7 Best Gamification Examples 2021 (video)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Our top 7 examples of gamification include Headspace, KFC, Under Armour, M&Ms, Starbucks, Nike, & Duolingo. All 7 examples illustrate how gamification can transform loyalty programs, exercise, learning, & marketing into something much greater.

The Gamification examples in this list include:

  1. Headspace

  2. KFC

  3. Under Armour

  4. M&M's

  5. Starbucks

  6. NikeFuel

  7. Duolingo

But, before we get into the following 7 Gamification examples and what made them so effective, let’s take a look at gamification in its simplest form. As any parent with young children could tell you, turning an activity into a game is a great way to get them to participate in important tasks. An example of this could be parents attaching rewards to well-performed chores.

This strategy is called Gamification, and it’s used pretty well wherever someone needs to be motivated to perform an action. Gamification is an effective marketing tactic and one that’s especially prevalent in the age of smartphones.

According to Forbes, 80% of smartphone users play mobile games on their device, and nearly 50% play games every day. Additionally, mobile game apps are used equally by both men and women. While more teens play mobile games than adults, 62% of adults do use these apps. These statistics actually contribute towards mobile games being the biggest contributor in the video game industry.

It’s no surprise then, that advertisers picked up on the marketing potential of mobile gamification campaigns. Here are seven examples of good gamification advertising campaigns, and what made them work.

Today, many of the game mechanics used to engage mobile gamers, such as badges and rewards are now finding their way into non-gaming activities such as education, fitness, banking, and more. Here are seven case study examples of good gamification advertising campaigns, and what made them work.

#1 Headspace

It’s no secret that in today’s fast-moving society, it can be very challenging to remove yourself from the busyness of life and train your mind to withstand distractions. So why not use a project management app to help you on your way down a path of self-care?

Human psychology is a powerful thing. When cultivated effectively through an experience it can yield promising results. That’s exactly what Headspace taps into, the things that deeply drive and motivate users to perform an action being the very same thing that leads them to better mental health.

As part of the user’s profile in the app, one gets to see a dashboard of statistics with attention given to the current streak. The gamification techniques found in this type of interface and data helps turn an activity into a habit for users. 

Sometimes, simply having the visual reminder of potential loss can be enough to get users to continue their streaks. This is a perfect example of loss aversion, as sometimes the thought of losing something such as a streak can be as strong, if not a stronger motivator than gaining something.

Headspace’s app is careful to tap into the areas of meaning, accomplishment, empowerment, social influence, ownership, avoidance, unpredictability and scarcity.

#2 KFC's Shrimp Attack

Advergames are games custom built specifically to showcase a particular product or brand within an interactive game environment. KFC Japan partnered with Gamify to create a marketing campaign that not only informed customers but also motivated them to try the new line of shrimp-themed menu items.

The experience took the form of a mobile game which allowed users to swat away at shrimp that were falling out of the screen (much like Fruit Ninja). KFC’s marketing campaign was so successful that it led to the new product line eventually selling out from all the voucher redemptions. KFC found that they had to cut the campaign time in half to stabilise KFC’s supply and demand.

This gamification strategy saw 22% of people who played the game redeem their rewarded voucher within a store. The store sales figure increased by 106% compared to the previous year.

This is a great example of Gamify meaning to enhance product sales through an incentive driven gamified campaign.

#3 Under Armour Trivia App

Under Armour organised in partnership with Steph Curry for a surprise Trivia game to launch during the NBA playoffs. Whenever Steph Curry sinks his first three-pointer during all season games, a quick game of Steph IQ would launch. Under Armour developed the elimination style trivia app. Think HQ Trivia, but with more questions focused around “the Bay Area, Stephen’s rookie season, epic playoff performances, sneakers”.

The trivia game offered prizes to those who could answer all eight multiple-choice questions correctly within the time window. Winners had the chance to split the prize pool, and a few lucky winners entered into a special raffle. Prizes in the raffle included the “Curry 5” signature shoe, playoff tickets, Under Armour gear and more.

