68 successful gamification examples to unlock user engagement & loyalty
68 successful gamification examples to unlock user engagement & loyalty
People just love to play games! In 2022, mobile games made up 2/3 of all app store spending. That’s because gaming motivates us by tapping into our innate behavioral psychology, leveraging needs like growth and social interaction. So, what happens when you extract gamification examples like points, levels, and badges and put them into a non-game context? You can boost app engagement and build user loyalty!
Any app can benefit from gamification. To demonstrate, we’ve listed 68 examples of different apps that increased engagement with gamification. You will discover how the apps applied game elements to motivate user actions, ultimately helping them grow!
Moven Gamification Example: CRED program slashes customer acquisition costs
Moven is a branchless, paperless, and even plastic-less bank. They’re one of the leading online banks using gamification to improve app engagement. They built the CRED program to collect more user data. The tool is branded as an assistant that helps you make financial decisions.
CRED uses information about users’ financial decisions instead of traditional credit scores. Factors like social media intelligence are important in its ratings. Unlike a credit score, CRED is designed to be a sort of financial health score. The score goes up when a customer gets better at saving or managing their money.
Moven is able to acquire customers at a cost of $50 per customer due to word of mouth, which is over 80% lower than the industry average. Furthermore, users are encouraged to use Moven to make all their payments, as the tool gives them unique insights into their spending behavior.
Qapital & Monefy Gamification Examples: change financial habits for the better
Both tools have an expense tracker and allow users to automatically save money. They use gamification for apps to install saving habits.
On Qapital you can create triggers for every time you buy a coffee to save 50 cents. Monefy uses visual feedback to show you how much you’re spending in different categories compared to your balance.
Both apps help you make saving goals more tangible, by visualizing how close you are to achieving them. Sometimes, seeing your money in a different way helps you realize your spending behavior in a different way. Qapital has over 1.8 million users and Monefy has a rating of 4.5 stars in the Google Play store.
Smarty Pig Gamification Example: gamify your finances to save more
Smarty Pig is a finance app that helps users hit their financial goals. You start by setting a savings goal, such as buying a new bike. Every time you add money to your account, it will automatically ‘piggyback’ a part of it to your savings.
The app visualizes how close you are to reaching your goal and makes budgeting feel satisfying, instead of a chore. Also, you can completely personalize your account according to your saving goals. In only two years, the app signed up over 40,000 customers with $250 million in deposits!
Users earned points and prizes for completing different challenges linked to product education. Instead of promoting products to increase consumption, the bank chose to educate its customers on products and benefits.
Of the 30 to 40-year-old target group, 87% completed at least one challenge, with an average of 13.3 challenges per participant. The bank got e.16% more sign-ups for mobile banking services, as well as a 13% increase in prepaid Mastercard usage.
Fitbit Gamification Example: leverages gamification to keep users healthy
Fitbit is a wearable fitness tracker connected to a gamified health app. Its users earn badges for reaching certain milestones in the app such as reaching a specific amount of miles. They will also track your progress towards that goal with a progress circle and other live stats.
Additionally, Fitbit creates a sense of social connectedness by allowing you to compete with friends or share your results on social media. The social element seems to be important for the majority of the community as 20 million of the 30 million total active users are actively engaged in the social feed.
Freeletics Gamification Example: leverages community to promote fitness
Freeletics is a workout app with a bunch of virtual training programs and a virtual coach! Nonetheless, it’s gamification for apps that makes it better than a regular fitness app. Freeletics has a social feed where people can follow each other and compare their performances.
On the user profile, you can track how many workouts a user completed, what level they are at, and the badges they have earned along the way. Just like Strava or Runkeeper, the community drives people to support each other or compete. It proves once again how powerful peer pressure can be for increasing user app engagement.
Headspace is a meditation app with tons of exercises, tutorials, and tips to chill out! To start with, users get rewarded for reaching milestones in the app and can unlock more features such as animations to improve their meditation. In addition, you can join meditation groups or share your results with your buddy list or through Facebook. This way, users get a sense of relatedness to the community.
Calm is the world’s biggest wellness app. In 2022, they generated $1.5 million more in revenue than Headspace, their main competitor. How are they so far ahead? To be sure, they can thank gamification examples like streaks. Basically, streaks track a user’s consecutive days of app usage. And that’s especially important for meditation apps!
According to research, when meditating, building a daily routine is “necessary”. Given this, Calm helps users by sending streak reminders and rewarding their daily engagement. In short, it’s a win-win!
Insight Timer Gamification Example: a personalized user experience increases ownership
Trawl through the reviews of Insight Timer, and you will find many happy customers praising the app’s personalization. Indeed, the popular meditation app offers its community a wide range of personalized features:
Can pick different bell sounds (beginning and end!)
