Octalysis Breakdown of TradeVille

(This analysis is provided by G Fadlun)

Introducing the product

I will run an analysis on a company’s product I am working on, a Binary Options Broker trading platform coded name  TradeVille.
TradeVille allows registered users to run online trading investments on given assets, basically betting on the foretold result of the market, for the same asset, in a chosen time frame (60 sec. and up).

TradeVille is a regulated brand targeted for European users from different countries and languages. Desired actions for this product are (in this order of commitment): registration of a new account, depositing funds and trading.

Running Octalysis through TradeVille and analyzing why it is engaging through the 8 Core Drives.

CD 1 – Epic Meaning and Calling

The website lures users with a promise of easy success and wealth.
As weak as it is, this message is probably the closest thing to a “Calling”; and raises the question “Why should I use this product”, with a quick answer of “To easily become rich and powerful.”

Estimated CD 1 Octalysis score: 1 (very weak)

CD 2 – Development and Accomplishment

Upon registration, the website offers an educational webinar that teaches users about the trading platform and the different features it offers. An average sense of development comes from the educational programO it helps our users gain a sense of accomplishment through a “winning state.” This is achieved by using a personal strategy of investment and results to increasing funds through knowledge and skill.

Estimated CD 2 Octalysis score: 3 (weak with potential)

CD 3 – Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback

This is where the product becomes interesting.
Users are able to choose how much they want to bet, on which asset, currency, stock or index and which range of time the bet will cover.
The game itself allows the use of any strategy they prefer, based on their own knowledge of the market or their funds, to achieve the wining state (Meaningful choice GM#11).
The platform allows the use of different combinations on specific trades to gain more from the asset chosen (Combos).
Based on current economic events, users receive constant offers which work as boosters which can be beneficial for a higher chance of success.

There is, therefore, a perception of being the author of your own fortune with almost instant feedbacks, although the result of an investment will still depend on market behavior (CD 7 Unpredictability & Curiosity).
Given the nature of the game, which is based on the current economic market, the mechanic is always valid and to be considered as an Evergreen.

Estimated CD 3 Octalysis score: 6 (average good motivation)

CD 4 – Ownership and possession

The product is based on trading and winning/losing real money; therefore there is a big sense of protection towards the balance and great motivation to increase it. (Protection)
Users are divided, depending on the program they join, in categories or VIP statuses, which grant them additional services, education or priorities compared to those of a “lower status”. Additionally, there are promotions offering bonuses or prizes rewarding users after a desired action, like Deposit or Trades (Earned Lunch). Users can always monitor their progress and check their History of transactions and trades, increasing their sense of ownership and possession (Monitoring). The more the users feel to be experts, especially after viewing several educational webinars, the more they will invest while growing in confidence and knowledge (Learning Curve).

Estimated CD 4 Octalysis score: 5 (Average motivation)

CD 5 – Social Influence & Relatedness

Every user has a personal agent assigned to them who they can refer to for special advices on managed accounts. The personal agent will call the client often to give advices, suggestions or updates on recent market reviews, creating a Tutorship relation that pushes users to take advantage of the product. (Touting)

Most decisions are made after reading reviews, market events, signals and experts advices. These aspects influence user’s trades and sometimes offer a Water Cooler environment from the game like blogs, forums, and economics focused portals. However, webinars are the only moment in which users perceive the presence of other players on the platform during educational courses. (Mentorship).

Estimated CD 5 Octalysis score: 4 (Scarce but yet present motivation)

CD 6 – Scarcity & Impatience

This is one of the strongest Octalysis CDs on this product.
Binary Options trading is built on Scarcity and Impatience, also using a mix of Unpredictability (CD 7) while a user awaits the result of a trade.
Appointment Dynamics regulate the trading. A user will have to wait 60 seconds to a month or year to finally know the outcome of their investment. Throttle is a natural consequence of trading with real money. Once the balance is depleted, money needs to be deposited again in the account (insert coin to play).

