Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

Gamification in Digital Marketing: Latest Solutions & Examples

Merriam-Webster defines gamification as the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation.

In terms of digital marketing, gamification can be defined as a set of all dynamic and entertaining solutions and elements you integrate into your website, app or email campaigns to make user’s experience with your service more diverting and engaging. Carrying a sense of competition, gamification triggers excitement and gambling, encouraging people to get eager for achievements and rewards. And surely, people would use more often the website or app they have previously enjoyed interacting with.

Benefits of Gamification for the Marketing Strategy

Today, gamification is heavily preached around, but keep in mind that it’s only one of the marketing solutions you may employ when getting ready with your new marketing plan. It won’t win you much following on its own; implemented alongside other solutions (like Web Push, web tracking, content localization, etc.), however, it may generate significant profit.

How exactly?

1. Gamification increases

  • average website session time;
  • average time spent reading an email;
  • email OR, CTR and RPME;
  • audience engagement;
  • social sharing.

2. It makes the user experience more enjoyable and results in better satisfaction. The visitor who got fun browsing your website is more likely to recommend it to friends. The user who got fun reading your previous email is more likely to open the next one.

3. Compared to other marketing tools, email gamification doesn’t require complex solutions or algorithms. A simple quiz or a challenge to find a hidden link can be implemented within a basic email template. A social media post with a crossword or illusion requires even less effort.

4. It helps collect customer data. Gamification uses different options to encourage people to provide personal info (contacts, product preferences) in exchange for bonuses (points, prizes, starts, achievements, badges, % off, etc.). People are more likely to share data when they get something in return, what’s more important, get instantly.

5. It generates content for emails on its own. This is especially valuable for brands that

  • don’t have a blog and don’t send blog newsletters;
  • deliver products or services that are rarely updated;
  • don’t run sales very often;
  • can’t send personalized recommendations due to lack of customer data.

When you want to reach out but don’t know what to write about, a find-a-perfect-gift challenge may be a good option to consider.

Main Principles of Gamification

1. Achievable task.

Quizz, wheel spinning, puzzle, matching – whatever the task you offer to solve, it shouldn’t be too complicated so that anyone can solve it.

2. Clear goal.

The rules and conditions should be simple and understandable for everyone. If the challenge is complicated and takes too much time, people would quit without completing it.

3. Engaging design.

Whatever element of gamification you use, it should have a distinguishable design and differ from the same solutions by competitors. For example, when using a website quiz, support the questions with corresponding images or GIFs: people perceive short pieces of text better when they’re intermixed with some dynamic elements.

4. Fun process.

Nobody likes boring games. Of course, people would spend their time expecting some incentive at the end, but the gaming routine should be fun as well.

5. Reward.

Don’t unlock the exact prize, it would kill the excitement. However, people should know there is something for them at the end.

On-Site Gamification Examples

Gamification has a great potential to make traditional platforms (which a website is) more entertaining and exciting. Rewards for completion of specific tasks, progress bars, virtual badges and bonuses, quizzes, competition, etc. – marketers can introduce various aspects of gaming to a website, depending on its format and functionality.

The game-like solutions differ depending on the business, but below we’ve picked up the most typical options that can be adjusted to any industry.

Wheel of Fortune

Wheel of Fortune is an entertaining element that gives visitors a chance to receive a small gift, and the brand – collect the customer data (name, email address, sometimes phone number) and encouraging the first purchase at the same time.

It may appear as a pop-up after a visitor enter the website

On-site gamification examples

or be incorporated in a subscription form.

On-site gamification

The main reason why Wheel of Fortune is so successful is that it’s difficult to lose. It doesn’t require any explanations, can be played by anyone several times, and there is not many ways you can fail. Wherever the wheel stops, you’ll get the prize or a chance to try again.

Plus, it provides a kind of sense of achievement. A click doesn’t require much effort on your part yet the result makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. And the reward for your accomplishment gives it more weight.

Quiz

A quiz is another gamification element that helps get contacts and get more information on customer’s preferences.

On-site gamification examples

It can take a form of a pop-up, appear on specific landing pages, or be placed on the top of the website main page to encourage visitors to start communication with the brand in a more dynamic way.

Gamification on the website

“Which socks mood are you into today?”, “Find your perfect look,” “What kind of dessert are you?”, etc. – from personal style finders to weird trivia, quizzes can be a useful tool to collect leads.

Gamification in marketing

For example, IGK Hair offers to take the quiz to determine your hairstyle. Right after you finish the quiz (sharing your name and preferences as you go), you’re delivered the result and recommended the products that may suit your current needs. The quiz is made of simple questions and provided with supportive images; it’s easy-to-take, visually appealing and may be really useful for those users who do seek proper hair care products.

Best use of gamification

Badges

Badge system is a great way to build customer loyalty: a badge can be a good reward for using the product within a long period, making it through different stages. It’s always exciting to unlock new levels and collect new trophies, so customers like this way of interaction.

On-site gamification examples

Badges often have a cute design and are fun to collect: they can add lively vibes to those industries that are rarely associated with entertainment, for example, education or banking and payment systems.

