Why starting your gamification program in stealth mode might be a really good idea

Stealth mode means running your gamification initiative without the players knowing about it.  For leaderboarders that means a stealth leaderboard to track activity among their players according to the game and league they have devised.

There are few reasons why this can be a really good idea:

1. It creates a baseline

It lets you create a baseline of ‘pre-gamified’ activity. The stats and results from your player cohort can be aggregated to get a feel for the natural performance of your community.  Once the gamification begins in earnest, you can analyse whether it’s making any difference – so, you will have a “before” and “after” picture.  This is particularly useful where “hard” data is used e.g. sales performance games.

2. It lets you iron out the kinks

Let’s face it, gamification programs, games and leagues all have many moving parts. It’s rare to see a new leaderboard get going on an automated basis from day one. Typically it takes a couple of weeks before the leaderboard ‘settles’ down to accurately track digital activity and communicate the results.

3. It lets you tweak the scoring system before it launches

Seeing a live leaderboard in action will give you a picture of how it will feel when made public. Is there volatility in the rankings from week to week (or is everyone stuck in their starting positions?)? Does it say anything interesting about the community being Leaderboarded?  Are the people at the top of the leaderboard the people you’d expect to be there?

Of course there are some gamification initiatives where this doesn’t apply, for instance where everything being tracked is activity by the players themselves, or if they have to sign up first before you can track their activity.

However for the most part thinking and planning for a couple of weeks of baseline before you go live will allow you to get everything working and have some great evidence for the success of your gamified program.

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