9 Gamification Strategy Tips Your Business Can Steal

You’ve probably heard that you can use games to motivate user engagement and increase conversion rates. But to achieve the desired results such as long-term engagement, more traffic, and higher conversions you need a clear gamification strategy. 

In this post, we’ll share nine gamification strategy tips your business can steal. 

9 Gamification strategy tips you need to know 

  1. Understand what your goals/challenges are
  2. Breaking your goals/challenges into campaigns
  3. Channels 
  4. What type of game mechanic is best suited to your goal?
  5. Don’t overemphasize prizes
  6. Collect data in a smart and non-intrusive way 
  7. Eliminate dead ends in the journey
  8. Track, analyze and improve: did you achieve your goals?
  9. Try new stuff

Why is it important to have a gamification strategy?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the game itself is the most important part. But there’s more to it than just choosing a game, and then you’re all set.

In a successful marketing gamification set-up, you need to take a strategic approach to it: map out the steps such as purpose of your campaign, goals and desired outcome, means to get there, which game mechanics to use, etc. 

If you don’t, you might end up with a campaign that, yes, can entertain your audience, but doesn’t yield the expected results. Unless your only goal is to make something that’s fun for the sake of being fun.

By implementing a gamification strategy as part of your marketing mix, you can ensure meaningful experiences, higher engagement, increased click-through-rates and sales. And still make something that’s fun for both you and your audience. 

What’s not to like? 

Here are the steps we recommend you to include in your marketing gamification strategy: 

1) Understand what your goals/challenges are

One of the most common mistakes when people start up with marketing gamification is that they start in the wrong place. They start by choosing a game! But before you even start thinking about game mechanics for your campaign, you should map out:

  1. What are your goals?
  2. What are your challenges?

You need to know what you want to achieve. Simple as that. 

Do you want: 

  • To grow your email database? 
  • To increase sales of a certain product or product category? 
  • More brand awareness? 
  • People to spend more time with your brand or on your website?
  • To enrich your existing database with more data?
  • To know about your customers’ preferences?
  • To guide your audience?

And what stands in the way of achieving your goals? If you’re in doubt it’s always a good idea to reach out to your Customer Success Manager from your marketing gamification provider. 

Here one of our dedicated Customer Success Managers, Katrine, shares her insights.

Customer Success Manager presenting

Breaking your goals and challenges into segments/campaigns

The second step in a marketing gamification strategy that’s important for any business is to break your goals and challenges down to segments and campaigns. Which of these occasions are relevant to your brand and your audience?

  • Seasonal campaigns
  • Promotional and occasional days
  • Product launches
  • Always-on campaigns
  • Ad hoc campaigns

Seasonal campaigns

Seeing a lot of marketing messages around Easter, Christmas, Chinese New Year, etc? Well, it seems like everyone is fighting for attention there. 

And we are bombarded with marketing messages. 

So try to stand out with a more captivating experience using game mechanics to:

1) Make it easier for your customers to find what they are looking for
2) Increase your brand awareness.

Enabling gamification in your seasonal campaigns is a great place to start building it into your strategy. 

For example:  

To prevent customers from leaving your website, or scroll past your organic or paid social media post faster than you can say Easter egg, you could engage them with an Easter memory game: 

Scratchcard with easter theme from Leadfamly

Or ensure engagement or re-activation of “sleeping” customers over a long period of time with a Christmas or Advent Calendar in December, just like LEGOLAND did: 

Christmas calendar from Legoland

The results are often pretty amazing. This campaign got:

  • 30,000 newsletter sign ups 
  • 66% more website users*
  • 680,000+ video views
  • 2+ million in organic Facebook reach
  • 33% more park-related purchases*

LEGOLAND accomplished this with just €1,400 in ad spend and through organic social. 

*= compared to the previous year 

Promotional and occasional days

Promotional days like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. are easy to use in your marketing campaigns. 

But there are so many more opportunities. Every week there’s something to celebrate: such as The Oscars, Get to Know Your Customer Day, World Chocolate Day, The Winter Olympics, to National Pet Day.

Can you use any of these to connect with your audience? Pick the occasions that align with your brand and target audience, but also try to include occasions that you haven’t thought about before that can grow your business. 