Nike+Fuel Gamification Example: collects more data through gamification
Nike+Fuel drives app engagement through gamification to collect more data about its users. Nike+Fuel is a personalized fitness app that allows users to track their activity. After completing different runs users can improve levels, and earn trophies and badges for their performance. They can also link the app to social media to compare and compete with people from all around the world.
Adidas Runtastic Gamification Example: leaderboards drive users to reach the top
When Adidas acquired Runtastic for $240M, they set about making it the best-running app on the market. What did they do? Firstly, they streamlined the user experience and focused solely on running (previously, the app supported sports like biking and even sailing). Also, Adidas took gamification to another level!
To name just a few gamification examples, the app introduced goal-setting features, challenges, and a leaderboard. In particular, the leaderboard made a huge difference. For one, it introduces social interaction where users are motivated to beat their peers. In addition, a leaderboard provides positive reinforcement and fast feedback. And this keeps users engaged time and again!
Jillian Michaels Gamification Example: personalized goal-setting focuses on users
On her fitness app, popular TV personality Jillian Michaels leads 800+ exercises. Sounds great, but without this one gamification example that abundance could backfire! Indeed, there is something called the “Paradox of Choice”. In reality, the more choices you give someone, the less likely they are to choose!
To avoid this effect, the app asks users to set a personal fitness goal during onboarding. Basically, this allows the app to customize what exercises the user sees. In turn, this maximizes the value of the app and makes engaging easier!
SWEAT Gamification Example: community features enhance the social experience
In just 2 years, SWEAT became the most profitable fitness app in the world. A huge part of that success comes from its community engagement. For example, screens nudge you to share your trophies and even a “Sweaty Selfie” after a workout! This motivates users because it gives them the chance to show off to their friends. In turn, that fires up a sense of competition (and a healthy dose of FOMO) – and this motivates the friend!
Science supports this approach. A recent study found that competition facilitates interaction. In other words, features that encourage competition bring the community closer together, which further motivates the intention to exercise thanks to ‘increased confidence and connection’. Essentially, it’s a built-in positive feedback loop!
Multiball Gamification Example: using games to get schools moving
Based in Germany, Multiball uses sensors and projectors to turn indoor spaces into fun interactive games. Put simply, the company gamifies fitness sessions to make them more engaging. Uniquely, the company puts a particular focus on selling to schools.
Using sensors, Multiball tracks the movement of players to play dozens of games. For example, in one game players have to find countries on a map. To identify the country, they must throw a ball at it! At the end of each game, Multiball awards winners with points and enters your score on a global leaderboard. That just makes you want to play again! To be sure, the addictive nature of gamification is why Multiball now operates in over 45 countries.
Stepn Gamification Example: earn crypto while you run
Founded in 2021, Stepn is an unusual cross between a fintech and mHealth app. Basically, users deposit crypto-tokens in the app and use them to buy virtual sneakers. Each pair of sneakers requires you to exercise at a specified speed, for example, a slow walking pace or a fast sprint. If you move too slowly, you don’t get a reward!
However, if you pass the challenge, you earn more crypto for your wallet and keep the sneaker as an NFT token. In a way, this is like a badge to celebrate your achievement. And of course, the more you run, the harder the challenge, and the more valuable the sneaker! To be sure, this Move2Earn model is a huge incentive for users to exercise. At one point, the app boasted 70,000 monthly active users!
Prehab Gamification Example: locked workouts leverage behavioral psychology to motivate
With Prehab, users can follow over 50 programs to rehabilitate their fitness. Many mHealth apps find it difficult to get users to form a habit. To incentivize habit formation, Prehab uses classic gamification examples like streaks and progress bars to encourage users to complete their weekly fitness programs.
But Prehab also does something unique – they lock off each week’s program until the current week is completed! This uses “constraint”, a gamification mechanic that taps into psychological behaviors like loss avoidance. Essentially, people hate to lose out! In effect, seeing grayed-out weeks in their plan pushes them to finish their workouts. Not to mention, limiting a user’s choices avoids causing the “Paradox of Choice”. In other words, when you make quitting easier than choosing!
Urban Sports Club Gamification Example: get more leads with gamification for apps
The Urban Sports Club is a flat-rate fitness company. In an effort to attract more leads, they created their own rock-climbing game as an interactive Facebook advertisement. In the game, users had to climb as high as they could to win a 3-month contract. The potential reward and interactive experience were enough motivation to play the game.
Most users replayed the game over 3 times, which shows high engagement. Urban Sports Club was able to collect data from all players who participated. The ad increased organic traffic by 39% and had a 45% lower cost per click.
Zombies Run Gamification Example: spicing up your run
The Zombies Run app is a different kind of health app. It will interrupt your music or radio with a news broadcast about a zombie epidemic. You are of the final remaining humans, so if you want to survive you need to run! The app will trigger you to run faster or collect supplies along the way.
Zombies Run used gamification for apps to make running fun! With over 200 different missions and an award-winning story, you will always find motivation for your workout. The app has over 1 million users and is the biggest smartphone fitness game, ever.
