9 gamification apps examples that show how gamified apps unlock user retention and growth

App gamification is no longer a secret hack – and for good reason! Case studies show that a gamified app sees increased user engagement and decreased user churn. All while remaining flexible and cost-effective! Is it any wonder, then, that a recent Gartner report found that a whopping 70% of the world’s top 2000 businesses now use gamification? So what are some examples of gamification in apps? And how much does it cost to gamify an app?

9 gamification apps examples that show how gamified apps unlock user retention and growth

In this article, let’s review why gamification is so important for mobile apps, how you too can develop a gamified app, and dive into 9 gamification app examples that increase user engagement and loyalty!

Why app gamification is the next big thing

Today, mobile app growth teams are finding a valuable strategy for in-app gamification. In 2022, the global gamification market hit above $15.3 billion in revenues. Incredibly, this is forecasted to skyrocket to an impressive $53.2 billion by 2028!

But why is everyone adopting gamification with such enthusiasm? The answer lies in how app gamification supports business goals.

Gamification in apps slashes user churn

Without a doubt, the most important part of the customer journey is onboarding. Industry wisdom states that each onboarding step results in a 20% increase in onboarding churn – preventing new users from being activated. To combat this, gamification in apps uses a progress tracker.

Take LinkedIn, whose progress bar was built to encourage profile completion led to an amazing 55% boost in conversions.

what are some examples of gamification?

App gamification drives user engagement

The average person spends 1/3 of their time on mobile! This gives you plenty of room to maximize user engagement, which is hugely beneficial. In short, engaged users create more data you can leverage, which you can use to better sell to them.

Gamification can give you that uplift – case studies show that a clever implementation of gamification apps examples can increase mobile user engagement by 47%.

Slash user churn with app gamification! Check out our definitive guide to app engagement & retention and get ahead of the competition.

How to build a gamified app? 4 tips to get started!

Gamification is both a science and an art. On one hand, it’s about clearly understanding what motivates and triggers your users. On the other hand, it’s about making things like progress and achievement tangible through rewards. It is precisely because you can tailor app gamification to your situation it’s so powerful. However, getting it right is not as easy as it sounds.

Here are a few things in mind if you consider adding gamification to your app:

  1. Make it competitive and social.
    Science shows that people are highly motivated by social influences. Given this, an in-app community with gamification apps examples like challenges, points, and leaderboards goes a long way to creating an active user base that engages with each other!
  2. Make progress visible.
    Leverage achievements, progress bars, and leveling systems to keep users engaged. As well, streaks are a super simple way to illustrate a user’s progress.
  3. Reward participation.
    Reduce user churn by giving users points, badges, and redeemable prizes! Research finds that badge rewards result in a ‘significant positive effect’ on the user, leading to higher user engagement!
  4. Make winning easy to understand.
    A simple digital confetti graphic goes a long way to visualize a user’s win. Indeed, timely positive reinforcement enhances the effects of a reward.

How to get started with app gamification? Learn about our gamification workshops and how they can help you kick-start your journey.

9 gamification apps examples that increase user engagement

#1 Forest leaderboard incentivizes green mobility

More than a generic leaderboard, the shared mobility app Forest ranks users based on how many trees worth of CO2 their e-bike riding has saved! Research already shows that leaderboards motivate users, but combining them with the brand identity of sustainable travel makes the customer experience more authentic, enhancing brand affinity and engagement. It works – since their recent city-wide launch in September 2021, an amazing 35,000 Londoners have become loyal users!

gamification examples user engagement

#2 Emirates NBD gets users moving with financial incentives

A unique mix of finance and fitness, the Dubai-based Emirates NBD app challenges users to walk 12,000 steps a day. Everyday users hit that target they receive 2% interest on their bank account! How’s that for a reward?

This one gamification feature gave the bank €208,000 in earned media, drove up user engagement, and saved users a cool €4 million.

gamifed app fintech user engagement

#3 How Nike Run Club drives user engagement & retention with rewards

Nike’s fitness app recently introduced partnerships with other health apps such as Headspace, ClassPass, and even Apple Music. But not every user gets the benefit. Instead, only users who meet their running goals are rewarded with perks such as free music from Apple or free gym sessions on ClassPass.

Behavioral science justifies this strategy – research shows that missing out is just as motivating as winning. Indeed, the added incentive to hit user targets drove user engagement, increased user retention by 21%, and made Nike Run Club the #1 running app worldwide!

fitness app user churn partnerships

#4 BBVA engagement shot up by 50% with their gamified app

BBVA is one of Spain’s oldest banks, which makes it all the more impressive that they’ve earned the right to be called “the digital bank of the 21st century”. In part, they built that reputation with a clever strategy of app gamification.

