Way back in the day, loyalty theory held that if you rewarded someone for completing a task with a digital badge, they would be inspired to complete more and more tasks in order to earn more badges. Better yet, as the badges didn’t cost anything to produce, the program was very cost-effective.
Companies such as Badgeville built their entire business on this model, and it was highly effective until . . . participants realised a few things about badges; they don’t have any value, they’re not very effective when trying to impress family & friends, and putting them on your CV doesn’t increase your chances of landing a job.
The loyalty industry is slowly waking to the realisation that the most important element in driving engagement with a program is value; members will join a program because they believe they will receive value, and they continue to engage with a program because they perceive they are receiving value. A badge with little perceived value, therefore, is not a great driver of meaningful engagement.
Which is why Loyalty & Reward Co are confused about Facebook’s recent introduction of badges on Facebook Editor.
Facebook Editor is designed to improve places, movies, and TV shows on Facebook by using the Editor tool and “Suggest Edits” option on Pages. The tool is where all Editors can share their knowledge of the locales and media with which they are familiar. Edits can also be suggested on a Page via the “Suggest Edits” button.
To make the program more engaging, Facebook has introduced merit badges for achieving certain levels:
- Jetsetter: earn by making an edit in 10 unique cities
- Oracle: earn by suggesting 100 page edits
- Pioneer: earn by achieving 250 accepted edits
- Rookie: earn after the first edit
- The Regular: earn by making an edit on seven consecutive days
In addition, by achieving Level 30, members can win a Super Editor t-shirt.
The approach pales in comparison to Google’s Local Guides, which provides a much greater range of tangible rewards, plus superior features for submitting photos & information about places, as well as editing.
In playing with Facebook Editor, Loyalty & Reward Co found the experience to be extremely poor:
- A number of edits submitted were rejected with no explanation, despite the information being correct. One member submitted that a strip club wasn’t a museum, and the edit was rejected. Another declared Editor ‘a huge waste of our time’ because of the number of rejected edits.
- The tool continually serves up businesses in faraway locations. For example, today we were asked to confirm whether Maleny Brew Crew in Queensland should be in the category of Food & Drink. Huh? We live in Sydney. The next few were located in Western Australia. We even received one located in Texas. What the . . ?
- The Editor seems to permeate every aspect of Facebook, with no clear way to turn the notifications off. Some members were so frustrated by this they WROTE THEIR COMPLAINT POST IN CAPITALS!
It is unlikely offering badges with no value will change the experience, with many comments by members complaining they are being treated as slave labour.
It might be time for Facebook to rethink their approach. Google Local Guides is, quite simply, just doing it better.
Philip Shelper is a specialist loyalty consultant based in Sydney, Australia who obsesses about everything to do with loyalty and rewards. His company Loyalty & Reward Co are a leading loyalty management consulting firm.
Let’s connect! https://au.linkedin.com/in/philipshelper