GiffGaff Gamification Example: build a community-based telecom business
Giffgaff is a community-based telecom company that offers flexible monthly plans. To become a member you buy a SIM card from other GifGaff members. Users get points for participating in the community, which they can convert to cash to pay for their mobile phone or to donate to charity.
The program rewards users for helping other members on their forum or recommending friends. This has helped the community grow to over 3 million users good for over 600 million dollars in revenue.
T-Mobile is one of the world’s top telco multinationals – and that creates challenges! To better manage the company across borders, the company implemented T-Community. Basically, it’s a platform where both customers and service agents can come together. And to boost employee participation, T-Mobile added several gamification examples.
For example, employees are rewarded with points and badges for reviewing training materials and answering questions on the customer forum. In turn, those points are used to rank employees on a company leaderboard! As a result, the T-Community improved customer satisfaction and provided a range of other benefits:
15,000 frontline staff participated in the first 2 weeks
Duolingo Gamification Example: makes language learning fun
Duolingo is a language learning app that has mastered gamification for apps. Instead of going through long and boring lectures, Duolingo offers fun, bite-sized lessons that make you want to keep learning!
The app uses an in-app currency called ‘lingots’ which rewards users for completing various activities on the app. Additionally, users can collect badges when attaining achievements such as reaching the next level or milestone. To increase user motivation even further, Duolingo adds a dash of competition with a scoreboard based on experience points.
Kahoot Gamification Example: turning classrooms into gameshows
Kahoot is a learning game app where students can compete in virtual quizzes. The teacher or instructor sets up a series of questions. The questions and multiple choice answers are then projected onto a scared screen, and users can select the right answers on their own devices.
Students receive points for every question they answer correctly and extra points for being faster than others. They can either play individually or in teams. After every question, users will see their score go up, as well as their ranking on the leaderboard.
By using app gamification, Kahoot engages students with fun and interactive quizzes, encouraging screens and a sense of competition. It beats the classroom every day!
PayPerks is a financial education platform that rewards users for taking financial courses and saving-like behaviors. It’s mostly aimed at lower-income individuals to encourage saving and financial literacy.
PayPerks turned boring financial studies into game-like experiences with fun and easy-to-understand explanations. Their platform incentivizes real-world actions such as card usage, or online behaviors that help the user install the right habits. They have helped millions of consumers get through tens of millions of tutorials and given away hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes.
Beat the GMAT Gamification Example: badges grow a community
Beat the GMAT is designed to help MBA applicants pass the tough admission test. Those tests aren’t easy – that’s why the app uses gamification to motivate users! Firstly, social features help build a tight community. For example, any prospective MBA student can post in a forum and connect with other students. To build on this, Beat the GMAT introduced badge rewards. Users could earn badges for:
Answering a user’s question
Contributing a written article/blog
Posting a question or response in a forum
And much more!
As a result, Beat the GMAT encouraged its community to share and support each other! Badges increased forum comments by 8,000 per month and boosted the total time spent in the community by 370%!
Open University Gamification Example: checklists and progress bars create better students
Even universities are taking advantage of gamification! On the Open University’s ‘study planner’, students can find a checklist of unfinished tasks. As well, there is a progress bar that tracks the student’s total effort. For something as demanding as a full degree, these features make a huge difference!
When a checklist displays unfinished items, this harnesses a psychological phenomenon called the “Zeigarnik effect”. Basically, incomplete tasks stick with us more than those we complete! In other words, students are motivated to return and study. Moreover, checklists and progress bars provide positive reinforcement and direct students to their goals. As a result, this reduces negative feelings like anxiety or being overwhelmed! In short, Open University’s gamification examples create better students!
Target Gamification Example: collecting the holiday wishes with Wish-list app
To prepare for the holidays, Target created the ‘Holiday Wish’ app. Here kids could experience a 3D animated game where they could send digital wish lists to Santa. Parents would then be able to instantly order or find their kids’ wishes.
The fun holiday experience and convenient set-up helped Target boost traffic during the most important time of the year!
App engagement was high, with 61% of users checking in weekly and another 31% multiple times per day. The app generated over 75,000 downloads and 100,000 wish lists. On average a Wishlist comprised around 30 items with a value of $1,500. Over six weeks 9,200 new Target accounts were created and the app collected a sales potential of $92.3 million!
Under Armour Gamification Example: trivia app lets the NBA fans hold their own playoffs
Under Armour is a global sportswear brand. During the NBA playoffs, they partnered up with basketball player Steph Curry to launch a surprise Trivia game called StephIQ. The game allowed users to answer a series of trivia questions, every time Curry scored his first three-pointer of the game.
Participants who could answer all eight questions correctly could either win and split the prize pool, or enter a special raffle that included prizes like free tickets, signed shoes, and Under Armour gear. The app caused an increase in NBA’s viewership, as well as sales for the brand itself.
