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Spot the Ball Prize Competitions: how to make them work


  • August 12, 2020

Tentacle, through Spot the Ball, provides vast possibilities when it comes to prize competitions. However, the prizes and judges for these competitions are on the client– Tentacle can only consult and advise on the best practices.

We, here at Tentacle, believe that gamification is an effective tool to improve your business results – either by integrating it in your marketing or product or by using it to motivate your staff. Quality of execution determines how far you go with your objective.

Most attempts at gamification currently don’t make the cut, but successful and sustainable gamification can change customers into fans, turn work into fun, or make learning a joy. The potential is enormous.

Rewarding experience

A gamified application must offer a rewarding experience; otherwise, people are not going to use it. At the same time, its success has to be sustained.

Similarly, prizes offered through such applications are about motivation. Prizes are one area where potentially a tangible monetary reward can have actual benefits and lead to significant results. They are designed to motivate a result just like gamification is a methodical way of employing techniques to inspire. Inducement prizes like those offered in STB competitions are particular kinds of reward structures that are designed to motivate behavior. They are extrinsic rewards, requiring money. 

A well-designed inducement prize inculcates aspects of competence; it involves skill and competition by the group or person that submits the successful answer, it requires them to show mastery, to prove that they have a great solution to a tough problem. Hence, people submit for the reward not just to win the tangible reward but to demonstrate the success of the technique they have.

Moreover, it allows us a tremendous amount of flexibility and freedom, which hits on that aspect of autonomy that is crucial for intrinsic motivation.

Finally, it covers the aspect of relatedness; inducement prizes go out to everyone, to a large group of people or organizations, and they usually require coordination and collaboration among teams, and in many cases, they are about achieving some important societal goal. As for now, recent prizes are designed to achieve public policy goals like building autonomous cars. Consequently, people submit to the prize partly as a way of advancing science and knowledge. So, even though these prizes clearly have an extrinsic constituent in the tangible reward, they can be structured in ways that leverage the power of intrinsic motivation and fun as well.

So what does it take to run effective prize competitions?

As with gamification, design matters, you must come up with a contest and a system that really encourages behavior by tapping on the intrinsic motivations of the participants.

To launch successful competitions, knowing both the users and how they should fulfill the purpose of your gamified design is integral to every step of the way. It would be best if you also understood that motivations would vary according to the task, objective, and player. Likewise, gamification mechanics must suit the users. So, when you choose to run a prize competition, you should enhance the experience from the users’/players’ viewpoints by incorporating the right gamification mechanics and evaluate your design to monitor its effectiveness in boosting user engagement.


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