Most of us would be happily surprised to receive a bonus for no particular reason, whether they are free vouchers in a coffee shop or an extra few days of holiday at work, but they are often few and far between.
However, the same cannot be said for the digital environment, where it seems that rewards and benefits are given out for doing almost anything. But why are they so common online, when people are so hesitant to give them out ‘in real life’?
One of the reasons is the ‘gamification’ of the internet. Gamification, according to Merriam Webster, is ‘the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something so as to encourage participation’. So, doing a survey online, or completing a task could get you a reward like a badge, or money in the form of a cryptocurrency.
This method is also used in the real world, for example, when you receive a loyalty card from an establishment you visit frequently, and are rewarded with, say, a free coffee, after you have bought ten. Gamification has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly in the digital world, which is unsurprising when you think of the audience they are aiming it at- the millennials.
Current and future generations are now, thanks to modern technology, used to much more instant gratification and easy entertainment which is what gamification provides. Receiving bonuses has become more normalized, and so, gaming sites or businesses who don’t offer them decline in popularity, making those websites that do more, ubiquitous.
Another reason is how good a marketing technique it is at such a low cost to whoever is using it. Most companies cannot afford to reward their customers constantly, as it would be detrimental to their business, whereas, in a digital environment, where the person is receiving a digital bonus or reward, there is little cost on the part of the giver.
It is particularly popular on websites that already feature rewards, as the bonuses encourage you to keep playing. For example, gambling websites like casinogames.ca aggregate the free spins and extra lottery entries from companies in the industry, which tempt new players to use them, and old players to stick with them.
And these bonuses cost very little for the companies themselves because, by playing, you are helping them to gain that money back.
Furthermore, it allows businesses to gain the type of customer that they want, which can be hard when you don’t have a storefront or TV adverts. By offering bonuses and rewards, you filter out the customers that are really interested in your products or services – an older man is unlikely to claim rewards from a shop designed for teenage girls and young women.
It gives companies a chance to find their base and entice those of a similar demographic. Whether it be retail, groceries or movie tickets, people who utilize a service frequently will take advantage of the rewards that they discover online. There are even companies that help others to create their reward systems.
It seems that these bonuses are intertwined with the nature of digital environments and we will likely see more of them as we live our lives, increasingly, online.