Woot Gamification Example: use scarcity to drive more sales
Woot is an ecommerce platform that offers daily deals, at a limited quantity and a special price. They reveal a new product every day at midnight. Its exclusivity has driven users to constantly refresh their page between 11.59 PM and 00.01 AM.
Woot plays on curiosity and scarcity to trigger the “fear of missing out” among their users. This way the ecommerce site gets around 10 million monthly visitors that are really engaged. The original idea behind Woot also made up for a lot of free promotions on social media.
eBay Gamification Example: maximizing profits through unpredictability
eBay was one of the first to use app gamification in ecommerce. It uses bidding, feedback scores, and a badge reward system to motivate both buyers and sellers.
Joining a bidding war is like the lottery, the more you enter the more you’re able to win. You’re also prone to spend more due to the sense of competition and the fear of losing your opportunity. Buyers see bidding as competition. Winning a bid is like winning the competition. It doesn’t matter if you overpaid, as long as the endorphins give you that awesome feeling!
Sellers, on the other hand, can earn badges like ‘trusted seller’ and get better percentages as an eBay sellers in return. It’s about risk, engagement, and rewards.
Teleflora Gamification Example: rewards users for being part of the community
Teleflora is an online flower shop. They created a loyalty system that rewards users for participating in their community.
They rewarded users with points for doing things like customer reviews, and comments, answering customer queries, and sharing Teleflora on Facebook. Once users reached a certain level they earned badges and titles like ‘influencer’. There was even a leaderboard displaying the top contributing members.
With a 105% increase in Facebook referrals, Teleflora’s conversion rates jumped 92%!
UNice Gamification Example: the one feature that helped quadruple newsletter sign-up rates
UNice is an online hair store. In an effort to get more sign-ups for their newsletter, they created a spin-the-wheel pop-up to greet new visitors. You simply have to enter your email to get a chance to win coupons, free lashes, or even an iPad! While doing so, you would also be automatically subscribed to their newsletter.
It’s a great way to grab the attention of your users and turn them from passive visitors into active participators. They’re curious to find out their reward, for something as simple as their email. Spin-the-wheels show a 3 to 4 times higher sign-up rate for their newsletter compared to traditional pop-ups.
SHEIN is one of the largest online retailers in the world with over 4 million unique monthly visitors. So how do they get app engagement like this?
For starters, they have a discount countdown timer to create a sense of urgency with their users. Furthermore, they have a points-based reward system that gives users points for active participation and ambassadorship.
For instance, when users check in daily or make product reviews. They can also win points for special challenges. 100 points equals 1 dollar, which you can spend in the shop. This way SHEIN rewards the behaviors that help them grow.
Waze is a crowdsourced GPS app, where its users share real-time traffic with each other. Detrimental to its success is the fact that its users help them to accurately map traffic situations around the world. So how do they do it?
Every Wazer has a mood. You start out as a Newbie. If you want to improve your mood you will have to complete the first goal, which is to drive 100 miles. Waze rewards participation with experience points and visualizes it through progress bars and on a leaderboard.
Users can compare their participation with their friends or people from all around the world. Next to its gamification elements, the calling of having a reliable traffic app also adds to users’ motivation. The community of engaged drivers has helped Waze get over 130 million monthly active users.
HumanForest Gamification Example: an in-game currency that motivates (and conveys the brand message)
HumanForest operates e-bikes across London with the brand message of sustainability. So when HumanForest approached StriveCloud to build a custom gamification strategy, we decided to capitalize on this! Here’s what we did: the more people ride HumanForest, the more ‘TreeCoins’ they earn. But TreeCoins are no made-up coins, they’re actually the number of trees each customer has saved by taking an e-bike!
Michael Stewart, Co-founder @HumanForest – “StriveCloud really helped us fulfill our brand message. The TreeCoins explains our mission perfectly. 1 mile = 1 tree, 5 miles = 5 trees & 5 trees = 1 coin. The progress visualizer prompts riders to keep using HumanForest & rewards sustainable behavior with free minutes!”
As a result, the currency makes a customer’s impact feel much more tangible. In turn, this inspires riders to share how many trees they’ve saved. Not only does this elevate their social status, but it also encourages them to spread the word about HumanForest. Since launch, HumanForest has prevented 220 tons of CO2 emissions!
Bird Gamification Example: motivates people to ride and charge electric scooters
Bird is an electric scooter charging company. They use gamification for apps to motivate users to hunt down scooters and charge them.
Literally, anyone can become a Bird Charger. The community is self-organized and relies on its users to charge as many scooters as possible. You can ‘find’ and ‘capture’ scooters or ‘birds’ and charge them at home. In return, users earn a monetary reward for every scooter. You earn more for scooters that are harder to find, which makes it an ideal side hustle for a lot of people.
Lime Gamification Example: celebrate every milestone!
In 2022, Lime became the first micromobility operator to report a profitable year. How? Because Lime got customers onto their e-scooters more often. They did this with several gamification elements to create a great app experience. For example, the app celebrates each customer milestone.
