Black Hat Gamification in Long-Term Sales

Black Hat Gamification are techniques of gamification that exploit the addiction and obsession driven parts of the human brain to condition the user to do what we want. Be it playing a game that we’ve made or to follow through on our advertising. They are techniques that are viciously effective in most cases and more than often would trigger viral sensations. But although they might seem like a sure-kill way to earn revenue, they might not be like what you think. 

What is Black Hat Gamification?

If we are to base this on Yukai-Chou’s Octalysis Framework, it would be 3 of the bottom. Mainly: Scarcity, Avoidance, and Unpredictability. 

Scarcity and Impatience

This is the drive of wanting something because you can’t have it.”

Let’s say that people can buy an exclusive type of product that you sell, but it only goes on sale once a week. Besides that, they won’t be able to buy it even if they want to. This gives the consumers a sense of value and rarity towards the product. And it would make them keep thinking about the product when they can’t have it. 

Speaking of coffee shops and VIP treatments, one of—if not—the most viable example of this type of loyalty program would be the one designed by Starbucks

Unpredictability and Curiosity

Addicted, to the unpredictable chance of winning a lot of money back.

The obvious example here is how people would throw countless money away in slot machines for a chance of winning it all back and then some. Even though the percentage of that is incredibly low, people can still become addicted to it even though they may have never even won once in their life.  

Effects of Black Hat Gamification

The problem with black hat gamification is that it has a bad aftertaste, especially when you feel like you’re not in control of it. And because you feel like you’re not in control, you may harbor bad feelings to what you’re doing and will try to quit the second you are given the chance to. 

The point is that, for a while, your consumers can be engaged to your product when marketed with black hat gamification, but if that’s all there is to it, then you are more likely to lose that consumer base eventually, if not all, then most of it.  

Is Black Hat Gamification Bad?

Not necessarily. black hat gamification is a good short-term sales plan, especially among companies like e-commerce sites, where they only need the customers to get in, buy something and get out. Without really needing to rely on long-term engagement.  

And sure enough, with the white hat gamification, people will be intending to do things, but odds are, without the sense of urgency provided by black hat gamification, they would rarely act upon it. 

Implementing Black Hat Gamification for Long-Term Sales

What you need to do here, is simply combine your black hat with the white hat. Engage the consumers and get them hooked, and only then should you introduce white hat techniques to make them feel better about using it. 

For example, you have a product based on subscription, after a short free trial for your consumers, you can give them 24 hours only sale where they would then feel that it would be a loss not to. But once they subscribe, instead of just letting them be, maybe empower them by saying that their creativity with your product will be highly appreciated with a showcase in your product’s social media, that alone might do more than you might think. 

Another thing you can do, however, is something close to white hat gamification’s effect is giving your customers a decent loyalty program. It’s also something to not only keep them hooked with your product longer, but may benefit you even more. Something that you can learn more about here or any other place on the internet.