gigya-screenGigya is a leader in providing social infrastructure for businesses with more than one billion unique users per month and a declared mission to socialize the rest of the web. Gigya technology completely integrates your website to the world of social media, providing for 24 social networks and a wide range of ready to use gaming-plugins and gaming-APIs, which enable easy developing of individual plugins.

Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer said recently to Shawn Langlois from MarketWatch at Thames Valley confab: “Social media is still pretty nascent. Businesses are finally starting to realize it isn’t going away, and now they’re asking what it means for their dot-com.” Gigya‘s success proves exactly that: the company has grown from a “simple” start-up with a big idea to a company whose technology is used in more than 500,000 websites with 10 million users and a revenue of $ 25 million a year. Well-known venture capital investors like Mayfield Found or Benchmark Capital and others just secured an investing funding of $ 15.3 million to make this growth possible.

California-based Gigya just opened an office in London to increase its activities in Europe. “We were pulled here, and the timing is right,” Salyer said, mentioning newspaper customers like the Telegraph, the Evening Standard and the Independent. “We just had so many clients popping up here that we had no choice.” At present Gigya works with more than 500 enterprises, including 43% of the top 100 US companies, such as Pepsi and Verizon.

So what exactly can Gigya do for you?

Here‘s an overview of Gigya’s offers:

  • Social Identity Management allows users to login and register on your site with their social identities. Once authenticated, Gigya helps you automatically store and manage users’ social data. Features include Social Login, Cloud-hosted database, Single Sign-On and Marketing Integration.
  • Social Plugins provide a more engaging user experience by allowing your users to interact with site content and each other using their real social identities. Features include integration with the Gigya suite, complete social integration, amplified social syndication and SEO friendliness.
  • Gamification incentivizes user behaviors that benefit your business and allow your users to compete against their real friends in an engaging, gamified environment. Features include fully customizable design, complete social integration, plug-and-play options and the Analytics Dashboard.
  • 1. Game Mechanics

    Setting up game mechanics on your site is easy with Gigya’s comprehensive gamification dashboard. Within the dashboard you can easily create new challenges, assign points to various site actions, upload achievements, and define new levels.

    Integrating game mechanics on your site begins with defining which user actions to monitor and reward. User actions can be as simple as commenting, rating, sharing or liking, or as complex as uploading video content or participating in an in-depth survey. Any activity on your site can be tagged and incorporated as a gamification action.

    Setting up achievements can easily be done within Gigya’s Gamification dashboard. Achievements are represented in the form of points, levels, badges and trophies, and are unlocked when a user performs a defined action or set of actions on your site. Achievements can also be used to reward users with real-world incentives such as discounts, coupons or special offers.

    Challenges tie actions and achievements together, and are defined by an action or set of actions that take place on your site. Challenges help users progress through desired activity on your site like registering for an account, completing a profile, watching a video and reviewing content or products. Challenges can easily be modified through Gigya’s Gamification dashboard to calibrate and amplify user behaviors. Within the dashboard you can easily increase/decrease point assignments and add/adjust levels to find the perfect balance of challenges and rewards on your site.

    2. Gamification Plugins

    Gamification comes with a variety of plugins including an achievements showcase, activity feed, leaderboard, progress bar, real-time notifications and more. With Gigya, you have the option to quickly implement these ready-made plugins, or customize your own interface to match the look-and-feel of your site. All Gamification plugins are fully integrated with social networks and are designed with user engagement and retention in mind. Plugins include Leaderboard, Profile Plugin, Achievements, Notifications, Activity Feed and Progress Bar.

    3. Gamification API

    Gamification includes flexible Gamification APIs so you can easily reward users for interacting with social plugins and additional elements throughout your site. API features include Seamless Interoperability, Complete Customization, Social Integration and Integrated Analytics.

    4. Gamification Analytics

    Gamification reports provide insight into key metrics such as top users, daily activities and users by achievement or level. All Gamification reports are integrated with Gigya’s Social Analytics, and provide comprehensive social reporting across your entire site. Reports include Top Users, Daily Activity, Daily Users by Challenge, Users by Challenge, Users by Level and Filter Reports by Context.

    Users want to be engaged

    Nothing gets that done better than Game Mechanics, yet, to succeed, it must be done right. Gamification works because, at its essence, it incentivizes users to act while it subtly taps into their competitive nature. When done right, it leverages the proven principles of rewards and incentives to help create customer action. Through loyalty programs, games, and social recognition, site visitors help promote your brand and content – and they do so because they are having fun.

    According to the Gigya whitepaper, the five Keys to winning the game with game mechanics are:

    Key #1: Encourage more user-generated content

    By incentivizing content creation, your web site becomes richer, more dynamic, and engaging, and search engine optimization is improved dramatically. In fact, one of the most basic ways to improve user- generated content is to encourage feedback on the content you produce and present – such as with comments, ratings, and reviews.

    Key #2: Savvy sharing

    It’s important to promote sharing, but do so with a larger goal in mind. Sharing of content on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others is extremely powerful. And with rewards for doing so, users are even more compelled to syndicate your content. But be careful: rewarding a user simply for sharing is in violation of many of the social networks’ terms of service.

    Key #3: Feedback

    Social network reaction buttons (such as Facebook’s “Like” and Google’s “+1”) are powerful features. They serve as both content contribution and sharing tools as they allow users to express an opinion with just one click. Furthermore, you can incorporate gamification by rewarding users for “liking” content on your site — and by prioritizing the opinions and the feed activity of highly-ranked users.

    Key #4: Social login

    Social login is a powerful tool for engagement, and it brings an invaluable ingredient for gamification: the user’s social graph. Wanting to be a valued and respected part of a community is a big part of human nature, and a basic tenet of game mechanics is that users are more inclined to participate if there is a real-world benefit behind the rewards.

    Key #5: Scorekeeping

    Any effective implementation of game mechanics is clear on the rules of the game, as well as the rewards for participation. That means users need to be educated about how to achieve recognition and how to advance within the system. To educate, don’t blast them with endless notifications. Rather, consider using gentle notifications that don’t monopolize their entire screen. Additionally, rewards must have meaning, and that meaning must be understood by the entire community to have value.

    Today’s web users want to engage with the sites they visit. They want to be rewarded for their participation, and know how to find the most knowledgeable and useful members of the community. The best way to provide it for them, in a way that also builds visitors, shoppers, and long-term loyalty, is through Game Mechanics. Gamification works because it incentivizes users to act.

    By Tom Mohr