Basically, the app offers customers statistics on every one of their rides. On your first ride or your longest ride, the app celebrates with some upbeat copy. But this is more than a bit of fun! In brief, milestones help track progress, as well as provide feedback and positive reinforcement. And Lime must be doing something right – in their 2020 report, Lime revealed that customers are riding longer and farther than before!
EVO Sharing Gamification Example: challenges give EVO Sharing riders a chance to win
EVO Sharing operates bright orange e-scooters across Germany. When EVO Sharing came to us at StriveCloud, they had a clear goal – to increase the number of rides per customer. To achieve this, we implemented gamification examples like challenges.
Jennifer Dittmar @EVO Sharing – “With Strivecloud, we want to create incentives to drive more often with the electric scooters from EVO Sharing. Through the challenges and the achievement of milestones, the customer shall be motivated to use our scooters more often.”
Publicizes behavior and allows for social comparison
Creates a social ‘event’, something riders have in common and can discuss
Uber Gamification Example: boosting engagement on Uber Driver app engagement
Uber’s driver app is a prime example of gamification for apps to improve loyalty and encourage good behavior. The app is built to improve the driver experience by implementing game elements into the work.
Drivers can take on quests and win badges for the achievements they complete. Additionally, their earnings are tracked within the app and directly linked to the progress they make in the game. If drivers complete a certain amount of trips in a specific time frame, they might get additional monetary rewards.
Spicing up the drivers’ experience with game-like triggers creates the right behaviors for drivers. Not only does the game make work more fun, but it also keeps their drivers engaged to move forward.
Voi. Gamification Example: tiered loyalty systems make loyalty more valuable
Voi. is one of Europe’s biggest e-scooter operators. Like most operators, they want customers to take more rides. So what do they do? They use a tiered loyalty system. With “Voialty”, users receive bigger discounts the more they ride. To be sure, your customers expect this kind of thing! That’s because of something called the “Lucky Loyalty Effect”. Basically, customers expect their perks and benefits to scale as their loyalty grows.
To motivate riders to work their way up the tiers, there is a clear leveling system. To go from Rookie to Pro, customers need points. And they earn points for completing rides and various other tasks. For instance, if a rider takes a selfie wearing a helmet, they get 5 points, bringing them closer to cheaper rides!
Todoist Gamification Example: how to use gamification to get shit done
Todoist is a productivity app that helps you organize your days, get reminders and manage tasks easily. The app not only helps you keep your planning on track but also motivates you for completing your work!
For instance, users earn karma points for completing a task. However, they also get negative karma for missing deadlines. These two types of rewards play on two different user motivations: achievement and avoidance. Furthermore, users can unlock new levels based on their karma points, and share them with friends on social media.
Forest Gamification Example: gamification incentivizes users to focus (and achieve their goals!)
The Forest app allows you to focus when you need to the most. Whenever you want to stop your digital distractions you can open Forest, set a timer, and plant a seed. You can’t go outside the app until the timer is completed, if you do give up the seed will die.
The app has a purpose, which is to grow the tree. If you bail on your tasks, you will have to watch the tree die. Again, this works on a sense of accomplishment and avoidance. The more tasks you complete, the more trees you will plant. Finally, you can invite your friends or compete with the global community on a leaderboard to see how your productivity matches up.
Habitica Gamification Example: become the prime habit-forming app
Habitica is a habit-installing app. It helps you create daily routines in a better, faster, and most importantly fun way! Their slogan literally is: Gamify your life!
The app helps you set clear goals and visualizes the progress you’re making toward them. Users are rewarded for continuing their habit with new avatars. Oftentimes, reminding users to actively work on their goals is enough motivation to keep them going. The app has over 4 million members around the world.
Kayzr Gamification Example: intrinsic rewards are better than monetary prizes
Esports is booming! In the Benelux, Kazyr is the biggest esports platform with more than 100,000 users. And when Kazyr came to StriveCloud, they asked us to gamify their user experience. Firstly, we looked at their existing rewards. This included cash prizes for competition winners. But cash prizes are costly. Besides, they aren’t actually as effective as you’d think. In fact, research shows that the intrinsic rewards created by gamification examples are preferred for some important reasons:
Intrinsic rewards are self-determined
They don’t rely on reinforcement/environmental factors
Self-motivation means stronger and longer-lasting engagement!
That’s why we capped prize rewards and introduced an intrinsic rewards system. In short, that meant challenges, badges, levels, and in-app coins. The results were clear – user growth and a more scalable business model!
Samsung Nation Gamification Example: the world’s first “gamified corporate website”
Way back in 2011, tech giant Samsung released Samsung Nation. The website immediately caught on! It was the first time a big company like Samsung used gamification examples such as badges, sweepstakes, leaderboards, and points to engage customers on their website.
