Guest Blog: Adactus Housing – Gamifying Resident Involvement

As part of the NHC’s work highlighting the best practice of our members, we are delighted to host a guest blog from Jon Jackson from the Digital Projects Team at Adactus Housing Group about innovative ways to ‘game’ resident involvement.

The Digital Projects Team was established at Adactus Housing Group in 2015 to deliver work defined by the ambitious Customer Care Strategy approved earlier that year. The team are working hard on projects such as setting up a new automated customer portal, automated telephone systems, and digital engagement with tenants through the Adactus500. The team have adopted a “working out loud” approach and have set up a blog to share their successes (and failures) to a wider audience.

If you haven’t read my last post, “how to “gamify” resident involvement“, make sure you take a look!

In my post, I talked about how we aim to increase customer engagement, through the Adactus500, and make use of their efforts to help improve our efficiency – specifically in terms of photo submissions.

Well, we’re delighted to now have the “levels” functionality up and running – thanks to @wilsoncooke – BUT – if you build it….they probably won’t come…..because nobody knows it’s there…..! Cue marketing!

Simple, right? Just email all our customers, and all our Adactus500 members, and tell them how great it is. Possibly, yes, but here we are launching #gamification, so it felt like we were missing a trick just doing the same old thing we always do. Not only that, but with a new online portal from 1st Touch on the horizon, we needed to test some #nudge theory to help with some channel shift when the time is right. It was time to test the water!

We decided to stick to emails. Letters have a better “conversion” rate, but they’re expensive and time consuming. We’ve got around 5300 email addresses for current customers, so taking out our Adactus500 members that left us with just under 4000 non-members to market to (we approached members separately).

Our options

We split the contact list into three, using Excel to randomise for us (not just for the integrity of the test, but we also had a feeling it might get competitive!). One email would be based purely on Gamification, one on Nudge theory and then finally a standard email as a control.

Gamification Email

Suzy opted for the Gamification email…..she pulled together a neat little leader board to include on the email. With a bit of redaction for data protection reasons, she then set it up so the email recipient would appear in the leaderboard at a mystery position. The theory being that it’s human nature to want to be at the top of a leader board, so maybe customers would be motivated to get involved.


Nudge email

I chose to put the Nudge email together – not without a sense of competitiveness…..

Part of the Nudge theory is about people wanting to adhere to the norm in their “group”. So, for example, you might receive a letter encouraging you to take action on tax returns or reducing your energy usage for example. A Nudge based letter wouldn’t just tell you about the benefits, it would also include some information about people in your area, in similar houses, or even age group etc, and how you compare to them. It makes the figures relate more directly to how the recipient might stand out from the crowd, rather than just being generic stats you can excuse yourself from. It’s a bit of a “keeping up with the Joneses” situation.

My choice was to base it all on voucher collection by Adactus500 members, specifically in the recipients area, so for example – “the average member in your part of Sefton has collected £43 worth of vouchers”:

Nudge wording1


Finally, we had to pull together a standard email, just stating the facts and encouraging customers to join in. Actually, once we’d got into thinking of gamify themes and nudge speak, the hardest bit was trying to do a control email without any hint of either!

The results

We use Dotmailer for all our email campaigns. It’s easy to use, flexible in terms of design options, and it gives us useful stats in terms of how many of our emails have been opened, and click through rates. On top of this, we compared each list to see how many new members signed up to give us a conversion rate.

Gamification – Unique opens 29.89%, user click through 5.92%, conversion 1%

Nudge – Unique opens 31.08%, user click through 7.53%, conversion 2%

Control – Unique opens 35.02%, user click through 2.63%, conversion 1%

(compare this to Mailchimp’s email campaign averages for non profits: Unique opens 25.29%, Clicks 2.85%)

Importantly, I won with my Nudge based email. Perhaps more importantly, the overall impact of this campaign was very low. But it wasn’t about that, it was about comparison. Results clearly show that although similar numbers opened the email, the control option failed to encourage much interest as very few recipients clicked on the link. But interestingly, there was more interest in the nudge campaign than the gamification leaderboard.

We think this is simply because in terms of the leaderboard, recipients weren’t already involved, weren’t already part of the race, and therefore perhaps their potential position on this board is less important than it might have been for an existing members – I feel another test coming along!

Our new portal is taking shape, we’ll be blogging about this again soon, but suffice to say we have a few more ideas now in terms of “nudging” our customers towards alternative channels.


If you’d like to find out more, contact the team via Twitter:

Suzannah Robinson, Digital Projects Manager: @Suzy_Adactus

Jon Jackson, Digital Projects Officer: @Jon_Adactus