Trying Out Captain Up

I learned about Captain Up in Eric Huber’s session at WCKC. I had been looking at Badgeos to help add a little spice to remote teambuilding, and Captain Up looked snazzier and more game-like.

Captain Up has a WordPress plugin, but you can also use it in other kinds of websites. The first step is to go to CaptainUp.com and set up an account. They use a freemium model, but the free version will handle 10,000 active users per month, so it’s a good starting point for many small businesses.

Once you’ve installed Captain Up — and the Captain Up website has great step by step instructions for WordPress installation — your website will immediately begin giving visitors badges for basic engagement interactions. Visitors see a pop up that tells them how to get points, and the default actions that win points include commenting, tweeting, and sharing.

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Once visitors have undertaken the actions, they will receive badges. The paid versions automatically sign visitors up for the game with their subscriber info, but the free version allows you to create leaderboards to encourage people to join the game via Facebook.

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A signed-up visitor gets feedback in the sidebar, including their badge-winning activities and the number of points needed to level up.

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Visitors can easily keep track of the badges they’ve earned and their community, can add profile information and work toward challenges. There is a Twitter-style activity feed as well.

At the Captain Up website, you can edit and customize your badges and challenges. There’s a nice assortment to begin with.

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You can tweak the ones that are already in place, changing parameters like what people must do to earn the badge, the points each badge provides, the description, and so forth. This is also where you turn the badges on and off. If a Beer Belly badge wouldn’t resonate with your audience, you can remove it or rename it.

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There are also several different styles available, from Casino style with glitz and chips to Holiday style with Christmas-themed badges.

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This is also where you can set up a new badge.

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You can also check your site’s Captain Up analytics.

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From the standpoint of business, this seems like a fun way to help your team remember to tweet your company blogposts. But will visitors to your website watch videos and comment just to get a badge? And if they did, would it have any effect on the bottom line?

It depends on your audience.

However, we can see lots of situations in which Captain Up would be very useful, assuming you get in and customize it. Political action websites, distance learning sites, and websites encouraging people to take actions in their own lives could benefit from giving rewards. Communities and forums can use the badges to identify the most loyal contributors (who are also often the most useful sources of info for new people).

  • Your Pilates studio could give badges for attending sessions, for bringing friends, for watching instructional videos, or for encouraging other members.
  • Your medical practice could give badges for wellness visits, for visits to your patient portal, or for reading patient education articles.
  • Your ecommerce site could certainly set up a loyalty program with Captain Up, giving discounts for reaching certain levels of expenditure.

The ease of use of this program is impressive, and it can be used right out of the box. You can also easily customize it with your own badges and actions. If you have been looking for a gamification plugin, we’d say this is the one to go with. Go to the Captain Up website to see it in action.

If you want lots more information about ways to use Captain Up and about gamification in general, check out this post by Yu-Kai Chou.


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