In practice, Samsung Nation let fans of Samsung products leave reviews and chat with other users. Essentially, Samsung was leveraging gamification to build a community long before it became popular! As a result, Samsung.com experienced a 66% increase in visitors and 309% more comments!
Facebook Gamification Example: a basketball mini-game keeps users coming back
The next time you use Facebook Messenger, try sending your friend a basketball emoji. When you do this, you kickstart a hidden mini-game! Basically, the goal is to shoot as many hoops as possible. It’s really that simple, but that’s what makes it so addictive. What’s more, there’s even a leaderboard to track who’s winning! Because of this added competition, users are motivated to beat both their buddy and their previous score.
While it is a simple gamification example, the mini-game is effective for 3 big reasons:
The game is fun and challenging
Competitive features encourage social interaction
Social interaction makes people happy and increases reuse intention!
Instagram Gamification Example: likes & comments are a game
Already, social interaction is extremely motivating. But Instagram found a way to make socialization even more engaging for their 2 billion monthly active users! In a way, the app makes earning likes and comments as exciting as a game. Think of them as Instagram points! In effect, likes and comments leverage 3 gamification mechanics:
Provides valuable feedback
Rewards users for engaging by giving heart emojis
Challenges users to earn more likes and comments next time
In the end, gaining tons of likes feels like an accomplishment. You can even scroll back through your history and see your progress, just like a game!
Reddit Gamification Example: the “karma” points system that creates a community
Reddit is a social network made up of over 3.1 million user-driven communities called subreddits. In every community, Redditors can earn “karma”. This gives the community a common goal, which brings them closer together. Essentially, users post content like links or text in a subreddit. In turn, other users upvote or downvote these submissions. Upvoted posts go to the top, and downvoted ones to the bottom. In effect, Reddit’s feed is like a crowdsourced leaderboard!
And the more upvotes you get, the more karma you earn. Basically, karma is a form of status point that shows off a user’s importance to the community. Given this, karma creates a competitive environment where users are encouraged to post the best content! So at the end of the day, everyone wins!
Snapchat Gamification Example: ensures app engagement with a simple trick
Snapchat is a social messaging tool built around a few gamification principles. First of all, the “snaps” you get from friends have limited availability. The fact that you can’t open a snap after 24 hours means you’ll have to watch it before, or never know what snap you got!
Additionally, Snapchat rewards daily app engagement with streaks. Not checking in daily will break your streak or ‘best friend’ status with the person you snap the most with. Lastly, there are trophies you can collect for achievements on the app. These are usually linked to the use of new features such as ‘sent a video for the first time’ or your app engagement like ‘you have sent 100K snaps’. These game elements encourage the behaviors that drive participation on Snapchat.
Tinder Gamification Example: became the most addictive dating app
Tinder is a dating app with insanely high app engagement due to one simple reason: unpredictability. Tinder works by showing you profiles that you can swipe left or right, depending on whether you’d like to meet this person or not.
The app basically has all the data it needs to match you with the perfect profiles, however, it doesn’t do that.
Tinder shows you random matches to keep you engaged. It’s the unpredictability of the variable reward that gets people in the endless swiping loop similar to a slot machine. Admit, it wouldn’t be as fun if we knew every swipe would be a great match!
LinkedIn Gamification Example: gamified onboarding with 1 simple feature
Setting up a LinkedIn profile is very similar to playing a game for the first time. Their progress bar shows how far your profile is from being completed. You will get clear instructions every step of the way on how to improve your profile.
The progress bar also indicates your profile strength. Improving your profile will help you ‘Get found for more opportunities!’ A combination of clear goals and instant visual feedback will boost app engagement and user motivation immensely.
Foursquare Gamification Example: triggers users to check-in
Foursquare is a live map of your friends. It works by having individual users check in their location, everywhere they go. But why would they check in, to begin with?
You can earn badges by checking in on different venues. Some cities even have their own badge. Other badges are coupled to special events or user participation, such as checking in a certain number of times. Finally, you can also become Mayor of a place if you’re the one that has checked in the most.
The app has over 10 different levels for superusers. From level one to three you can edit venue information. The higher the level, the more things you’ll be able to do in the app. It’s the relatedness and competition that helped Foursquare get 55 million monthly active users with up to 9 million daily check-ins and 3 billion global visits every month!
SOUNDS Gamification Example: help users unlock more value
SOUNDS is a music-sharing app with over 8 million users worldwide. If you want to share music, you will have the SOUNDS watermark on every post. You can remove the watermark by inviting more friends to join the app. SOUNDS also employs exclusivity in its features. For instance, you can’t see your own profile views unless you upgrade to the VIP version.
The app uses curiosity and avoidance to drive more downloads and engagement. They reward users to drive behaviors that fuel growth, such as inviting friends. Finally, by making their features less accessible SOUNDS boosts monetization.
Zenly and Houseparty Gamification Examples: make waiting less boring
Zenly is a friend map similar to Foursquare and Houseparty is a video calling tool to do virtual house parties with your friends. What these apps both have in common, is they implement fun messaging while the user has to wait.