The same principle lies behind bonuses, membership rewards, progress-based points and certificates, etc. Offering prizes for step-by-step completion of a particular process helps retain customers and build a committed audience.

Custom DIY

To introduce visitors with a product range in non-boring ways, many brands offer customization options: create a custom look or makeup, room interior, recipe, etc.

On-site gamification examples

Such game-like approach adds interactivity to the product display, tracking customer preferences at the same time: products, colors, ingredients, size, etc. This data can be further used to build more targeted email and web push campaigns.

On-site gamification marketing

Adaptive templates to fit gamification content

Best Gamification Examples on Social Media

Social media was probably the first platform to employ wide use of content gamification. The reason for that is more flexible system of interaction with the audience that’s based on instant response. You don’t have to run A/B testing or complex research to see what post may be the most successful: likes, shares and comments instantly provide all the necessary stats.

Moreover, social media publications don’t require much tech skills or code knowledge: a short piece of catchy text, cute banner or image design are enough to make a high-converting post. Many companies have started using gamification years ago, and some marketing campaigns have become recognizable gamification case studies. And the most iconic one is probably the Eye-Spy Pretzel by M&M’s.

  • I Spy.

A seemingly childish game loved a lot by kindergarten teachers earned M&M’s over 25K likes and 10K comments, where “found” was the most often. This means people did take time to look for a small pretzel hidden among hundreds of candies.

Social media gamification example

The reason for the success might be that the game reminded people of their childhood and similar activities they used to have with their friends; the number of shares – 6K – supports the claim.

M&M’s likes this particular kind of game and often offers users to spot this or that element.

Social media gamification example

Social media gamification example

  • Spot the Differences.

The Honey Baked Ham Company is a vivid example of the companies that love using gamification mechanics for their Facebook posts.

Social media gamification example

Scrolling down their news feed, you come across different opportunities to play.

Gamification campaign

Although we named the section “Spot the Differences” (after our fave post), on their page, there are many other activities to promote engagement: find the wrong answer, Family Food game, name the holiday tune, choose your labor day meal, etc.

Gamification and marketing

And here comes our fave:

Content gamification

And by the way, the company is one of the earliest gamification adapters: the oldest post we’ve found dates back to 2014.

Best gamification campaigns

Actually, the possibilities of adding a gaming element to your social media are huge, and imagination is your only limit.

  • crossword;

Social media gamification

  • illusion;

Social media gamification

Social media gamification

  • trivia;

Social media gamification

  • maze;

Social media gamification

  • puzzle;

Social media gamification

Last post

Content Gamification Examples in Emails

Gamification is definitely not new to email marketing, yet it didn’t get as widespread use as other email practices as, let’s say, animation, countdown timer, user-generated content, etc. The reason for it is that gamification mostly requires a designer or developer to be implemented properly. Moreover, there’s no one template or pattern you may regularly use. Gamification is based on anticipation and excitement, so you always need to come up with new ideas to keep people interested.

But with competition for the customer attention getting more intense day by day, brands need to find new ways to promote products and interact with customers, and this where gamification can give a helping hand.

To see how game-like design may look like in practice, let’s take a look at gamification examples major businesses implemented in their email campaigns.

  • Choose between options;

Email content gamification

Email content gamification

Email content gamification

  • Quiz;

Email content gamification

Email content gamification

  • True or false;

Best gamification campaigns

  • Find your type;

Gamification content marketing

  • Reveal your gift;

Gamification marketing strategy

Gamification campaign

  • Wheel of fortune;

Wheel of fortune

  • Voting;

Best gamification campaigns

Gamification marketing examples

  • Select your match;

Successful gamification examples

  • Trivia;

Gamification in emails

  • Virtual board game.

Gamification in email marketing

You can probably find a couple of emails with gamification elements in your own Inbox as well. And their number will only grow as brands will have to keep up with customer expectations in all manners.

What’s more, the recently introduced AMP technology can deliver new solutions for gamification in business. Since it allows interaction with the content straight in the email body, the user would be able to solve dynamic quizzes or promo code crosswords in the particular campaign and get instantly forwarded to the rewards in the same email window, without downloading extra pages. This may help reduce lead losses between page transactions.


In the end, the purpose of whatever marketing is to encourage action: registration, subscription, purchase, share, feedback, etc. Gamification is a solution that can help achieve it by making user’s interaction with the content more entertaining and dynamic. It can catch and, what’s more important, retain people’s attention, encourage personal data sharing, invite for a longer conversation with the brand, and contribute to community loyalty.

Thanks to its diversity and abundance of formats, gamification can be employed across various platforms – website, app, social media, physical store, events, email. Depending on the business type and the available channels, brands can build different goal-specific gamification strategies for better digital marketing performance. There is no single recipe and no limits to your creativity and imagination: the only guideline to be followed is your customers’ preferences.

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Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

A technical (but still very creative) writer at eSputnik with a strong focus on design, current digital marketing trends, and new solutions for email automation.

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