This campaign was a win for all involved, NBA’s viewership increased, as well as Under Armour’s sales, and fans had a chance to be rewarded for their knowledge.

#4 M&M's Eye-Spy Pretzel

M&M’s Eye-Spy Pretzel app is a good example of a simple game with a big impact. Users are tasked with finding a pretzel hidden within an image full of M&M’s. This straightforward puzzle brought in 25,000 new likes for the company on Facebook and around 6,000 shares.

Advertising experts recommend that advertisers keep their game elements simple, as too many elements can lead to users feeling overwhelmed.

As with all advertising, it is important to confirm campaign goals before designing the game. This means confirming the target audience for the game, as well as what kind of engagement it aims to elicit. Advergames can be used to increase brand exposure, brand engagement time, or even the frequency of interactions with a brand. 

Your advertising will only be effective if the games are designed with specific business needs and priorities in mind. In this particular case, the activity was created to bring in new customers who would likely interact with the brand repeatedly.

#5 My Starbucks Rewards

The idea of loyalty programs for establishments like coffee shops is not new, yet, Starbucks took the concept a step further with their Starbucks Rewards app to become one of the most successful rewards programs ever. The program works on a completion system, where customers earn points towards bigger and bigger prizes whenever they make purchases. Where traditional ink-on-paper loyalty cards end up getting bent and forgotten in the customer’s wallets, a neat and easy app version is more likely to encourage loyalty to the company. 

Starbucks has reported an increase in revenue of $2.65 billion, attributing its rewards program for most of the increase. Over the last two years, membership has grown more than 25%, loyal customers use Starbucks’ membership program (16 million members) for about 40% of sales at the company’s US stores.  Revenue rose 4.6% to $6.31 billion during the quarter from the previous year.

Mobile app makes online ordering and payment easy. The mobile ordering system acts as a digital marketing tool, allowing customers to see new items much in advance of launch. 

The Starbucks app provides users with an inviting and innovative unique experience, just like the coffee chain itself. The convenience of using an app leads to loyalty, as the simple functionality of the app makes it appealing to users.

#6 NikeFuel

Nike understands that, for many people, the primary blocker to consistent training is a lack of motivation. Without a running partner, a personal trainer, or some other form of encouragement, it's easy for people to fall away from healthy habits. 

NikeFuel, applied gamification to exercise to increase the likelihood of users interacting with the product. One big reason for this is that games motivate their audience to take note and engage. Good gamification marketing creates interest for users in three main ways: validation, completion, and rewards.

Nike’s fitness app, NikeFuel, is driven by its users’ tendencies to share their fitness achievements for validation on social media. Users compete with each other and share their results on a daily basis. Sharing your progress bar creates a community around the brand, with users integrating the app into their everyday lives.

Nike consistently celebrates small wins with unique messages congratulating users on what they've accomplished and encouraging them to keep going. The continuous encouragement boosts users' confidence in their abilities, while also raising engagement within the app. And each run unlocks new achievements, which can be shared with friends and improved over time.

Users can also automatically share achievements with their friends. This kind of sharing is known as a retention hook, a built-in feature that gives users a reason to send notifications to other users, which brings them back to the app.

The validation technique is often used by social media sites in the form of likes, retweets, gaining followers and so on. These are all means of allowing users to respond positively to one another’s content. Validation is one of the strongest drivers of long-term quality engagement because it helps communities form.

#7 Duolingo

Duolingo has changed the way people approach learning a new language for an all-in approach at making learning a language fun.

Duolingo realised that learning a whole new language can be a challenging task, so they associated language classes with game-like tasks to help users truly retain information. 

Gamifying the entire learning experience with points, badges, learning streaks, social functions, rewards and more, helps build momentum and motivation for users in their studies.

Whether you're aware of it or not, gamification is integrated into most things these days, there's no wondering as to why it’s so effective for marketing purposes.

To gain a better understanding of what a Gamification Marketing Campaign could look like for your brand, contact Gamify today.

Get 30% off Gizmo for the next 6 months!