June 04, 2013
Enola Labs

Enola Labs creates custom strategy and products for mobile and web.

Let’s Talk

Subscribe to our blog:


On Thursday, June 6th, Enola Labs CTO Marcus Turner will be speaking on real world app incentives at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco. Turner will be presenting “Maximizing Audience Engagement with Real World Incentives” between 1:50 and 2:35. More information on the conference can be found here.

Real World App Incentives

Gamification, the integration of game mechanics into everyday tasks, has found a home in mobile apps. Applications such as Epic Win (iOS) allow users to enter tasks that they want to accomplish and assign point values based on the importance of each assignment. As the user checks items of the list that they created, they are able to level up their character and proceed through the role-playing adventure. Gamification uses like this can encourage individuals to accomplish tasks when they would normally procrastinate; however, sometimes in-game incentives are not enough to encourage change. Apps like Epic Win count on the user remaining engaged with the rewards that are built in, without interest in the prizes available the game can easily lose relevance. That’s where real world incentives come in.

A slew of applications are pushing for a new kind of gamification, one tied to tangible rewards. By using prizes of actual value, users are even more incentivized to engage with the application. Though advances in the creative use of out-of-application rewards to engage consumers are exciting, the risks of users cheating become even more of a problem. Some companies are already building in safeguards to help reduce unfair play, but it will be a difficult task for many.

The following are some of the exciting potential ways that companies can harness real world incentives:

Apps For Discounts

Shopkick uses the GPS on your phone to find out when you are entering a supported store (participating stores include Target, Old Navy and Toys”R”Us) and then rewards you with “Kicks.” Kicks are virtual points that can be redeemed for coffee, clothes and more. With Shopkick, users are rewarded for simply entering stores, buying something isn’t even necessary.

Apps For Health

GymPact utilizes real world incentives by pitting the user against other people who want to commit to hitting the gym. Upon signing up for the service, the user is required to enter their credit card information and set a pact for upcoming week. A pact is made up of how much you want to exercise in the given week and how much you are willing to bet that you will accomplish your goal. If you fail to meet the requirements by the end of the week (determined through your phone’s GPS) you are charged the set amount, but if you do accomplish your weekly goal you are rewarding with a slice of the money that others bet.

Apps For The Environment

Enola Labs’ own Make Change, Not Waste app rewards users for engaging in green lifestyle behaviors, such as biking to work or recycling. After accomplishing 10 actions the user is given a coupon to one of many green brands. Consumers can also choose to donate part of the coupon value to the Whole Planet foundation.

Inside Social Apps Conference

This is just a small glimpse at the potential behind applications that utilize real world incentives. See here for more info about the other panelists and the other discussions surrounding social applications at this years Inside Social Apps Conference.