Gamification triggers the reward system in your brain. It initiates and develops feelings of positivity and pleasure. This is exactly why it is becoming a popular element of present-day marketing strategies.
It engages your audiences and motivates them to participate more by promising a reward at the end. And the best part is that this reward could be a discount, an actual gift, or maybe something as little as a sense of winning. All of them yield the same result.
Imagine how you’d feel if I send you a riddle in an email, you solve it, and I tell you that only 1% of people in the world can solve this riddle. It will make you feel special. You would want to solve more of such riddles and feel even more special.
That’s all gamification is about. Of course, the example above was fictitious to give you an idea. Real gamification strategies are based on facts, truths, and statistics. If they tell you that you belong to the one percent rare population who managed to solve the riddle, then that’s exactly the case!
With that said, we’ll be exploring this concept in greater detail in this post. Let’s get started!
What is marketing gamification?
By definition, marketing gamification is a technique wherein game design elements are used to engage and retain users.
Customers or potential customers are asked to perform an action, and they are promised a reward in exchange for the action that they perform.
Some commonly used game elements include:
- Virtual Currency
- Progress Bars
These game elements bring in a sense of participation and keep your customers returning. They come back to avail of the benefits and rewards they’ve won. They also do not want to lose the progress that they’ve made so far.
It is noteworthy that gamification marketing techniques help non-gaming apps more than gaming apps and websites.
For example, there’s this game Sonic Forces. This game comprises an in-app leaderboard. Now, considering that the game and its different levels have a similar framework, there’s a very low chance this leaderboard will help with retention.
Also, it is very hard for the player to retain a position in this leaderboard since a lot of people play the game. Plus, there are hardly any other benefits except for leaderboard positioning.
A player already wins a level, and there they acquire a sense of winning. It is fulfilled. As a result, the position on the leaderboard holds little value. The same applies to in-game badges and challenges.
In comparison to this, the rewards and challenges section on a food delivery app called foodpanda is much more successful.
The points, rewards, discounts, and badges that the user receives by completing food-ordering challenges brings a great sense of achievement and make them feel like they’ve killed two birds with one stone. Or putting it simply: they got greater value for the money they’ve spent.
Hence, the challenges and rewards section in the non-gaming, food delivery app (i.e., foodpanda) has greater effectiveness as compared to a gaming app like Sonic Forces.
Apart from digital marketing, gamification can also be incorporated in physical marketing events. Although it’s rare, it works great for B2B marketing events. For example, companies can arrange digital games in their conference booths. Learn how does that benefit host companies in the next section.
How gamification can help improve your marketing?
The concept of gamification in marketing was introduced back in 2010. And it has only bloomed ever since. It’s become popular and popular every passing day.
That’s because it comes with numerous benefits. These include:
Improves User Engagement
Your audience can read content like blogs and emails. They can watch videos and listen to audio-based podcasts. At best, they can scroll to know more. There’s nothing else these content forms can do to engage the users and prompt them to interact.
However, when it comes to gamified elements, the user has to click. And this increases user engagement.
Apart from that, gamification in marketing increases user engagement in the following ways as well:
- Makes customers feel in control as they explore the gamification element and figure out how to get greater rewards
- Creates a competitive environment
- Gives a sense of achievement by showing progress bars or earned rewards
Helps Collect Data
Data is the heart of digital marketing. The more you know about your customers, the better you can market your existing product or service to your customer.
Gamification elements help collect data conveniently. For example, you can send a short, sweet quiz to your customer’s inbox and offer them some points for answering the questions. In this way, they will reveal their likes and preferences to you without feeling interviewed.
Note that these questions shouldn’t be direct. You can ask for their preferred means of communication by asking them to vote with a question phrased as follows:
“Emails are too boring”
- Yes, I don’t even open them.
- No, emails are everything.
- It depends on the sender and subject line.
You can use the collected data to improve your digital marketing strategies.
Similarly, if you arrange conference booth games, you can collect 10x more data. Suppose you arrange three-question long trivia, which asks the player about their likes and dislikes.
If their answers support a certain stance (e.g., classify them as fun co-worker), it boosts their morale in the event and provides you with data to use for your marketing strategies.
Increase Brand Awareness
Gamifying elements in marketing strategies are often far from direct sales. This, in turn, gives the brand a fun, playful vibe. It gives the human element to your company and gives a chance to audience to engage with your brand without buying anything.