Moats are implemented when giving access to special services only when playing enough (turnover) or joining a special VIP status package.
Being dynamic by nature, the market always changes and drives result in different directions making things more interesting. (Refreshing content).

Estimated CD 6 Octalysis score: 7 (pretty strong)

CD 7 – Unpredictability & Curiosity

This is another strong aspect of TradeVille, which is basically a gambling site. Trading is the main action in this “game” and it is strictly related to the results and rates of market creating a strong sense of unpredictability and curiosity. Random Rewards are given by periodic promotions, offering different deals. Sudden calls from personal agents offering Easter Eggs as bonuses or advices on market events and deals are also an option.

Estimated CD 7 Octalysis score: 7 (pretty strong)

CD 8 – Loss & Avoidance

This is a very strong Octalysis CD on TradeVille and it is not to be underestimated.
Several promotions, offering deals on special events, always have an expiration date, which adds a sense of urgency and Evanescence of Opportunity. Sunk cost tragedy doesn’t involve a real progress or status loss as much as a real loss of investment. The user already spent and lost money which they won’t be able to win back if they decide to leave the game. A user also wants to keep playing as much as he wins, to accumulate more (blissful productivity), and as much as he loses to get back what he lost (Sunk Cost Tragedy).

The market also moves forward, adding a strong feeling of losing opportunities of investment on “easy trading” (FOMO).
Losing all credit and balance undoubtedly involves a progress loss as users associate a zero balance to their failure and loss of all the money invested (visual grave).

Estimated CD 8 Octalysis score: 7 (Pretty strong)

Applying the Octalysis Framework Tool to TradeVille

“Your experience is fairly balanced in both White Hat and Black Hat Core Drives. Also, you seem to have a great balance between Left Brain and Right Brain Core Drives, which means you likely have a good balance between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. Just be very careful because Extrinsic Motivation designed badly may kill Intrinsic Motivation.”

How to increase the product’s engagement through Octalysis

What is missing and what can be added.

CD 1 – Epic Meaning and Calling

This is the weakest of the Octalysis CDs on TradeVille and therefore the ones that can be improved the most.
TradeVille is obviously missing a sense of Epic meaning and Calling to something greater than the single user.

The product is known as a profiting business which people easily associate to gambling and therefore to a “vampire entity” only willing to “take your money”. People play the game to become richer, not to make the world a better place but that can be changed by completely shifting the concept of the business. What would happen if TradeVille would donate 1% of all funds lost by users to beneficence? The user wouldn’t feel so upset anymore about losing his money, knowing that at least 1% of the money he lost would go to help people in real need.

The company wouldn’t lose so much money, in fact, all the money donated every single month would buy better advertising than anything else. It would also attract even more users by the chance of making money and in the meanwhile be a humanity hero (GM #27). This results in the product becoming a winO win situation for both the platform and the user.

A user who reaches a certain amount of money donated (money lost), would receive recognition as a reward and maybe even be advertised on a wall of heroes.
Introducing a story to support this initiative would also give a chance to use some Narrative (GM #10) during the onboarding phase and Elitism (GM #26), during scaffolding phase. This would divide user’s donations by country, city or even creating groups of affectionate traders of a specific trading asset.

CD 2 – Development and Accomplishment

There is a lot of potential here and I already developed an entire system to increase this specific Core Drive. PBL – Points, Badges, Leaderboard serve us well in this case.
I created a virtual currency of points (exchangeable points GM #75) along with Status Points (GM #1) to support a level based system (Level up Symphony). Levels are gained by Status points, which are basically the total turnover of the user (Only growing) while currency, or exchangeable points, are still earned by turnover but also by other means, and their number increases and decreases constantly while they are earned and spent.

A Progress bar (GM#4) increases every time the user places a trade stating the player progress and how long is needed to reach next level (Milestone unlock GM#19).
Note: both status and exchangeable points are earned on trades no matter the result of the trade, so the user is always earning something from desired actions. Badges (GM#2) are given when completing missions (Quest List) or achievements which also increase exchangeable points.

