What is Gamification and Why Should You Be Using it in Your Marketing Strategy

Are you looking for new and innovative ways to achieve your marketing goals? Enter gamification – as the name suggests the technique that drives results by using gaming techniques in non-game settings! So get on your marks, get set, and go! and read this blog to get the downlow on all things gamification. We’ll explore the concept, why it’s effective and how you can use it to level up your marketing strategy.

What is gamification, and why is it important?

Gamification is the process of integrating elements of game design and mechanics into non-game contexts, such as business, education, or marketing, to engage and motivate people to achieve certain objectives. It involves applying game-like features, such as points, levels, badges, challenges, and rewards, to encourage participation and enhance the user experience.


In essence, gamification is about:

  • Using the principles that make games enjoyable and addictive, such as competition, progression, and rewards;
  • Understanding what aspects of games compel people to participate; and
  • Implementing these aspects and principles into non-game settings to achieve the desired results.

The history of gamification

So, what are the origins of gamification? It actually dates back to around the 19th Century, when scientist and educator, Dmitri Mendeleev (also known as ‘The Father of the Periodic Table’ as he was first to publish it) used gamification to accomplish an educational task – and the rest is history!

The advantages of gamification

It makes your marketing more engaging

Gamification makes marketing efforts more interactive and engaging, capturing the attention of your target audiences quickly and more effectively. In fact, gamifying websites can boost browsing time (time-on-page) by approximately 30%, leading to higher levels of engagement.

It builds deeper audience connections

Research has found that gamification can increase brand loyalty by up to 28%! By incorporating gaming elements, you can build stronger connections with customers, leading to increased brand loyalty through retaining current customers and generating repeat business.

It provides detailed customer insights

Gamified marketing techniques provide valuable data insights into your customers’ behaviour, preferences, and interactions, meaning as a brand, you can refine your marketing strategy more effectively. It’s an opportunity to gather valuable first-party data, direct from your target audience.

It improves the customer experience

Gamification enhances the overall customer experience by making the interactions that your customers have more enjoyable and memorable – you’re more likely to remember an interaction that stood out from the rest. A fun user experience gets people talking, and if they’ve enjoyed the experience, they’re likely to tell their peers about it too.

It can lead to increased conversions

Gamified marketing campaigns can generate up to 7 times higher conversion rates. This is because they encourage customers to take specific actions such as making purchases, sharing content, or signing up for newsletters. When customers are given the opportunity to get involved and engage online, this increases site traffic and conversion rates.

It promotes learning

Beyond marketing, gamification can also be used in education and workplaces, adding game-like elements to learning and training, making them more interactive and enjoyable. In education, it improves retention and comprehension through quizzes and assignments. In the workplace, employees earn points and achievements, enhancing learning and morale. Gamification also boosts productivity and performance by recognising achievements and promoting teamwork. In tasks and training, employees earn points, badges, and rankings for their accomplishments.

Some of Our Favourite Examples of Gamification


McDonald’s use gamification to incentivise customer behaviour by hosting Monopoly promotion each year that generates such excitement as the promise of winning prizes, including cash and free food, provides a powerful incentive for customers to engage with the promotion. The incentive to participate also injects an element of fun into an everyday task, making customers more likely to return. As this promotion only lasts for two months, customers feel a sense of urgency to participate because it is for a limited time only. This in turn boosts sales and customer engagement as it encourages people to take part whilst they can.

When the Monopoly promotion is not active, McDonald’s use gamification on their app to continue customer engagement. They drive sales by regularly offering rewards, loyalty programmes, and discounts when customers complete challenges and games. Simple rewards like a free ‘Big Mac’ encourage repeat purchases and encourage brand loyalty.


Popular language-learning platform Duolingo is notorious for their constant notification bombardment. The app regularly sends users a ‘nudge’ to motivate them into continuous learning. Users can earn points for completing lessons and practicing language skills and as users accumulate points, they progress through different levels, providing a sense of achievement and progression.