Seeing that those younger users were not engaging with more complex financial products such as insurance, mortgages, and slow money investments, BBVA developed a gamified app. By rewarding users with known gamification apps examples such as points and discounts for watching videos on financial literacy, they drove both user engagement and sales. After only 6 months, the game had over 100,000 active users!

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#5 Tiered rewards helped Changers transform a city

Mobility app Changers raised the bar for what user engagement can achieve. The app rewards users to cycle to work with cafeteria perks, fitness vouchers, and bike accessory discounts that can be unlocked by riding. In response to this incentive, users in the German city of Münster saved 80,000 kg of CO2 in just 3 months. That’s the equivalent of planting nearly 2000 trees!

user engagement gamified app

#6 The Headspace reward system is built on behavioral science

Streaks and badges are great rewards, and Headspace knows just when to use them. Leveraging the motivational benefits of the ‘endowed progress effect’, Headspace drives user engagement. This powerful effect is unlocked when you celebrate a user’s early achievements, which makes them more motivated to hit their target!

To create this effect, Headspace users earn badges early on, and the app notches up the days on a user’s streak. A streak of just 15 sessions earns a month’s subscription for a friend! Certainly, Headspace is proof that well-placed rewards drive user engagement. The app doubled both individual and business customers between 2018 and 2020!

wellness app gamification examples

#7 Fintech app Navexa rewards engaged free trial users

How do you create an active user base? Fintech app Navexa figured this out with one clever gamification feature. To reward free trial users for completing the onboarding, every completed step of onboarding earns users an extra free trial day! In essence, Navexa is picking out its most engaged users early and getting them to stick around.

onboarding gamified app

#8 Peloton’s social features are a marvel of user engagement

Fully paid-up subscribers can sync up their Peloton bike with live lessons, and this is a huge incentive to subscribe. Indeed, the app has 2.33 million paying users, up 12% from the previous year. Why did this happen? Customers love Peloton’s social integration, where they can attend exercise sessions with friends, and even challenge them to hit the top of the class leaderboard! Gamification apps examples like these show just how powerful adding a social aspect to your app can be!

gamification examples leaderboard fitness

#9 The city of Portland spent $50 million on gamified app Biketown

It’s not just private companies getting in on app gamification, but city governments too! The US city of Portland developed Biketown, an e-bike rental scheme intended to get citizens out on their bikes. It’s working – Biketown created 144,000 loyal users with a clever gamification system. Users earn discounts when they end their trips at key locations, such as the top of hills, or city centers at busy times.

The app even has some gamified routes, where users must find flyers with keywords on them. These games encouraged riders to explore new cycling routes in the city, showing how easy cycling can be and encouraging the habit-formation of users! That ultimately led to increased user engagement, which resulted in Biketown’s fast expansion.

shared mobility app gamification

How much does it cost to gamify an app?

With all this in mind, how much does it cost to gamify an app? Well, it depends on the solution you pick. If you’re going to build in all gamification features yourself, it will take up a lot of time and resources. However, with gamification software like StriveCloud, you can save tons of time and money!

Most gamification software is priced per (active) user. Prices may vary according to what software you’re using and the different capabilities it has. Some solutions have stand-alone features like leaderboards or in-app notifications, while others offer a full range of reward systems like badges, achievements, and more. Additionally, creating a gamified app is more than adding random gamification features. It’s about truly understanding your user’s motivation and building an experience around it.

Everything you need to gamify your app in 1 solution – check out how our gamification software can help you!


Gamification means using game-like elements in a non-game context. In doing so, research shows that you fulfill the psychological needs to spark and maintain intrinsic motivation which ultimately leads to more user engagement. Intrinsic motivators are complex goals like growth, purpose, and fun. To foster user engagement, it is essential!

Gamification increases user engagement by making the customer experience fun and satisfying, which in turn leads to more data for your marketing efforts and creates more engaged, loyal users. Indeed, case studies show that a gamified app has more active and engaged users over the long run!

App gamification helps apps drive user engagement and increase retention- which for many apps represents an untapped growth potential! Indeed, people spend 1/3 of their time on mobile, and that’s something app growth teams can take advantage of.

To create a gamified app you must make the customer experience competitive, social, and above all make winning easy to understand! In addition, user progress should be visible so customers can visualize their growth, and their participation rewarded with things like badges.

Behavioral science shows that the ‘endowed progress effect’ is an effective way to motivate users. The effect is unlocked when you celebrate early achievements, which makes users more motivated to hit their target! Timely gamification apps examples as badges and perks can create this effect.

With all this in mind, how much does it cost to gamify an app? Well, it depends on the solution you pick. If you build the gamification system yourself, it will take up a lot of time and resources. However, a gamification software like StriveCloud can save you a ton of time and money!
Most gamification software is priced per (active) user. Prices may vary according to what software you’re using and the different capabilities it has. However, creating a gamified app is more than just adding random features. It’s about truly understanding users’ motivation and building an experience around it.

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