Introducing Game Elements To Your App

Monday, November 22, 2021

Mobile games are currently the biggest contributor to video game usage around the globe. Recent reports show that over 2.3 billion people worldwide are active mobile gamers, and this number is forecast to increase.

Adding gamified elements (Gamification) inside mobile apps is a great way to raise engagement and build brand loyalty. In this article, we’ll go over a few great examples of gamification inside of apps, and exactly how you can implement these elements into your own.

Implementing gamified elements like reward systems into your app will help users to feel as though they’re participating in a fun game, which helps increase participation and engagement from users.

Top tips on introducing gamification into your app:

1) Research your audience
2) Select the right game mechanics
3) Keep the balance
4) Test, test, then test again

1) Research Your Audience

When building anything in business, you should always aim to understand your audience thoroughly. From their needs, desires, personality types, and pain points, knowing and understanding your ideal customer will help you tremendously when introducing gamification inside of the app itself.

A few ways to begin to do this is to create and send out surveys and forms to your current customers and ask them what kind of gamification or mobile games they like to play, and why. This will give you some great insight into where to start and how to build.

In terms of personality types, your general audience will probably fit into these three categories:

 1. Explorers: Those who are wanting to experience and understand the game world

2. Achievers: Those who want to win, and will do whatever it takes to do so.

3. Socializers: They are just there for community and communication

When creating your marketing strategy, it is important to create content that will grab the attention of these three types, and lead them down the sales funnel.

2) Select the right game mechanics

Once you have a good understanding and insight into your audience, it’s time to look at the different types of game mechanics you will be looking at potentially integrating.

An example of using the data on your audience would be something such as if your audience is primarily the “achiever” type, try integrating mechanics such as leaderboards and badges, that will help represent and reward the achievers with positive and fun shoutouts across the app. This will help with motivating people and keeping them engaged and on the app for longer.

In terms of game mechanics to consider, here are some of the most popular:

  • Badges: These are visuals such as certificates, or written out acknowledgments of achievements within the app. An example of this is Fitbit, which awards badges for activities such as walking 10k steps a day. You can gather badges throughout your week and try to go for long streaks of achievements.

  • Levels: Different parts of your app that increase with complexity in terms of use or gathering a particular achievement. Extra points and badges can be gathered the further you go. 

  • Journey: A unique pathway for users to follow through your productivity app.
    An example of a company that uses this is Uber. Uber drivers choose “quests” before the beginning of each week that represent a certain challenge, or rides driven. When they complete a quest, they receive a cash bonus. 

  • Progress bars: Another visual or graphic presentation of an app user’s progress. 

  • Leaderboards: One of the most popular forms of game mechanic, leaderboards create and display a ranking of top players, usually based upon points and performance. 

  • Points: The most basic of all game mechanics, points are rewards that users get for each accomplishment of the game.                          

3) Keep the Balance

Once you start implementing game mechanics into your app and they begin to increase engagement levels and sales, you might be tempted to keep adding in more and more, hoping to further increase results. We would advise against this, as your app will begin to simply turn into an actual game.

It’s a fine balance, your goal should be to make the app more fun, engaging, and rewarding. You can even make the gamification elements optional, for users who only want to use the app on its most practical level.

If you add in too many game-like elements, it might even distract your users from the total value of the product. Practice focusing on the bigger picture, and how the game mechanics can help support your users on their journey with the app, and your brand as a whole, instead of throwing out badges and points.

You want to create a particular type of flow and ease and allow for the gamification works to complement the user experience. 

4) Test, test, then test again

All apps and mobile video games are tested thoroughly in development, and your app should be no exception. The testing also should not stop once the app is launched. Along with asking for reviews and feedback, you should be tweaking your app according to your user’s feedback and reviews, so if users are not responding positively to a particular game mechanic, feel free to simply remove it!

Having good customer service that actually listens to the customer and tweaks their product offering accordingly, is a key part of a successful business.


Apps aren’t going anywhere, and the current app market is quite saturated, so as an app creator, you should be looking for ways for your app to stand out amongst the rest, and gamification is one of the most effective ways to do this. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a mini-game in your app, rather gamified elements, such as badges, leaderboards, and points to reward your users and keep them engaged. 

Once you implement these, make sure you test and ask for feedback, and continue to improve your app! If you have any current favorite apps that are using gamification, make sure to let us know in the comments below. Also if you would like to make your own game, feel free to sign up for Gizmo, here!

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