Marketing 9 min read

Best Gamification Examples and How To Apply Them In Your Business

Using gaming elements to tap into every person's fun-loving and competitive nature has significantly changed the face of marketing. If you're wondering how, here are some successful gamification examples that you can use to augment your own business strategy.

Image Credit: SalesForce

Image Credit: SalesForce

Several gamification examples have proved that gaming has a place in the workplace, and you’re about to find out how.

As a child, you loved Super Mario Bros, and now you’ve evolved into a Candy Crush person. Basically, you depend on the games on your smartphone to fill those dull moments and have a little fun.

As a result, you’re a little skeptical about applying gamification in your business – and why not? Gaming is entertaining; it’s fun. On the other hand, business is – well, business.

This raises an essential question; does gaming have a place in the workplace? Hard as it is to believe, the answer is a resounding yes!

Gamification is a big deal. In 2018, the gamification market was worth $5.5 billion, and it’s expected to rise by over 30 percent in the coming years.

Gamification Market | Image Credit: Mordor Intelligence
Gamification Market | Image Credit: Mordor Intelligence

Why the potential increase in value, you wonder?

Aside from the vast base for gamification created by the smartphone market, companies are starting to recognize this method as a way to mold human behavior. It has become an effective way to induce engagement, productivity, and innovation in employees.

Beyond its traditional scope of marketing, businesses now use gamification systems in advanced roles such as crowdsourcing.

But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. Let’s backtrack a second and take it from the top.

What is Gamification?

It’s the process of applying game-like elements in business and marketing strategies.

For example, you could receive a stamp for every cup of coffee you buy. For every ten stamps you collect, the coffee shop would have to give you a cup for free. Think of this as completing a gaming level, and receiving a reward.

Aside from loyalty points, gamification often involve other gaming elements such as progress bar and leaderboards. Together, these elements tap into our instinct to compete and explore.

Yes, gamification is a clever use of psychology. Now you’re wondering; who is this strategy for?

Well, everyone.

A 2016 poll revealed that 50 percent of startups integrated gaming element into their strategy. Some businesses were able to build successful marketing strategies based on this concept.

According to a 2013 survey,  more than 70 percent of Forbes Global 2000 companies said they planned to use gamification for marketing and customer retention purposes.

Here are some of the companies that have successfully applied this technique.

6 Best Gamification Examples You Should Know

Nike+ app | Image Credit: Nike
Nike+ app | Image Credit: Nike

Outlined below are the best gamification examples in products:

1. Nike+

Nike‘s running app may be the most effective gamified product in the world right now.

It tracks your run-ins statistics and measures your progress towards a specific goal. With this data, it taps into your competitive instinct, making you feel compelled to beat your previous record.

That’s not all; the app also connects with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. That way, you can show off and compete with your friends.

In the end, more people would be out and running, and Nike would sell more sneakers.

2. Starbucks

Of all the gamification examples outlined above, Starbucks may be the most successful at it.

With an effective loyalty and reward program, users can get a gold star every time they pay for coffee using the coffee shop’s mobile app.

Earning five gold stars on the “My Starbucks Rewards” elevates you to the green status, which entitles you to a free cup of coffee. With 30 gold stars, you would unlock the “gold membership” status and ultimately earn a customized gold card.

In this smart gamification move, Starbucks has managed to make its customers compete for exclusivity and elevated status. Naturally, everyone would want the gold card.

3. Codecademy

Gamification is especially useful when dealing with tasks that are dense and complicated. An example of such is learning how to code.

That’s why Codecademy applied gamification to make the process fun and addictive.

Rather than create an everyday learning environment like most tutorial website, Codecademy has a dashboard that’s reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda. Not only does it map out the entire course in a colorful manner, but the dashboard also offers reward badges to break the training process.

That means users can pick up reward badges along the way. To maintain its users’ competitive edge, a section of the app is dedicated to keeping hot-streaks and best points.

4. Duolingo

Duolingo works the same way as Codecademy, but for learning languages instead of coding.

To maintain interest in the app, users have to answer multiple choice questions across different stages. Also, like Codecademy, there are badges and points to pick up along the way.

