The gamification of stock trading

(Photo: Jordan News)
This week, the US Securities & Exchange Commission launched a probe into the digital engagement practices that are used by brokerage firms. Such practices include the digital advertising, communications, and user interactions with the brokerage's systems. This probe also took into account the new phenomena of the gamification of stock trading.اضافة اعلان

Stock trading and investing in financial markets has always utilized highly technical and incredibly practical systems. Platforms like Bloomberg terminal, CapIQ, and others have always had an industrial feel and look to them with almost no focus on user interface design and user friendliness.

Bankers, traders, and investment advisors also acquired reports in the form of huge financial statements and large data sets which they would granulate and organize using tools like MS Excel and SQL. Imagine a stereotypical trading floor with people sitting in front of a handful of screens with colored keyboards and strange-looking charts laid out before them; this was the reality of the trading world. 

Today, however, with the growth and popularity of smartphones and newly emerging sciences such as user experience optimization, systems are being designed around the user and how apps look and feel is highly relevant to their layout. You may notice applications are growing more and more similar in their look and feel, especially in their user experience.

Trading applications like Etoro, RobinHood, and IQ Options are probably the ones you hear of most often — it’s very likely you’ve come across them through a Facebook or YouTube advertisement. These apps were built for one purpose: To disrupt the digital trading world through gamifying the user experience  by adding colors and unique designs to each stock and providing notifications and alerts in a way people are used to with their social media.

This approach had a huge impact on the psychology of users and drastically affected their behavior. Looking at the basic MetaTrader 4 platform used by traders for the last decade or so, you can easily spot the difference.

A screengrab of the MetaTrader 4 trading platform. (Photo: MetaTrader 4)

A screengrab of the Etoro trading platform. (Photo: Etoro)

Community features similar to those of social networks allows Etoro users to share their stats and make comments on each other's trading activity.

A screengrab of the Etoro trading platform, showing the platform’s community features similar to social networks. (Photo: Etoro)

This incentivizes people to trade more and, more importantly, be tempted by crowd mentality and herd-like behavior which the broker steers by controlling content on the platform!

This can be incredibly dangerous. You need to understand that venturing into this type of platform turns investing into a video game in your pocket, and we all know what eventually happens to overrated apps on our phones — they end up changing our lives in one way or another, and usually not for the better. 

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