Report from Recyclebank, ROI Research and Google Reveals the Impact of Social Gaming on Green Behaviors

Jun 22, 2011 12:00 AM ET

 ·        Study shows how Recyclebank’s Earth Month “Green Your Home Challenge”
 influenced consumer awareness and motivated real-world actions

·        Findings indicate that incorporating gaming techniquessuch as contests, rewards and interactive contentcan engage people around social and environmental issues, and influence offline behavior change



Press Release

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) NEW YORK, NYWEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 2011Recyclebank®, the company that rewards people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals from local and national businesses, in partnership with consumer insights agency ROI Research and Google Inc., today announced the release of a joint report, “Using Games for Good: Motivating A Shift in Consumer Behavior with Social Gaming.” The report, conducted over the month of April during Recyclebank’s nationwide Green Your Home Challenge, reveals gaming techniques can be effective in moving individuals along the spectrum of sustainability, with great potential to create widespread movements around social and environmental causes.  

The report is available for free download at
Gaming has recently emerged as a compelling way to engage and motivate individuals, and mobilize the masses around causes in a way that can have a significant impact. Recyclebank’s recent Green Your Home Challenge used several gaming techniques, often referred to as gamification, to motivate participants to learn about green living and to take small green actions. Gamification refers to the practice of using games in non-game environments as a way to encourage people to adopt desired behaviors, an approach in line with the Challenge’s goal to increase awareness of everyday actions people can take to live more sustainable lives—and do so in an entertaining way. In total, nearly 49,000 individuals participated in the Challenge.
“The data and insights we’ve gained from the partnership with Google and ROI Research confirm our philosophy that the carrot is a very effective approach to motivating a major shift in consumer behavior, and that people are eager to learn how they can live greener lives,” said Javier Flaim, senior vice president of global marketing at Recyclebank. “We’ve already started implementing some of the lessons we’ve learned to create the best possible experience for our members and ensure that our future initiatives make the biggest impact on the environment.”
Through their partnership in quantifying the impact these online gaming efforts can have on individuals’ behavior, Recyclebank, Google Analytics and ROI Research have identified the following major findings:
·        Gamification can increase awareness of positive environmental actions. Ninety-seven percent of the Challenge participants surveyed said the game increased their knowledge about how to help the environment. This confirms Recyclebank’s belief that games can be an effective way to educate consumers on green living.
·        Games can drive individuals to take positive social and environmental actions. Fifty-four percent of existing members and 58 percent of new members said they are very or extremely likely to take green actions as a result of participating in the Challenge. This indicates that online games can be effective in encouraging real-world positive behavior change, as demonstrated in the following bullet.
·        Games hold power to impact actual green actions. When reviewing the reported green actions for those surveyed both before and after the contest, there were significant increases in several actions that were featured in the Green Your Home Challenge and even some that weren’t mentioned at all prior to the launch of the game. For example:
What green actions do you take?              Pre           Post         % ±
I turn off the lights                        18%        26%          +44%
I use CFL/eco bulbs                       28%        38%          +36%
I conserve water/energy              34%        45%          +32%
I buy local produce                        0%          14%          ----
I wash clothes in cold water        0%          7%            ----
·        Games are an effective and appealing educational tool. Eighty-six percent agreed online games and contests can be a good way for companies and brands to inform and educate them personally, and 73 percent thought games/contests are a good way for companies to interact with consumers in general. The data also confirmed this; compared to visitors, Challenge participants spent nearly three times as long on the site learning about ways to live greener, and viewed nearly three times more pages. This indicates a significant opportunity to use games as a means to not only entertain, but also educate people on the environment and other causes in a way that truly resonates. 
“Gaming for good is an incredibly exciting area of study, and through this report we’ve gleaned some valuable insights into how it can be leveraged to inspire people to action,” said Scott Haiges, president of ROI Research. “Not all games are created equal, however; through our research and Google’s powerful analytics, we learned that to truly engage around a cause or issue, games should be educational and interactive; make an online and offline connection; and have social elements that enable the participant to get their friends involved.”
“This partnership has been exciting on many levels; we’ve been able to take advantage of the advanced analytic capabilities of Google Analytics, while also getting a better understanding of how gamification can motivate people’s actions,” said Sophie Chesters, product marketing manager at Google. “We look forward to applying these insights to our future work with Recyclebank and ROI Research.”
Following the success of the Green Your Home Challenge, ROI Research and Google also are partnering with Recyclebank to measure the effectiveness of the company’s future challenges, the first of which launched today. Called the “Green Your Vacation Contest,” the newest challenge tackles summer travel by showing participants how they can make their vacations greener. Learn more at
Recyclebank helps create a more sustainable future by rewarding people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals from more than 3,000 local and national businesses. Through its online platform and partnerships with municipalities, haulers, small businesses and corporate brands, Recyclebank is empowering individuals to make a collective impact on the environment by increasing household recycling, reducing household energy usage and taking other environmentally-preferred actions. Recognized as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Programme and for Outstanding Excellence in Public/Private Partnerships from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Recyclebank is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit
ROI Research Inc. is a leader in consumer insights and multi-channel consumer behaviors. Since 2002, ROI has provided its clients with data-driven marketing strategies that optimize marketers’ ability to communicate with consumers for acquisition targeting, viral propagation, and to drive consumers deeper into the engagement funnel. ROI leverages a number of proprietary tools and technologies to gain an in-depth understanding of consumer attitudes and behaviors, then works closely with its clients to develop, implement, and measure the effect of strategic marketing initiatives. Top businesses that rely on ROI Research for marketing insights include: Microsoft, Google, Epsilon and Genentech. For more information, please visit
Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit
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Amy Ziari
The Bateman Group for Recyclebank
Kraig Smith
PReturn Inc. for ROI Research