Zenly for instance greets its users with funny and human messages when they open the app and even in its notifications. This way their users feel closer and safer to sharing their information on the app. The app has over 1 million users of which 340,000 are engaged at least once per month and 80,000 daily.
Houseparty entertains also uses celebration screens & funny messages while users are waiting on their friends. In 2020 the app was one of the fastest-growing in the Appstore with over 17 million downloads.
Telfie Gamification Example: employ gamification to train recommendation engine
Telfie is a social entertainment network, like Foursquare for content. You can check in when watching your favorite TV shows and movies, and share them with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. They increase engagement on the app with free tickets and bonuses. Users get rewards after registering when they share what they’re reading or when they interact with the system.
Telfie also uses gamification for apps to train their recommendation engine. This way users get more accurate recommendations for films, books, or music according to their preferences. The user motivation here is to get more value out of the app. After millions of check-ins and deals with brands like Nickelodeon, CNBC, and FOX the app shut down.
Accor Hotels Gamification Example: a “stored value” loyalty program that grows revenue
When you stay at one of Accor’s thousands of hotels, you can earn points using the Accor Live Limitless program. In short, the program rewards customers with points on their purchases with the company. Following that, these points can be redeemed to pay for further stays at an Accor hotel! In other words, it’s like having a second wallet. And this leverages the “stored value” effect, which is effective for multiple reasons:
Boosts retention (why leave if you already have points?)
The loyalty program collects customer data, which increases upselling
Did you know that craft beer company Brewdog is carbon negative? As a part of its “Make Earth Great Again” campaign, the brewery is promoting a sustainable message. Enter Planet Brewdog! Essentially, it is a loyalty program where customers earn badges for “killing carbon”. In other words, by buying their carbon-negative beers, rather than from another brewery who are not as green as Brewdog. Now that’s a feel-good reward!
Besides the prize that comes with a badge, there are other reasons why people love to earn badges! Receiving a badge is positive reinforcement, and having a stack of badges can proudly display your growth.
KFC Gamification Example: loyal customers can game their way to a prize
Leading fast food outlet KFC has moved past traditional points-based loyalty schemes. In fact, they now use gamification! With the KFC Rewards Arcade app, fried chicken fans can play games twice a day to win random items on the KFC menu. Limiting the number of turns each day increases retention and customer lifetime value. Not to mention that randomized items lead to a fun, unpredictable experience.
KFC was clear about the goals of this clever gamification example:
Allow customers to win instantly and more often
Associate the brand with fun experiences
Increase customer purchase frequency
Increase mobile engagement
Without a doubt, KFC achieved its aims! Gamification resulted in a 53% increase in loyalty program usage, with 1 in 3 customers claiming to use the app more frequently.
Starbucks Gamification Example: gamified rewards program
Starbucks’ reward program is built to boost customer loyalty. It is also one of the most successful apps of its kind. The app rewards users with stars for every order they place. Later, they can redeem the stars for free food and drinks.
As users collect more starts, they also improve their levels. At 450 stars you reach the gold level. This means you’ll get extra benefits such as extra shots of espresso, dairy alternatives, whipped cream, and more, on the house! Simply incentivizing users to keep buying from Starbucks engaged over 16 million customers. The loyalty app is responsible for 40% of the total sales in the US!
Gilt Groupe Gamification Example: built a loyalty program on social rewards
The Gilt Groupe is a member-based e-commerce site that sells exclusive clothing and accessories. The site runs time-limited sales which anticipate scarcity and urgency as emotional triggers. They created the Gilt Noir category for their most loyal customers.
These customers represent the top 1% of Gilt shoppers based on the total value of purchases. Members get a scented candle, a member’s card, and early access to preview all product sales. They even get exclusive sales that are only available to them!
Needless to say, users are driven by a desire to be a part of this exclusive community.
Goibibo Gamification Example: the gamification of the travel industry
Goibibo is an Indian travel app that used in-app currencies to boost the number of travel bookings. During the Indian Premier League, the app introduced goCashFest. Users could cash here every time the Mumbai Indians played. They gained points for every 4s, 6s, 50, and 100 wickets and wins during the match.
Users could use this cash to make bookings on Goibibo’s travel platform. The goCash initiative still serves as a gamified loyalty program. Users can unlock exclusive benefits such as free meals and seats, and win badges for engaging in their online community.
Other gamification examples
Australian Bureau of Statistics Gamification Example: games can also help build awareness
Gamification examples in the public sector are a little different. Still, the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows how gamification can engage! When the ABS wanted to make more citizens understand the significance of the population census, they released a game called “Run That Town”.
Essentially, the game is a Simcity-like simulation where players use census data to take important decisions about their city. Who lives in the area? Do the locals need a new school? In the game, these choices have real consequences. Losers are chased out of town by an angry mob with pitchforks!