Duolingo also awards badges to users for reaching milestones, such as completing a certain number of lessons or maintaining a streak of consecutive days of learning; These achievements serve as tangible rewards and encourage continued engagement. Users can even compare their progress with friends or other learners across the world through leaderboards, which display rankings based on points earned or lessons completed. This element of competition motivates users to outperform others and the notifications alerting them when they’ve fallen off a leaderboard keep them persistently using the app. For all of these reasons, Duolingo is the perfect example of how gamification improves user experience as the creators have made a truly engaging, player-centred app.


Another example of a company that uses gamification is Fitbit. The wearable fitness watch (or ‘Fitbit’) is linked with an app that offers various challenges and competitions to motivate users to stay active and reach their fitness goals. Users can compete with friends or join community challenges to see who can take the most steps, burn the most calories, or achieve other fitness metrics within a certain timeframe. These challenges create a sense of accountability among users, making fitness more enjoyable and motivating, rather than a chore.


Graphic element reading 'Level up'

Want to use gamification in your marketing techniques?

Consider the following first:

  • Who is your target audience what are their preferences and behaviours?
  • What are you aiming to achieve by introducing gamification?
  • How will you ensure gamification aligns with your brand identity and values while ensuring a seamless user experience?
  • Why will it be beneficial for your brand and do you have the resources needed to implement it properly?
  • Where (i.e. what channels) are you going to deploy your gamification strategy based on your audience’s online presence.
  • When are you planning on launching your gamification strategy?


So, you’ve answered all the above and you’re ready to level up! Here’s a few gamification examples to get you started – and you don’t need a McDonald’s sized budget either…

Completion Meters

These are progress bars or indicators that show users how far they’ve come in completing a task or reaching a goal. These could be used in various ways such as tracking progress towards completing a purchase, filling out a profile, or reaching a certain level of engagement. For example, a completion meter on a website might show how close a customer is to completing their profile, encouraging them to fill in the missing details.

Virtual Badges

A virtual badge is digital representations of achievements or milestones that users earn through specific actions or accomplishments. These badges can be displayed on a user’s profile, social media, or within an app. In marketing, virtual badges can be awarded for making purchases, completing challenges, or engaging with content. They serve as a visual incentive and can encourage repeat engagement as users strive to collect them all.


Everyone loves finding out more about themselves – which is why quizzes can be a useful tool to engage users, gather data about their preferences or habits, and provide personalised recommendations or offers based on their responses. A clothing retailer might create a quiz to help customers discover their personal style preferences, leading to targeted product suggestions.

Spin to Win

As the name suggests, Spin to win involves users spinning a virtual wheel for a chance to win prizes or discounts. This interactive element adds an element of excitement and surprise to the user experience. In marketing, spin to win games can be used to incentivise actions such as signing up for a newsletter, following social media accounts, or making a purchase. It encourages participation and can help drive conversions by offering immediate rewards.

Loyalty Cards

A familiar concept in traditional marketing, loyalty cards are used where customers earn points or rewards for making repeat purchases. These could be digitised and integrated into mobile apps or online accounts. Customers earn points or unlock rewards based on their spending or engagement with the brand. This encourages loyalty and repeat business while also providing valuable data about customer behaviour and preferences.


As the name suggestions, competitions encourage competitiveness! They can be implemented across platforms, for example in photo contests, caption contests, or creative challenges. They encourage user-generated content and social sharing, amplifying brand reach and engagement. Competitions tap into users’ competitive instincts and provide an opportunity for brands to showcase their products or services in a fun and interactive way.

At vbx, we’ve even used gamification in our events marketing by incentivising RSVPs with a prize draw to the first few respondents!

So, as you can see from the above, the power of gamification cannot be ignored! By using game mechanics in non-game settings, you can make tasks more enjoyable, engaging, and rewarding. It’s no wonder its recognition is growing in driving engagement, behaviour change, and performance improvement, leading to increasing adoption across diverse fields and industries.

Are you ready to level up your marketing techniques with gamification that drives results? We’re a Birmingham-based marketing and events agency, and we’d love to chat. Email us at for an initial conversation.

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