Here’s an example of how a skincare company uses a film to promote their skincare line: 

Skincare brand using gamification with a film topic

Many companies only use the seasonal, promotional and occasional days for their gamified campaigns. 

So if you want to stand out from the crowd, read along for gamification strategy tips that will help set you apart from the competition. 

Product launches

Launching a new product or entire category? Great! 

Do you usually just show new products on your website or on social media? A way to build more excitement around a new product coming could be a countdown clock leading into a landing page with a game. When the countdown is over the audience get access to a game that promotes the product, what the product is, what it does, etc. You can support this with video, or simply by using a video quiz format that combines game mechanics with sharing knowledge about the new product. 

Or you can use a scratchcard, where products are hidden behind the front like Ecooking did: 

Ecooking using scratch card for product launch

Or use a Memory Game, where you can display a larger number of your items. Just like Dermosil did:

Dermosil using memory game to display products

The prize could be a product from the category or a voucher to use on this new category, (get people to try it, so they will hopefully purchase from you again next time they are looking for this product). 

Then send emails about the category to people who sign up to play to stay top of mind for a longer period of time. 

Always-on campaigns

We know that the use of game mechanics increases conversion rates, brand awareness, etc. So why not leverage this key resource for more than Christmas, Easter, and other holidays? 

Do you want to know more about preferences from your loyalty club members? 

Then make an always-on nurture flow where new members are sent a link to a quiz or a personality test, so you can pick up that relevant data. Or have a dedicated landing page on your website with a registration form where people can always fill out a questionnaire, quiz, or personality test. 

The Dutch Football Club PSV has several always-on games on their website to keep their fans engaged: 

PSV football club using gamification on their website

And Natusan uses an always-on campaign with a Waste Calculator:

Natusan cat litter calculator

Ad hoc campaigns

You can’t plan everything in advance. Sometimes you just have to do stuff on the fly. Maybe because your manager came up with this (great) idea? Maybe because you have extra bandwidth to play around and try something in between already planned campaigns? Or maybe because your sales department is pushing for something?

Whether your gamified campaigns are always-on or timed, planned or ad hoc, internally driven or externally inspired, the next step is your channels. 

3) Channels

The third gamification strategy tip is to think about all of your channels. Think of every touch point you have with your customer, so gamification becomes an integrated part of your marketing mix and works for your advantage wherever it can. 

Do you use it on every channel?

Online examples:

  • Website (main page and landing pages)
  • Social media
  • Email 
  • App

It’s also powerful to use game mechanics in the physical world. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, where can you engage your audience to create a full omnichannel experience? 

Offline examples:

  • In store/showrooms (screens, QR codes on desks, etc.)
  • Packaging
  • Leaflets, posters, A-signs, menu cards 
  • Store openings
  • Events/trade fairs 

Gamification isn’t just for special occasions. So why not make gamified experiences throughout your store or showroom?  When people are browsing around, you can get a hook in them by offering them an engaging experience. If you’re a store you could urge people to scan a QR code to try a fit finder or a style guide.  

Store openings

What does a store opening have to do with a marketing gamification strategy you might think? 

A lot if you ask the fashion lifestyle brand Shaping New Tomorrow!

Shaping New Tomorrow used a gamification campaign to create brand awareness and activate people in queue when they opened a store: 

Shaping new tomorrow using gamification in the queue at store opening

People sent a text message, and received a link to a Spin The Wheel, where they could win t-shirts and boxers. Within the first 60 minutes of the campaign going live, Shaping New Tomorrow  already had 200 registrations. By the end of the day, there were nearly 600 unique registrations, each player averaging 32 game plays each! (yes, that’s really the right number!)

The campaign was such a huge success that Shaping New Tomorrow has implemented gamification for each new store opening. 

Our advice to you: 

Go beyond the red carpet, bubbles, and balloons at your next store opening and invite your audience to play an active part in it. 

Events and trade fairs

Have you ever had a stand at an event or at a trade fair and struggled to cut through the noise? Or participated at an event or trade fair and found all the stands with their pens and sweets dull and uninspiring? 

Then you’re not alone! 

