10 gamification ideas that show how to create a great user experience

What features should a gamified user experience have? In practice, the answer depends on your business goals! Whether you choose to use challenges, points, leaderboards – or all of them together – gamification can drive users toward what you want them to achieve! To help you picture success, let’s see 10 gamification ideas in action!

10 gamification ideas that show how to create a great user experience

What is gamification?

Gamification uses game-like elements to motivate users in non-game contexts. And all kinds of apps can implement gamification ideas like points and levels! Essentially, a gamified app taps into human psychology by satisfying our innate needs for fun, growth, and belonging. In turn, this makes the user experience more enjoyable!

This is what we call intrinsic motivation, and it encourages users to return, leading to long-term app engagement. Unlike extrinsic rewards, such as financial prizes or cashback, gamification leverages internal drivers for effective and sustained retention.

New to gamification ideas? Learn the basics with StriveCloud! Our definitive guide to app gamification can act as a reference point for your engagement strategy.

What is gamification for apps?

Simply put, gamification runs on data. And apps generate tons of user data! A gamified app can leverage this user data to build a satisfying user experience. In other words, gamification ideas can turn mundane or routine tasks into more enjoyable and memorable activities. To achieve this, gamification relies on 4 simple mechanics:

  • Achievement. Badges and levels celebrate user engagement!
  • Competition. People are naturally social and competitive.
  • Feedback. Instant feedback positively reinforces the user.
  • Reward. Points, perks, and bonuses! Whatever you want to call it, rewards are extremely motivating and help give tasks purpose.

Why are gamification ideas so successful?

Gamification ideas are based on the behavioral psychology that is common to us all. In short, they’re backed up by decades of science into what makes humans tick. And all this research means that we know confidently how to motivate people and drive behaviors! And because these principles are so broad and relatable to the way our brains work, it means that any kind of industry can benefit from a gamified app!

Here’s why gamification ideas work so well:

Leverages the power of loss avoidance

Loss avoidance is one of the most powerful psychological forces! In fact, the fear of losing out is more motivating than winning. Gamification thrives on this principle. Even a simple reward for completing a task can motivate users to engage!

“Human behavior is more strongly driven by the motivation to avoid losses than to pursue gains… loss aversion motivates higher effort investment in effort-based decision-making.” – Frontiers in human neuroscience

People crave validation

Validation, or positive reinforcement, is a human necessity. When you provide it with a badge reward, or even just a filled-in progress bar, you unlock the intrinsic drivers of growth and self-worth. Satisfying these needs makes a completed task more enjoyable, and it encourages us to engage again!

Simplifies the user experience

Essentially, you perform a task, and you get rewarded for it. It doesn’t get clearer than that! In scientific terms, they call this “reducing the cognitive load”. In other words, a simple story makes your app easier to use because it requires less mental effort to follow. That’s thanks to 3 gamification ideas:

  • Clear goals and progress
  • Feedback and rewards
  • Guided pathways

3 key benefits of app gamification

The average person spends 1/3 of their time on mobile. Given this, they are always looking for a place to engage. And that’s where gamification comes in! Game elements can help you maximize app engagement and create a better experience for your users. That’s because gamification ideas result in 3 key benefits:

  1. Drives users towards certain tasks, so you can achieve your business goals
  2. Encourages engagement with rewards, leading to higher retention
  3. Enriches the user experience, boosting overall satisfaction

To be sure, you should not underestimate the benefits of increased user satisfaction. In practice, satisfaction is one of the best predictors of loyalty. And loyal customers are the ultimate goldmine! Time and time again, apps report that their top 20% of users make up 80% of revenue!

10 gamification ideas for apps


#1 GooglePay’s stamp challenge enthralled India

How did GooglePay stimulate product adoption in India? With a challenge! For Diwali, one of India’s biggest festivals, the app challenged customers to earn 5 unique stamps. Basically, they do this by completing transactions and earning randomized stamps. If you collected all 5 stamps within the 2-week deadline, you got a cash prize! In a way, this makes the challenge like a lottery, which makes it even more unpredictable and fun.