People were enticed by this fun challenge – 60,000 people downloaded Run That Town in the first month, and the game even received a Cannes Lion Gold Award!
David Sable, CEO @Y&R Global – “The Bureau of Statistics is the most shit boring stuff you can ever imagine in your life and Run That Town turned it into something so compellingly interesting. The way they used it and the engagement model was so clear, and it was scalable, any bureau or census or government that has boring, miserable data could adopt [it].”
Crowdrise Gamification Example: points, badges, and leaderboards incentivize charity donations
Crowdrise was a P2P charity platform where users fundraised for valuable causes. By the time it was ultimately bought out by GoFundMe, the platform raised $5 billion! In particular, Crowdwise achieved this because it created a social experience. To build a community of over 50 million donors, Crowdwise used several gamification examples:
Badges that show off a user’s achievements over time
Customized profiles boost ownership and feelings of belonging
Leaderboards display social status and motivate users to donate to win
Essentially, Crowdrise used gamification to amplify the positive feelings and social benefits of charity. Thanks to the fun experience, over 1 million campaigns were funded!
Top consultancy firm Deloitte welcomes new employees with a unique game experience! During onboarding, new employees play a simulation game acting as office managers. Through different scenarios like handling tough employee conversations, learners explore the benefits of various leadership styles.
But why use gamification instead of a booklet or induction session? Because Deloitte believes that gamification has the power to increase motivation! Just ask Deloitte, here are the insights they gained from the game:
Customized avatars increase the sense of involvement
Provides instant feedback, fueling the need for more positive reinforcement
Gamified environments provide a safe place to fail, which facilitates learning
Games get more difficult as they go, kickstarting the need to achieve. In fact, this effect alone leads to a 20% increase in learner ability!
DOKK1 Library Gamification Example: how gamification can help team-building
DOKK1 is a library and cultural center in Aarhus, Denmark. Every week, they hold “International Breakfast” events for foreign families. Essentially, it’s a way to integrate newcomers and help them build a network in the city. But the library found that the experience was not as effective as they hoped. To fix this, they used gamification!
To encourage collaboration, DOKK1 introduced competition into the weekly meeting. Attendees were put into teams and then competed to win various tasks like quizzes. In the end, winning teams gained a LEGO brick on the “leaderboard”. Not only is this quick visual feedback, but it also motivates other teams to beat their score! As a result of the change, social interaction increased. And you can imagine the families left happier too!
Gamification can bring you closer to your audience! To promote their world-famous soft drink among teenagers in Thailand, Pepsi created a unique marketing campaign. People call the teenage generation “unreachable”, but Pepsi’s campaign proves otherwise!
Firstly, Facebook Messenger users could request their favorite songs through a chatbot. Then, Pepsi used an AR camera to simulate a karaoke experience! After that, users could share videos of them singing with their friends. Not only is this a great example of a fun game, but it is also a personalized and social experience. Thanks to the campaign, Pepsi generated 560 million impressions! Plus, this lifted brand awareness by 5 points among teens, leading to a 20% boost in sales!
US Army Gamification Example: games can teach skills too
Some early gamification examples created controversy when they were released. But then innovations usually generate debate! In 2002, the Armed Forces of the United States released a game called America’s Army. In the free-to-play game, players can learn the tasks and responsibilities of different military roles, such as a medic or mechanic. Essentially, the game was a marketing tool – and it exceeded expectations!
Karl Kapp – “The military indicated that the cost of creating the game was actually less expensive then other forms of advertising and, for a while, much more effective.”
In the end, over 20 million played the game! That’s thanks to gamification, which turned what could have been a boring educational course into a fun experience.
Dropbox Gamification Example: how handing out free storage space helped Dropbox grow by 3900%
Dropbox is one of the best-known storage apps in the world. They kickstarted their growth with a gamified referral program. You could win free storage space for taking a tour in Dropbox, referring friends, or connecting your social media accounts.
Both you and your friend got up to 500 MB if they signed up. You could win a total of 16 GB if you maxed out the number of referrals!
They grew by 3900% in just 15 months. To put that in perspective they went from 100,000 registered users to 4 million. Dropbox still uses its rewards program today to drive sales to Dropbox Pro among other goals. They now have 14 million active users!
Gamification is the use of game-like elements to make an experience more fun and engaging. Gamification examples include points and badges. These features tap into behavioral psychology, leveraging needs like growth and belonging to make something intrinsically motivating. In short, enjoyable!
In mHealth, the fitness app Fitbit is a successful gamification example. In fact, simply by introducing a leaderboard, the app increased daily steps by 15%! Don’t forget Duolingo, whose gamification made learning languages so fun that the app has 300 million users!
Gamification fails when it lacks a coherent strategy. To avoid this, focus on what actions you want users to take. For a successful example, the e-scooter app Voi. wants users to ride more. That’s why they give bigger discounts to frequent riders!
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