It’s more like a free experience for them.
If you manage to deliver a good experience they may convert. Plus, if the gamifying element is engaging itself – it may become viral and bring you loads of exposure.
Increases Conversion Rates
When your audience engages with the game and wins a reward, they’re likely to reap complete benefits. For example, if you rewarded them with a 20 percent discount, they’ll likely use it. And in this way, they’ll purchase from you.
If they like the product/service, they’ll visit again. And if they don’t, you can ask for honest feedback to further improve the quality you deliver.
Best Examples of Gamification in Marketing
Gamification has penetrated so deep into our lives and routines that I bet you’d be surprised at some of the examples below. Marketers have been applying this marketing tactic to you for ages!
Snapchat scores and streaks have become a status symbol amongst youngsters. The higher, the better.
Streak is a gamifying technique that compels the user to click at least one picture using Snapchat and exchange it with a friend in a span of 24 hours. You lose the streak if you or your friend forget to send a picture clicked with Snapchat in a span of 24 hours.
As of yet, Snapchat is not selling anything with this gamification element. But the company is increasing and promoting the use of its app. It’s a popular trend, and many people have kept streaks for years.
Currently, the highest streak record holders are Samko and Fatmis. They have a streak of 2492, which means nearly seven years!
KFC Shrimp Attack
Recently, KFC Japan partnered with Gamify to introduce a game like Fruit Ninja. It’s called Shrimp Attack. Shrimps are falling from the sky, and you slice them to win rewards and challenges.
It helped KFC successfully launch a new product line and acquire a 106% rise in revenue. KFC has to cut the campaign by half in order to balance its supply and demand.
Lack of motivation is a big factor in why people are unable to achieve their fitness goals. To overcome this, Nike rewards their customers on their app when they achieve its fitness goals.
They also encourage their customers to share it on social media, which in turn creates a competitive environment. For this, they have a built-in sharing system. Users can retweet or share on Instagram and Facebook.
Duolingo has a very persuasive incorporation of gamification elements. There are push notifications and emails that constantly remind the user about their current goals and progress.
Plus, each learning module within the app is divided into levels. The user has a sense of achievement with each learning module and receives scores and awards. They also encourage the users to collaborate and communicate within the app with gamifying techniques like streaks.
Coca-Cola tends to come up with the most innovative campaigns of all time. Named bottles and shake it campaigns are excellent examples of this.
The Shake It campaign became particularly popular amongst young adults in Hong Kong. In this campaign, the users had to download a Coca-Cola app and shake their phones up and down when Coca Cola ad came on the TV. As a result, they got vouchers and gifts.
The campaign increased brand awareness and helped spread feelings of positivity, optimism, and happiness. This, in turn, inclined people towards Coca-Cola.
How to add gamification to your marketing strategy?
Above, we’ve reviewed several examples of how you can add gamification to your marketing strategies. But here’s a quick recap of ideas we can pick from the campaigns mentioned above:
- Develop a dedicated gaming app
- Incorporate quizzes or clickable gaming elements in your marketing emails
- Add a level or challenge within the app
- Give rewards and badges within the app or via emails
- Arrange digital games in physical events
- Launch limited-time online marketing games with a promising reward
You can be creative with your take on adding the gamification element to your marketing strategy. But often, the real challenge for beginners is where to begin.
How do you visualize what gamification would look like as a part of your marketing strategy? I recommend beginning your journey by exploring dedicated gamification platforms like Adact.
There are plentiful options in the market with a variety of pricing plans. Browse this guide on how to choose the best gamification software for your business before you pay.
Once you choose your gamification software, think about what would be the safest first move for incorporating a gamification element in your business. When I say safe, I mean:
- It shouldn’t be an investment that breaks the bank
- It shouldn’t annoy your customers
Say you choose to go with Adact. For your first campaign, you can run an A/B test. Divide your current clientele into two segments. Market your product/service to the first half with Adact online marketing games and the second with your usual marketing strategy.
Compare the results, and that should give you a lead on how you should proceed with it.
By now, I hope you have a clear idea about how gamification can improve your marketing strategy. It can prove to be a game-changer for your business.
From boosting brand awareness to generating profits and sales, it can turn the tables significantly. Above, I’ve quoted the most successful gamification examples. But I encourage you to explore the gamification efforts of small businesses around you as well. Good luck!