Leaderboards are introduced on a weekly basis and are related to weekly tournaments. Players have access to tournaments only when reaching the 2nd level (Moats) and can earn lots of currency points there. They also face Boss Fights (GM#14) as Group Quests (GM#22 CD#5), to reach a certain total amount of Exchangeable points (between all participants) before the time expires (Count Down CD#6).

CD 3 – Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback

This CD is pretty well developed already, since trading involves personal knowledge and meaningful choices, but I didn’t see the reason why I could not add some spice in it.
What I did was add “Special powerOups” (Boosters GM# 31) which also give more meaning to gaining levels within the system since, otherwise, there wouldn’t be so much reason to level up, right?

Basically powers are acquired by spending currency points and reaching a level which unlocks the chance to pay and buy the power.

Powers need to be activated by paying exchangeable points and each power has three levels of effectiveness, which again, can be unlocked and acquired only reaching a specific level and paying in currency points (Moat).
Now the result is that, the more the user grows in levels, the more meaningful choices are presented resulting in wider possibilities, strategies and Combos a player can decide to use while trading. The game becomes much more exciting this way and users begin to learn to use powers, slowly growing into their levels and learning how to combine them (Learning Curve).

Since at the beginning, a user can only use one power per trade and later he will be able to combine up to three powers on the same trade. There is Choice Perception, Milestone unlocks, Evergreen Mechanics, Combos, Autonomy and Instant FeedbackO all planned to last.

CD 4 – Ownership and possession

Introducing PBL’s was literally a “Butterfly Effect” for all other CDs and it helped a lot when designing all other elements and balancing them.
A great missing point on TradeVille is still a proper sense of ownership of a user’s account. People register and fill forms full of personal details to be able to play and trade and then forget about their account until someone asks them for documents to prove their identity (Regulation process).

People don’t even use a nickname; they are given an ID number and access to their account using their emails, so I thought: “why don’t we give a meaning to that account?” The first step was adding a proper username to the player, upon which users can recognize themselves then of course an Avatar (GM#13) which could be an uploaded image or one picture from a selection provided by TradeVille. Avatars would show also the level achieved, giving importance to it and adding a nice bragging/tout flag element (GM#57 and GM#64).

Users will be able to change or modify their avatars growing in their level, choosing between more options given and being able to personalize their “appearance” more.
Accounts will also contain information to be shared with others about achievement or status from registration until the last minute update, which will give a sense of evolution to the account (Built from Scratch GM#43). Later in the Game, I was planning to introduce a third status point, which would be called “Prestige point”, introducing Virtual goods (GM#8) and Collection Set (GM#16) to be bought with currency points. This GM however will be introduced on a later version.

A major sense of possession, along with badges and achievements earned “on the shelf”, will increase the Protection sense of the users toward their account giving more meaning to CD#4.

CD 5 – Social Influence & Relatedness

Social Influence and Relatedness is probably the trickiest CD to improve.
Right now the platform does not support social interaction between users and for good reasons. Changing the way the users behave on the “game”, would

maybe allow more social interaction, but until that will be possible, everything is restricted to Social Networks.
Leaderboards will without a doubt give more sense of participation of other users along with more sense of competition.

Tournaments will push people to compete between themselves or help each other to beat the Boss Fight before the time expires (Group Quest GM#22) but as already mentioned this won’t be ideal without direct contact the users.
Users may be able to click on someone else’s nickname to check a summary of another user’s achievements and badges.

Maybe in the future even be able to request advice, give mentorship or interact within an internal chat. For now, the implementation of Water cooler websites will be enough.
We will create wiki pages and discussion pages where users will discuss about better strategies to follow to level up faster or have better results on trades and where currency points are well spent or wasted. This will definitely increase a sense of community on TradeVille.

CD 6 – Scarcity & Impatience

The games already have a high level of Black Hat – Scarcity Core Drive elements which I wouldn’t increase at this point. What I would do is add some more Appointment Dynamics (GM#21) to which the user would refer to comply with the desired action.

