of Content Chemistry, An Illustrated Guide to Content Marketing. Connect with Andy on .

Twitter: @crestodina

LinkedIn: Andy Crestodina

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  • by Jen from LIME Thu Sep 29, 2011 via web

    Love the idea of making stats a game. For people who really love SEO, it is.

  • by Yolande Bell Sun Oct 2, 2011 via mobile

    Great article! Really loved the analogy of turning stats into a game. It's getting me passionate about maths again!

  • by Kory Allen Fri Sep 21, 2012 via web

    Interesting post..

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