Recently, a wave of platforms has been looking to gamify the fan engagement process. Web3 platforms like Top Shot or Sorare provide a game with a set of collectibles to help fans engage with what they’re a fan of, most often a video game or club. Web2 platforms are also quite susceptible to this, with apps like IQONIQ leading the charge.
These platforms can greatly help sports clubs, video games, and other organizations engage their fans. Many Web3 platforms will even give fans the right to vote on certain decisions. However, the fan engagement platforms of today are fundamentally flawed.
This article will cover the biggest issues with today’s fan engagement platforms, how to fix them, and some Web3 applications that are already working on these issues.
Earn Long-Term Interest and Gamify Responsibly
The first issue most fan engagement platforms of today face is that they generally have one trigger, such as an NFT drop, promotional game, or event, to engage fans. However, this can be considered little more than a gimmick.
Let’s take games, for example. While gamification is a great way for your fans to engage with the community, as evidenced by the player base for most sports games, most games like this forget one crucial component- games are meant to be fun.
For a gamification effort to be successful, the game must be more than simply a gimmick. This means providing fun, challenging, and rewarding gameplay alongside high-quality visual design. By making fan engagement platforms more engaging and fun, for example, by implementing principles from well-designed Web3 games like the Sandbox or Infinity Skies.
If, rather than simply looking at numbers on a screen (which is what most gamification efforts boil down to) the platform lets you create a whole clubhouse in its area within a game like Infinity Skies? This would help fans stick with the platform long-term, rather than just holding NFTs or tokens.
NFT drops suffer from a similar issue where the community gets bored interacting with the same old content. If NFT drops are a large part of your strategy, you need to ensure that they’re interactive or that you’re making drops periodically rather than all at once.
A great example of what you can do with interactivity is the NFT museum EverdreamSoft made for their game Spells of Genesis. The interactable museum gave players something they could interact with to stay connected to the team and the game’s other fans. An intractable avenue like this takes more work but consistently keeps fans engaged. Check out how it looks:-
Route Traffic to the Organization, Not the Platform
Fundamentally, fan engagement platforms provide a club, game, or other organization with a way to reach and engage more of their fans in their activities. However, many platforms will insist on routing all traffic through them; this leads to fans having more engagement with the platform rather than the organization itself.
This issue is exacerbated if there’s also gamification going on, and the fan engagement platform keeps everything on-platform. Suppose no rewards provide an actual link to the organization, be it merchandise, voting on the organization’s decisions, tickets for real-life events, or the like. What are the fans engaging with?
For a fan engagement platform to successfully engage fans, there must be a constant link to the organization. They need to send actual traffic to the organization rather than attempting to keep the fans on the platform itself.
Why Fixing Both of These Issues Is Difficult?
Now, on the surface, fixing these issues at once seems quite easy, right? Just commit to interactive, high-quality gameplay and route traffic and interaction to the organization.
However, this is a lot more difficult than it appears at first glance, and it takes a lot of effort and delicacy to get it right. This is because the two goals can often be at odds with each other. After all, if you’re providing the fans engaging gamification, why would they leave your platform and go to the organization’s site? Conversely, if you’re routing all your traffic to the organization, they’re unlikely to stick around to engage with your gamification efforts.
This creates an intrinsic tension between gamification, immersive NFT drops, and the like, providing the organization with high-quality fan engagement. If you do it too well, you segment the fanbase and migrate it to another platform; if you don’t do well enough, fans will stay unengaged.
How Do We Fix This?
The only real way to fix these issues at once is to aim at the underlying disconnect between these two principles. This approach takes even more effort, but it’s well worth it. A fan engagement platform can do this by fusing the gamified elements and NFTs directly with a link to the club.
A great example of this would be Fanzee. This fan engagement platform elects not to migrate the organization’s fanbase to its own platform; rather, it integrates within the organization’s digital ecosystem while allowing fans to interact with each other and the organization itself.
Since Fanzee will integrate directly with the organization’s online ecosystem, it won’t take any traffic away from the organization, such as a sports club. The platform will also come packed with games that engage fans rather than simply breaking away from boredom.
There are two main issues plaguing the fan engagement platform industry the lack of high-quality, long-term engagement efforts and the fact most engagement platforms take away traffic from the same organizations they should be helping.
The first issue is resolved by implementing more interactive; in-depth content fans can engage with outside of casually collecting NFTs. The second issue is fixed by routing traffic directly to the club or embedding the platform into the club’s digital ecosystem.
Thankfully, some projects like Infinity Skies and EverdreamSoft show us a great example of how resolving the first and second issues independently might be done. Future fan engagement platforms like Fanzee should do their best to follow these examples, and we have no doubt they’ll continue to grow.