The introduction of powerOups of course implies the use of a few other game techniques like Evolved UI (GM#37). Meaning that as the user grows; they learn how to use more powers and how to combine them. In addition, we can introduce Torture Breaks (GM#66), which force the users to wait a specific amount of time after buying a new power to be able to activate it (Countdown). PowerOups will also increase their function when upgraded by spending a considerable amount of virtual currency (Big Burns) and then will be activated every time a user wants to take advantage of them.

A wealthier user, in terms of Virtual Currency, may like to pay an amount of his exchangeable points to end prematurely the waiting time and use the power instantly without having to wait.
This will dramatically increase the use of exchangeable points, creating a sense of scarcity and introduce a final Black Hat technique, Anchored Juxtaposition (GM#69), as a user in need of more virtual currency, may like the idea to buy a great number of it for some real currency, instead of earning it in time by trading larger amounts of real money.

CD 7 – Unpredictability & Curiosity

Given the nature of the “Game”, the product is already well developed on this CD, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved with more exciting elements.
Most of unpredictability on this product is focused on the trade’s outcome the user awaits impatiently. I like the idea of shifting some of user’s attention to other elements like Rolling Rewards (GM#74) granted to all active users every week, Mystery Boxes (GM#72) granting any kind of reward, from more virtual currency to virtual goods or boosters.

Focusing more on the onboarding phase, I would use some Glowing Choices (GM#28) to guide new users through the platform and throughout the gaming system, showing from the beginning and every time they gain a new level, what their new powers are and how they could use them to their advantage.

Some valuable techniques I would add from the beginning until the end game phase is Narrative (GM#10) and Visual storytelling furthermore increasing user’s sense of curiosity.

CD 8 – Loss & Avoidance

Last but not least, this Core drive is already well developed and I would feel it would be dangerous to increase it furthermore. Nonetheless the main issue in this product is the user’s focus on the loss of their capital, which brings frustration and desire to leave the game.

Tournaments come handy on this, shifting the attention from the loss of their capital to new earning opportunities. Tournaments will be organized to be weekly, there will be an entry fee (symbolic one) and closed numbers, although there will be several tournaments organized by user’s level. This will significantly increase a sense of Evanescence Opportunity (GM#86).
Furthermore, every tournament will have its own Leaderboard especially on Group quest tournaments, where all participants share join their efforts to beat the Boss, users will suffer from the Scarlet Letter game technique, pushing themselves try harder to get the big Reward.

The 4 Phases of Engagement within TradeVille product.

Discovery

Right now, the Discovery Phase is purely advertising on related websites and networks based on our Affiliating Marketing system. TradeVille is a regulated and European oriented product which grants security and fairness to its users. Once the new system is introduced, my plan is to insist much more on the experience itself, unique and different from any other product alike.

Onboarding

Right now on the onboarding phase, users are engaged by customer support and personal agents calling on the phone and contacting via chat on the platform. New users are guaranteed, after a first commitment, an introductive webinar on how to use the trading platform.

Along with that, users will be introduced to the new system, explained through F.A.Q. pages, Terms and Condition pages, Glowing Choices, Narrative, tooltips.

Scaffolding

During scaffolding phase, users are constantly in touch with their personal agents and engaged by promotional emails and popOups on the platform.

Introducing the system will change the dynamics of interaction between personal agents and users, as the latter agents won’t have to interfere with game’s mechanics helping to avoid shifting the whole delicate balance structure around it.

The more the user play to increase their level, more strategies and more opportunities will arise, pushing the player along the journey to End Game phase.

Endgame

After the long journey to this phase, users will still be engaged by the Evergreen Mechanic of trading, scaled up by a now full entourage of powers to be used and combined between them, to try to take advantage of different strategies.
Along with that top level users will be granted new exclusive tournaments, to which only them have access and will grant end game prizes, exclusive Virtual goods to increase their “Prestige Points”, bragging features and of course competition between the “Big Shots” on the platform.

Every week/month/overall there will be a champion (Crowning CD#2) and champions that last longer on top will be granted with special unique powers.

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