5 Benefits of Using Gamification in your Digital Marketing Strategy

By: Becky Simms

May 13, 2019


#DMWF - Customer Experience - Data Marketing - Digital Marketing -

5 Benefits of Using Gamification in Your Digital Strategy front image

Gamification is the word on every marketer’s lips. In a nutshell, gamification is the application of the mechanics of gameplay, such as competition, rankings and scoring systems, to non-gaming contexts. These non-gaming contexts include areas such as training, recruitment, and learning.

Each and every marketer is looking for new and innovative ways to reach their target audience but with consumers, more turned off than ever before by traditional online advertising, this has become increasingly challenging. Our 2018 gamification report even noted that 58% of our survey respondents said that online ads and marketing influence have little or no influence on their behaviour.

As the number of digital marketing tactics, strategies and channels have grown, so has the savviness of the general public. People know when they are being sold something, and can just end up feeling ambivalent to any form of sales communication. This is unsurprisingly a worrying situation for marketers looking for new ways of reaching their target audience.

Enter gamification. Gamification taps into the basic instinct for humans to “play” and has proven to be a way for marketers to provide real value to consumers and a positive digital experience, as well as having the benefit of building brand awareness, customer loyalty and profitability.

At Reflect Digital, we have worked on some fantastic campaigns such as Find50 Clubs, and have seen the huge ROI gamification can generate.

Here are 5 benefits of using gamification in your digital marketing strategy:

1) Improve Consumer Engagement

So we’re living in 2019 and people’s relationships to traditional forms of online advertising are changing. Despite still being highly effective in certain contents in such as building brand awareness and having an overriding “halo effect,” marketers are always looking for more effective ways of engaging their audiences.

Our report notes the fact that a fair number of people are actively hiding traditional ads through the use of ad blockers, especially young people. As people are moving away from traditional advertising, and becoming increasingly apathetic to traditional advertisements, brands are seeing the need to provide value and build relationships with their customers.

Brands need to recognise the value of multiple touchpoints in the decision journey. Gamification provides a way for brands to build relationships with their target audience and influence their decision-making process. Our report highlights how consumers previously exposed to gamification are extremely open to it. In fact, 60% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy from a brand if they enjoyed playing a game with it.

Gamification is unique in its ability to keep the brain engrossed and appeal to people’s love of rewards, levelling up and competition. A great example of this is the M&Ms eye spy online game, which was used to promote their new pretzel-flavoured sweetie. The game was very simple in that users had to spot the lone pretzel. A bit like “Where’s Wally?” but with M&Ms. Shared on social media, the campaign generated over 25,000 likes, 6,000 shares and 10,000 comments. The campaign found a new way of cutting through the noise, building awareness and engaging an audience is a completely unique way.

2) Make Data Collection GDPR Compliant

Data is the centrepiece to most digital marketing campaigns with the more you know about your existing customers and target audience, the better you can target your future campaigns. Back in 2018, the EU introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which provides regulations on the way that data is handled across every organisation collecting data in the EU. You may remember receiving thousands of emails from different brands asking you to “opt-in.” This left many marketers scratching their heads at the best way to capture data in order to shape their campaigns.

The intentional data capture made possible through online games is a fantastic way of gaining consensual, GDPR compliant data, which can be added to your CRM. The challenge is creating a hook strong enough for someone to opt-in. There has to be an incentive to provide their personal data, in a way that offers a fair value exchange. The challenge for marketers using gamification is finding a way of reaching the needs, desires and interests of their target audience.

Brands implementing gamification techniques can give users the opportunity to provide their information to have their name on a leaderboard, save a game’s progress or unlock different levels, for example. This information can be used to track behaviour, motivations and demographics of their users.

Back in 2012, Nike launched NikePlus, an app which tracks your runs and provides interesting statistics such as pace, calories, and location. This allows users to monitor their process, compete with their friends and share on social media. Not only was it a great use of gamification to broaden brand awareness and encourage competition amongst friends, but it also provided valuable data for Nike about their customer base. This data could be used to optimise other marketing channels, help develop the product range and shape further digital strategies and tactics.

3) Target Generation Z

As mentioned on our blog Why Gamification is the Perfect Match for 16-24-Year-Olds, members of Gen Z are looking to become the biggest group of consumers by 2020. Being the first generation to be brought up with such fast pace technology including smartphones, tablets and AI, whilst simultaneously having notoriously short attention spans, marketers are going to have to keep pushing the boat out to attract and engage this generation.

Gaming is almost synonymous with this generation, so putting two and two together is a no brainer. Gamified content provides the exact type of content this generation is used to – bite-sized, visual and highly addictive. Gamification techniques are already being used by this generation in education with apps such as Teach Your Monster to Read and Busy Things. In the future, this trend will surely have to increase over time.

4) Maintain Consumer Relationships

Something often forgotten amongst marketers is that relationships need to be mutually beneficial between the brand and their customers. A really exciting opportunity afforded by gamification is the ability to reward consumers for their loyalty, engagement and sharing the brand’s message in a fun and captivating manner.

Building relationships with a target audience can be achieved using gamification techniques in a number of ways including;

● Loyalty Programmes e.g. rewards, badges and points
● Friendly Competitions e.g. McDonalds Monopoly Game
● Personalised Content e.g. Personalised games based on customer data
● Fun Onboarding Games e.g. American Army Recruitment
● Leaderboards e.g. NikePlus App

Starbucks has become a real leader in terms of loyalty programmes, offering interactive features and rewards that are easy to redeem. The key to success lies in the fact that the app provides a unique and beneficial experience to customers where customers gain stars, with the more stars earned, the more rewards. Gamification at its finest.

5) Increase Brand Awareness

Brands are always looking for ways to reach their existing audience, new audiences or reconnect with old audiences. Gamified experiences provide the opportunity for consumers to engage with a brand in a fun environment without feeling like the brand is saying “Pick me, Pick
me.” These interactions are intended to provide positive associations and relationships for the user, which will hopefully benefit in the long term.

As games are not intended to directly lead to more sales, they provide brands with the opportunity to have a more playful personality. Reflect Digital have recently worked with Betfair to create a number of Find50 games, which have proved to be extremely popular, and have reached large media outlets such as Planet Football. The objective for Betfair is purely about brand awareness, and gamification provides the perfect conditions for engaging with brands in a non-committal, fun way.

Reflect Digital is an award-winning digital agency focused on delivering tangible impact, with client growth being achieved through a Sweet Spot methodology. This is where brand, technology and marketing are combined to achieve the optimum point, where these elements work in harmony, to deliver a successful return on investment.

They continually strive to challenge the norm, this mantra runs across the SEO campaigns they deliver, the digital solutions they develop and the gamification marketing strategies they implement as well as how the agency operates on a day to day basis. Reflect Digital is one of the first businesses in the UK to offer a 4-day working week to all staff, all part of their commitment to challenge the norm.

Becky Simms
Founder and CEO of Reflect Digital