A free gamification strategy tip for you: 

Catch your audience at fairs/events with game mechanics at your exhibition stand. Like in this example with a physical sliding puzzle: 

Woman playing sliding puzzle at an event

Or like in this example, where the employee has a QR code on the t-shirt, which participants can scan to enter a game:

QR code on t-shirt

4) What type of game mechanics is best suited to your goal?

Human psychology is a powerful thing. When cultivated effectively through an experience it can yield promising results. 

Consider which game mechanic you can use to support your goal of turning your audience from unengaged to engaged: 

  • To compete
  • To be challenged
  • To be rewarded
  • To have fun
  • To mirror

As humans, we are hardwired to compete, to be challenged, and to play to win. Maybe because it releases feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine. The challenge or game itself can, in some instances, be the reward as well. To have fun may seem like a no-brainer and something that all brands strive for. However, it is important. There is so much competition for brands, so one way to stand out is to make the experience fun.

We also like to compare ourselves to others (to mirror). It fills our very human need to see and feel that we belong and answer the question, “How do I measure up (against others)?”. 

5) Don’t overemphasize prizes

The best gamified campaigns aren’t about the prize, but about the experience itself. According to our recent consumer research with YouGov of 5,563 people “the size and value of a prize is less important than winning”. Winning a voucher is more valuable than being given a voucher.  

Food for thought!

See more interesting stats in the report:

Ebook Marketing is a Data Game

And sometimes a prize isn’t even necessary! 

Just look at polls, quizzes, personality tests, etc. Here the challenge or the mirroring is the center. 

6) Collect data in a smart and non-intrusive way 

Zero- and first-party data collection and data enrichment is on everyone’s lips these days. Luckily, marketing gamification is an excellent way to get data in a non-intrusive way. 

If you want to collect several data points, a multi-step format such as a quiz or a personality test can be the solution without negatively impacting user experience. In fact, multi-step formats are often less intimidating, despite the fact that they require more from users. (Maybe that’s why 49% of all games used by our customers are knowledge games, with quiz as the most popular game format). 

And remember that context is very important here. If you want people to sign up so you can send them vouchers to your website, you might not want to ask for their phone number. 

There needs to be a two-way value exchange. 

7) Eliminate dead ends in the journey

The seventh gamification strategy tip for your business is to think about the whole buyer’s journey and not just the game itself. 

Yes, you’ve gotten people to play the game. But what happens afterwards?

Always include a secondary CTA such as a store locator, book at meeting, visit website, etc. 

The UK-based Costcutter Supermarket Group wanted to boost consumer engagement, draw new shoppers to local stores, and convert those shoppers into loyal customers. In one of their gamified campaigns, Costcutter used a Spin the Bottle game to spike interest. At the end of the game they included a store locator button that yielded 1,400 clicks: 

CTA button for store locator

This represents a potentially valuable group of consumers who interacted with the brand, liked what they experienced, and went on to find out more. 

8) Track, analyze and improve: did you achieve your goals?

Tracking & analyzing should be part of any gamification strategy. Is the campaign driving the results you’re aiming for? Analyze the impact of the mechanics. What worked and what didn’t? Can you recreate the campaign with a different mechanic for your next campaign? Can you split test your next campaign to understand what works best? 

Whether you have a seasonal or an always-on campaign, you should track and analyze performance to see where you can improve. 

9) Try new stuff

So, you’ve come to the end of your campaign, well done. 

After analyzing your campaign, look for new opportunities. There’s lots of potential for using game mechanics through the whole customer journey and in places you might not have thought of.  

Consider the wider business usage. Here are just a few examples you might not have thought of:

HR and recruitment

Be like JYSK and help your recruitment process by using gamification. They used gamification for candidate screening, and saved 31,000 HR working hours on the task. Jysk designed a flow based on a personality test that would define a “store manager persona”.

Jysk using personality test for store manager recruitment

Internal training

Game mechanics have also proven to be very powerful for internal training. 

For instance it can be used for training on

  • GDPR 
  • ISO
  • Health or safety
  • Product knowledge
  • New procedures
  • Skill improvement

Maybe you can also use game mechanics for another setting? There’s a whole world of game changing possibilities out there. Just waiting for you to grab them. 

So here you have it: the 9 steps for a gamification strategy that your business can steal.  

Let’s play.