Gamification in Digital marketing – Things You Need to Know

  • Marketing

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Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics, game design techniques or integrating Big Data in a way that is relevant to your digital marketing metrics, ROI and goals. It can be used by integrating apps, tools or simple yet innovative processes with your social media marketing campaigns.

The idea is to empower brands and their end users to encourage them to have real-time conversations & engagement with you.

Using or integrating Gamification as a Digital marketer or a digital agency – The How-to?

Well, of course, all of this sounds wonderful. But how do you, as a digital agency or a digital marketing professional, use this tool or process with your digital campaigns?

  • Step 1:
    Start with a simple idea. Take for example: “You want your customers or end users to ‘actively use’ your company’s app from their smartphones for ‘1.2x’ more number of hours per day” OR “Increase footfalls at your Retail store or Restaurant by 35% in 3 months”.
    So the focus on your digital strategy here needs to be specific and clear.
  • Step 2:
    Give your end users an incentive to do the same. For this you could make use of any tools or services or apps online that help you professionally to integrate gamification as part of your business models e.g.
  • Step 3:
    Ensuring your website or app which has the gamification process or tool integrated into your campaign, is tracking every “relevant information” to help you customize and improvise the experience for your end users.
  • Step 4:
    When you add incentives, rewards etc for your end users: Ensure:


Gamification when integrated properly with your digital marketing campaign can empower your brand to even generate actual ROI like we did for one of our client brand partners in USA. We increased their restaurant footfalls by over 23% in less than a month and increased their brand conversation and engagement in real-time by 45%.

Always make sure that the process is valuable for end users and at the same time integrated in a fun and entertaining way with added incentives.

The proper use of Gamification technique can:

  • Drive higher ROI, deliver actual revenue and business results
  • Give your brand a massive competitive advantage with real-time engagement
  • Increase brand and customer loyalty
  • Increase brand purchases, product downloads, visits to an in-store business space, and most important of all, make the customer feel sincerely valued for his or her time, money and efforts.

Here are few innovative ways in which gamification can help across industries:

  • For Restaurants:
    Build gamification dedicated apps. Encourage your customers to download this app for free. Yes, I know, even convincing people to use something for “free” could be a daunting task. Offer them a discount coupon on downloading the app and get them to avail the discount while dining at your restaurant. For ensuring this app is used actively, add leader boards. Every time a user orders, he or she gets points. At the end of each month or even fortnight, give the top 10 users some awesome incentives or discounts. This is one of the many innovative ways in which you could incentivize the campaign using gamification.
  • Live Events:
    Ask users to share pictures, live from your event. Conduct contests where users can click pictures, use a hashtag and share it across multiple social networking sites by tagging your brand page or profile across Facebook or Twitter. Track their progress through gamification tools and let each user earn incentives on a LIVE and Public leader board. Feature them. Everyone loves to be recognized. Awarding such users in real-time with featured pictures or even merchandise would be a power packed way of encouraging more and more users to do the same.
  • UGC – User Generated Content:
    Conduct polls or encourage users to create content in line with your brand’s theme. A number of FMCG brands do an amazing job this way. Track their content submitted on your site using gamification techniques and tools. Let the best content be featured on your website based on more and more users voting for each other. Allow them to share their content on social sites to earn more votes. As always, ensure to add instant gratification for the winners on your leader board.
  • Fitness and health with geo and mobile marketing:
    Integrating geo, as in location based apps with mobile marketing techniques as part of your gamification to help you boost your brand’s actual ROI in terms of leads, enquiries and sales with great impact is one the best ways to empower your digital campaigns with gamification. For e.g. Let’s say as a brand your product is seen as a healthy product or your services are wellness and fitness related, integrate a gamification tool or process for those who practice fitness or enjoy running, etc. Help them create their own goals in your app, share motivational quotes or messages and at the same time, a sincere CONGRATS when they meet their goals. This can be a powerful incentive for users to continue using your apps and at the same time always relate your brand’s products and services with health and fitness too.
  • In-store Shopping or Online Shopping:
    Every time a user shops, offer them incentives in the form of loyalty points or rewards which gets automatically credited to their account when they share their shopping experience by tagging the brand page online. Top it up with “Free Parking” or even “Valet Parking” as an added bonus above certain milestone points of shopping in-store. In case you want to encourage online shopping more, add value services like gift certificates or discount codes, vouchers or gift wrapping, or free shipping, with the same.


Gamification Terms:

Here are few core terms that you need to be familiar with, when it comes to Gamification:

  • Badges:
    These are virtual awards, recognitions or trophies awarded to your end users to showcase each level of their progress and achievement. Badges encourage them to use more of this process or app. The most important aspect about these badges are that users usually are given an opportunity to not only publicly display them but also share them through social networking platforms with their peers, friends etc.
  • Players: 
    As the terms itself says gamification, your customers or prospects engaging with the brand are often referred to as players. E.g. XYZ Player is on top of the leader board this week. These players could be users of their brand’s product or services, their own employees (such as employee training programs), prospects etc.
  • Leader boards:
    This is the platform that is either displayed publicly or within a group of users that shows metrics and usage by different players of that game in real-time. This acts as a major driving spirit in terms of encouraging and motivating each user or player to do much better than their counterparts.
  • Feedback mechanics:
    Feedback mechanics are the core reason why these gamification techniques do so well. For e.g. “Hey XYZ user, you are on the top 1% of the leader board this week. Keep going” or “You have just earned the GENUIS Badge, wow! You are amazing!”
  • Points:
    Adding different level of “Points” helps or encourages users and even at times acts as a knowledge resource. For instance, Check-in at this location and get 2 points. Share a picture with your check-in and get 5 points, to name a few.

Always remember, the best gamification app is the one which is user-friendly and at the same time gives its players the flexibility to integrate their own personal goals or motivation as part of the gaming process.

At the end of the day, it’s all about “Social recognition”.


Gamification when integrated properly with your digital campaigns can be one of the most powerful ways to empower your brand online while allowing users to have active engagement in real-time.

Have you tried using gamification? Do share your views and queries if at all any. Would love to hear from you.

Author Bio:

Ananth is an award winning digital marketing professional. He is the Founder & CEO of Techdivine Creative Services, a digital agency based in Mumbai, India since March 2010. He is also a Global Peter Drucker Challenge Winner, has been interviewed by BBC Business: worldwide podcast – Young Horizons in Vienna, Austria about his digital agency’s innovative solutions at GPDF14 and has authored “Social Media Marketing Brand ROI” among few other books.

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