In the end, the campaign garnered over 37 million impressions and sparked 225,000 conversations on social media. Sounds good, right? Here’s why the challenge worked:

  • Dopamine effect. Getting the right stamp feels great!
  • Effort/reward balance. Making engagement easy is crucial.
  • Habit formation. Repetitive actions and rewards hook customers in.
  • Narrative. Centered around a cultural festival, GooglePay put its spin on a widely shared and beloved story.
marketingtips campaign gamification ideas fintech banking

#2 Santander Cycles incentivizes users to achieve (and win!)

Challenges are unpredictable – and that’s exciting! This freshness gives users a reason to return to the app. For instance, London’s Santander Cycles regularly challenges their customers. To make their challenges extra motivating, the app rewards successful customers with a lottery entry and the thrilling chance of winning a prize.

For one, this triggers customers to complete actions aligned with their business goals. It can be seen that Santander Cycles wants customers to take more rides. That’s why they create achievements such as “keep on pedaling” and “frequent flyer”, where riders have to ride every day or exceed 123 kilometers. And when riders pass these challenges, it increases their self-confidence and feeling of expertise!

shared mobility apps gamification ideas


#3 Kazyr ranked their esports teams

Leaderboards help users compare their personal progress against their peers. For esports platform Kazyr, implementing a leaderboard was one of the gamification ideas they had when they came to us at StriveCloud to gamify their web app. On the leaderboard, gamers are sorted by their skills, with the top-ranking players winning prizes like merchandise and experiences, not to mention bragging rights!

For many apps, leaderboards can inspire a sense of competition. That’s assuming the information isn’t sensitive, like in banking apps for example. Indeed, users should want to publicize their ranking – after all, it’s a sign of social status and that’s motivating!

After implementing our gamification ideas, Kazyr achieved amazing results:

  • 60% more daily active users
  • 1 year of 24/7 eyeball time in a day
  • 1.5h average session time per user per day

Pieter Verheye, Community Manager @Kayzr – “By gamifying the user experience, StriveCloud helped us grow our user base by 350%.”

#4 Sweatcoin pays the board leaders

In 2021, Sweatcoin was just a growing fitness app. Back then, established leaders like Strava and Fitbit held the top spots. But by 2022, Sweatcoin was the most downloaded mHealth app in the world! Their implementation of gamification ideas like rewards and leaderboards is a huge part of their success. Essentially, users get “Sweatcoins” for their daily steps. These coins are actually digital currency, which users can then exchange for dollars and euros in their wallets!

To further encourage users to earn Sweatcoins, the app places users on a leaderboard. For one, the feature offers feedback and positive reinforcement. But it also helps create a community of Sweatcoin users! When users compete for the top spot, they share the same goals and interests as others. As a result, you fulfill the ‘need to belong’, which social psychologists call hugely powerful. In short, it’s how you keep your users around for longer, and in turn, boost loyalty!

mHealth fitness app gamified leaderboard


#5 Ready Telco One shows that gamification ideas are powerful

Gamification ideas are spreading far and wide, even to big telecommunications companies. Recently, telco giants Orange and Microsoft partnered to create an experiment called Ready Telco One. The app explored the benefits of gamification features, including points. As a gamified telco marketplace, they rewarded points to users for engaging in quizzes, making product searches, and even virtual testing telco products. Following that, the points could be redeemed for discounts at partner retailers.

As a result of the app, industry experts estimated that the gamification ideas shown off in Ready Telco One could deliver great outcomes:

  • €18 million increase to monthly revenue
  • 1 million new app customers
  • €0.55 increase in ARPU
telco telecommunications gamification ideas

#6 HumanForest uses points to send a sustainable message

To encourage Londoners to travel green, our team at StriveCloud helped the e-bike app HumanForest create and implement a gamification plan. More than anything, HumanForest’s Michael Stewart wanted to reward customers for their positive impact on the environment. This led to the creation of ‘TreeCoins’. More than a simple points system, the scheme rewards customers for riding with free minutes or discounts at green retailers.

But here’s the best part – TreeCoins actually show users how many trees worth of CO2 they save! For every 5 miles that users ride, they earn a TreeCoin, and this TreeCoin represents 1 tree in saved CO2.

Michael Stewart @HumanForest – “StriveCloud really helped us fulfil our brand message. The TreeCoins explain our mission perfectly… the progress visualization mechanic prompts users to keep using HumanForest and rewards sustainable behavior with free minutes!”

