March 9, 2022

What Is Gamification and How Does it Work?

Gamification is what many consider to be the intersection of brand experience and game design. Simply put, gamification is the adoption and application of game elements and principles in a non-game context. 

The purpose of gamification is to engage and entice your audience, thus helping them grow more familiar with your brand. But how does gamification achieve that ideal? Let’s first look at how gamification works so you better understand how it can apply to your business.

How Does Gamification Work?

There are a couple of ways to view this question: how does gamification work in function, and how does it work so well to engage your audiences? We’ll try to answer both.

How Gamification Functions

The functionality of gamification depends on the kind of game or experience you wish to create. No matter the form of your game, it should give your leads an enjoyable experience in exchange for a conversion, whether that’s giving contact information, downloading a resource, or anything else.

But, for gamification to work, you need the following elements:

  • An understanding of the audience’s motivations: If your gamification strategy isn’t aligned with your audience’s goals, no one will use it. You must first identify what those goals are before developing your strategy.
  • A compelling interaction: It could be a matching game, a point system, a winning streak, or any other variety of things. Whatever it is, it should entice your audience to use your service frequently and exclusively.
  • A desirable end goal: This could be something you offer, like rewards points, or something that your interaction inspires within your audience. For example, for many health-related gamification strategies, the end goal is better health for the user.

These elements are purposefully vague because gamification can take so many different forms. Let’s go over just one example: productivity apps

Gamified Productivity Apps

Productivity apps help users complete their daily tasks in a way that’s more fun and engaging rather than simply grueling through the day. There are many ways companies have gamified productivity, including:

  • Formatting to-do lists like side quests in an RPG video game
  • Adding a point system to your progress, which you can gain or lose depending on what you do
  • Creating an avatar that levels up as you progress through your tasks and adopt new habits
  • Incorporating timers to incentivize faster completion of tasks

How do gamified productivity apps encompass those three elements we talked about earlier? Let’s break them down:

  • Audience motivation: Productivity app developers know their audience wants to become better organized and develop desirable habits. 
  • Compelling interaction: Productivity apps help take goals off of the back burner through gamified features, making the completion of those goals more incentivized and appealing.
  • Desirable end goal: The user is in complete control of their end goal. This customization makes productivity apps incredibly versatile.

How Gamification Engages Your Audience

Gamification can effectively engage your customers, employees, and leads because it gives them a feeling of accomplishment. By completing your game, they get a better idea of your brand’s personality and may feel more compelled to become loyal to your brand. In short, gamification taps into their emotions rather than just an interest in your product.

Examples of Successful Gamification Strategies

To give you a better idea of how gamification is used, check out some companies that have successfully implemented gamification into their engagement strategy.

Nike+ Run Club - Health Promotion

Nike+ Run Club is an app anyone can use to track their exercise and set activity goals. You can follow workout routines led by trained athletes, share your progress, and compete with friends in the app. This, in turn, creates a community that promotes wellness and growth.

While it does not directly promote Nike’s products, it complements what Nike sells. The more you exercise, the more exercise clothes you’ll want to buy. You can even insert what Nike gear you use during your exercises. 

Google Doodle Champion Island - General Awareness

One of the more clear examples of gamification is Google’s game they created to support the 2021 Tokyo Olympics: Doodle Champion Island. During the Olympics, Google’s visitors could play a variety of mini-games in a larger game format, all within Google’s homepage. While you may not have the manpower to create a game as robust as this one, it can give you an idea of what’s possible with gamification.

My Starbucks Rewards - Customer Loyalty

An example of unifying gamification and customer loyalty, My Starbucks Rewards lets its customers accrue points for every purchase they make at Starbucks. Then, these points can be used towards in-store purchases or reward items exclusive to the program.

This gamified reward system can essentially train new habits into its users by literally rewarding them for making purchases. In turn, customers feel valued.

Duolingo - All-Around Brand Experience

Duolingo is an example of a company that gamified its entire experience. The brand effectively made learning a language into a fun game, full of daily challenges, streaks, and difficulty levels.

Benefits of Gamification

Although we’ve hinted at some major benefits of gamification, let’s outline some direct advantages you may experience by adopting the practice into your strategy.

  • Develops brand awareness: Few things are as shareable as an engaging game. If your audience finds your game and is entertained by it, they may tell their friends and family, thus helping your word-of-mouth marketing efforts. 
  • Increases engagement: We’ve mentioned this before, but gamification can quickly and easily improve your engagement. You may notice that your leads stay on your site for longer just because they are playing your game.
  • Promotes your products: Within your gamification strategy, you can take time to explain the different benefits of your products. Nike+ Run Club does this by offering some product suggestions for different exercises. 
  • Incentivizes conversions: Leads are more likely to follow your call-to-action if a game leads them there. It is much more enticing than simply clicking on a banner ad or listening to a pop-up plea for clicks.

Create Your Own Engaging Gamification

Gamification may seem like an alluring way to generate leads and engage your audience, but how do you get started? By using CataBoom’s gamification software. With CataBoom at your side, you can create captivating games to engage your leads and boost your conversions. Contact us today to start your free trial.