5. Mint Money Manager

Yes, managing your money can be very dull. But, Mint incorporates some gaming element to try to make the process easier.

Alongside tracking your expenses, the app measures your progress against your personal finance goals.

6. ChoreWars

Sounds a bit childish, we know. However, ChoreWars is a great tool to boost workplace productivity. It’s especially useful for completely mundane tasks that simply needs to be done.

Users have the option to configure the app as a one-off contest or an ongoing program. With the latter, you’ll get a leaderboard. This makes it easier to award prizes to the weekly top players.

ChoreWars is a business solution used to turn ordinary tasks into engaging competitive adventures. And yes, it’s a great example of gamification.

For other gamification examples in business, check out M&M’s Eye-Spy Pretzel, Autodesk, and even the United States Army recruitment tool.

At this point, you have to be wondering how to make gamification work for you. This raises the question;

How Do I Gamify My Workplace or Business?

Image Credit: Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

Gamification plays on our psyche. Simply put, it triggers the part of us that yearns for positive experiences.

Using the gamification examples above, here’s how to apply this strategy in your business.

1. Make the Users Feel in Control

Every customer’s journey begins with seeing a product and ultimately ends with a purchase. As a business, your goal is to guide potential customers from point A to point B.

Unfortunately, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

According to psychologists, people don’t like to be dragged to their destination. They want to be at the driver’s seat and make that journey at their time and pace. It makes us feel in control.

At its core, that’s what gamification is all about.

Not only does a gamified system allow you to pick your adventure, but you can also select the level of difficulty. Online courses such as Codecademy and Udemy are great examples of systems that give its users control.

2. Provide Directions

An in-depth study of the gamification examples outlined above would reveal the simple psychology behind it.

We like to know where we are in a process and where we are going. Otherwise, a feeling of wariness stems from your lack of purpose. And a voice at the back of your head would keep reminding you that you’re lost.

Zelda, World of Warcraft, and Mario have maps for a reason – to give players a sense of direction.

Consider adding a mapping system to different aspects of your website and apps. Whether it’s a progress bar or an achievement milestone, it will let users know where they are in the process.

They’ll also know how much effort is necessary to get to their desired destination.

3. Create a Sense of Achievement

This is one of the most powerful driving factors of human behavior. We all hope to achieve something from whatever we do.

That means, anyone visiting your site or using your app is trying to achieve something – whether it’s learning code, or staying fit.

By making the user feel like they achieve something every time they visit, you’re also indirectly encouraging them to come back.

A statement as simple as “good job” could go a long way in creating a sense of achievement.

4. Reward Every Achievement

While a sense of accomplishment is fantastic, take it a step further by providing some sort of prize. The reason is apparent – everyone loves rewards.

A gamified system incorporates positive reinforcement by rewarding users at every stage of their journey. For example, Starbucks rewards its customers after a specific number of purchases.

Also, Recyclebank offers its members a reward for recycling. With every recycled material, the members get points which they can later exchange for deals or local discounts.

Remember, rewards drive action.

5. Introduce the Competition

Humans have a competitive nature. Not only do we want to push ourselves harder, but we also like to prove that we’re better than others.

That’s why Nike+ is so popular. It shows its users their statistics as well as how they compare with others in their social circle.

Consider introducing elements such as “Personal Bests” and “Previous Bests” to keep the users returning to try harder. Also, link leaderboards with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

As humans, we want to believe we can conquer not just ourselves, but others too. That’s why this gamification method is so effective.

6. Offer Exclusivity

People will do anything for exclusivity – from paying extra bucks for VIP concert tickets to thousands of dollars for a first class plane ticket.

Yes, it comes with a complimentary glass of champagne. But you know you’re not paying for the features, it’s the status.

Exclusivity raises feelings of jealousy, intrigue, and curiosity. As such, people often work harder to attain this status.

An example of such is unlocking a secret level on a video game. There’s also Starbuck’s gold membership status.

Final Word

From the gamification examples in this post, we can conclude that it’s not a gimmick or a buzzword. Yes, it works.

With the proper application, not only does gamification trigger powerful human emotions, but it also provides a positive user experience. As a bonus, it also improves engagement and brand loyalty.

Read More: How Useful is Gamification Marketing?

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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