Visualizing these real-life consequences makes the points feel tangible – and in turn more valuable. Users can literally see their positive impact on our planet! This incentive gives users a reason to return to HumanForest, and it clearly works. In June 2022, 70% of the 150,000 trips on HumanForest were made by repeat users!

humanforest shared mobility gamified uxdesign


#7 Muscle Booster lets users customize their exercise

One of the easiest ways to give users a purpose is by simply asking them what they want to achieve. Of course, you can’t ask 100 questions. Indeed, you need to keep it short and sweet, because every added step of onboarding costs 20% of your users!

Having a clear goal sets out a pathway for your engagement. In turn, this simplifies the experience. For a good example, look at MuscleBooster. The app lets users select their personal goals during onboarding, as well as customize their desired workouts to match. As a bonus, this takes advantage of the ‘endowed progress effect’. Essentially, people are more likely to complete tasks they begin!

personalization gamification ideas mhealth

#8 Stitch Fix gets to know your preferences during onboarding

Ecommerce is a competitive industry. But gamification ideas can gift you the edge – and Stitch Fix is proof of that! Immediately when a new customer joins the platform, they participate in “Style Shuffle”. Essentially, users are shown different items of clothing, asked “Would you wear this?”, and tasked to thumb up or down the garments.

Next, these answers are used to personalize a surprise clothes box that Stitch Fix delivers monthly to your door. For one, this is a great way to gather data on users and create a more valuable service. What’s more, asking users for feedback shows that you value their opinions and this builds brand trust. And of course, it is also just more fun!

Since the game launched, more than 75% of Stitch Fix’s 3 million customers have engaged with it, generating over a billion ratings!

Torunn Skrogstad, Principal Product Designer @Stitch Fix – “Style Shuffle was a huge unlock for the company. I was sitting in Copenhagen fiddling with these thumb icons and I had no idea this would be a huge unlock for the business.”

ecommerce gamified uxdesign clothing

Daily streaks

#9 Duolingo streaks keep students learning

Streaks keep track of a user’s daily engagement. They are especially effective in habit formation, and that’s why you’ll see a lot of mHealth and edtech apps using them. For example, the language learning app Duolingo uses streaks to incentivize regular engagement. And people love to keep their streaks! In fact, when Duolingo challenged users to keep their streak with a “wager”, 2-week retention rose 14%!

duolingo edtech gamification ideas

#10 Snapchat combines socialization & streaks to maximize engagement

Snapchat is one of the world’s most popular social apps, with over 330 million downloads in 2022. To maximize daily engagement, Snapchat rewards users with streaks. Essentially, if you don’t message a friend for a day, you’ll lose your “best friend” streak! What’s more, users get trophies and badges for long streaks.

All in all, this leverages the gamification ideas mentioned earlier, namely loss avoidance. And by making the streak a social feature, it becomes even more powerful!

gamification examples social apps

Try out gamification with StriveCloud!

Which gamification ideas appeal to you? With so many features you could use, it’s hard to know in what direction to push. Here’s what we say at StriveCloud – you need to have clear goals from the very beginning and design your gamification accordingly. That advice is based on our experience working with clients across industries like financial services, shared mobility, edtech, health, and enterprise.

To shape your gamification plan, we can help! Our gamification software is designed to implement game features fast and flexibly, while under the guidance of our expert team. It’s all a part of our 3 simple steps to success:

  1. First, we start our collaboration with a workshop. During this, we’ll identify the best way forward given your goals and target audience.
  2. Second, we will set up our software to integrate the new features straight into your app! What’s more, you’ll gain access to a control panel where you can make live changes.
  3. Finally, we onboard and train your team to use our software, so you can work the way you want! Of course, we will be there to help at every step.

Make your gamification ideas a reality! Check out our gamification software and build your dream UX.


Gamification uses game-like features to motivate users in non-game contexts. And any app can gamify! That’s because gamification ideas tap into shared human psychology by satisfying innate needs like growth and belonging. As a result, you create a more engaging user experience.

Gamification ideas are successful because they’re based on decades of behavioral psychology that explores what makes humans tick. For example, humans instinctively avoid losses and seek positive reinforcement. Features like points and badges can leverage these behaviors to create powerful motivation!

Gamification can drive customers toward your business goals. This is done by rewarding specific behaviors with features like points and leaderboards. Essentially, rewards incentivize engagement and make the user experience more fun. In turn, this increases user satisfaction and leads to loyalty!

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