Level-up your Christmas marketing: Gamifiying Christmas campaigns

/ 24 August 2023

One effective way to spread more festive cheer is to add a dose of gamification to your Christmas marketing efforts. By gamifying your Christmas campaigns, you can greatly increase engagement, encourage more sharing and advocacy, and make the experience more rewarding for customers.

Instead of constant discounts and sales promotions, you can design a truly immersive festive journey. From advent calendar treats to festive quizzes and leaderboards, gamified Christmas marketing hits all the right notes.

In this post, we’ll explore some creative ways to level up your Christmas campaigns with gamification. Plus, you’ll learn gaming mechanics that are especially suited for the holidays and see examples that spread joy not annoyance. 

Let’s get into it. 🎄

Gamification: Making Christmas campaigns more fun

Gamification refers to applying game design elements and mechanics in non-game contexts. This includes things like points, badges, leaderboards, challenges, and rewards. The goal is to increase user engagement, motivation and enjoyment.  Which makes Christmas a perfect occasion to use gamification in your marketing. 

The holidays already have a playful, nostalgic spirit. Gamification allows you to build on that festive feeling while driving actions like social sharing, engagement, increase share of wallet, and loyalty.

For example, you could offer points and badges for customers who share holiday content or post festive photos. This incentivises them to provide useful first-party data like content preferences, brand sentiment, and purchase intent.

A leaderboard creates friendly competition to spread the most holiday cheer. As customers participate to move up the leaderboard, you gain valuable behavioural data on your best advocates and influencers.

Challenges like daily advent calendar unlocks or winter mini-games appeal to our desire for festive fun. And rewards like gift cards, discounts and free products satisfy the holiday craving for gifts under the tree. And the more users engage with these gamified experiences, the more first-party data you can gather on preferences.

Gamifying a Christmas campaign leverages fun and our innate nostalgia for the “most wonderful time of the year.” 

In short, it turns marketing into a game instead of a hard sell.

Gamification benefits for Christmas campaigns 

As we’ve touched on, the holidays are all about togetherness, nostalgia, and spreading joy. Gamifying your Christmas marketing helps amplify those festive feelings while driving important business goals:

  • Increased engagement: Gamification encourages more interaction with holiday content and campaigns. Customers are motivated to participate in challenges, earn rewards, climb leaderboards, etc. In fact, a 2023 Deloitte survey revealed that businesses implementing gamification saw an average 41% improvement in engagement. Your festive campaigns can enjoy similar lifts in participation when you leverage gamification mechanics.
  • Earning first-party data: As customers engage with gamified experiences, you gain valuable opted-in data on preferences and behaviours.
  • Greater sharing and advocacy: By making campaigns more fun and rewarding, customers are likely to share and promote your content more through social media and word-of-mouth.
  • Stronger loyalty and brand love: Special festive rewards, badges, and VIP tiers make customers feel valued. This boosts satisfaction and emotional connection with your brand.
  • Satisfies the need for play: Gamification taps into our childlike nostalgia for the holidays. It fulfils our cravings for that festive feeling. 
  • Provides a sense of community: Leaderboards, contests and challenges enable festive-themed bonding. Friends and families can play together.
  • Drives desired actions: Points and rewards give you a way to motivate specific holiday behaviours like social shares, sales contests, or greeting card sends.

Gamified campaigns feel more immersive and festive. Instead of just pushing sales, you’re facilitating joy, connection, and festive play for customers.

Types of gamification mechanics

There are many gamification mechanics you can use to add more holiday fun and engagement to your Christmas campaigns:

  • Points – Award points for actions like social shares, content views, sales, and referrals. Or let customers redeem points for rewards.
  • Badges – Give festive badges for achievements like referring friends or participating in challenges.
  • Leaderboards – Rankings create friendly competition. You could even create leaderboards for referrals, social shares, sales, etc. 
  • Challenges – Daily advent calendar unlocks, holiday mini-games, contests for product use or uploaded content. 
  • Rewards & prizes – Offer holiday gifts like discount codes, loyalty points, and free products. Or create tiers and milestones to encourage repeat engagement.
  • Avatars – Let customers unlock festive avatars or virtual items like Santa hats and ugly sweaters.
  • Progress bars – Show progress towards the next level or reward tier. 
  • Holiday quests – Completing multiple challenges earns a special reward.

With a mix of game mechanics, you can turn Christmas marketing into a fun, rewarding adventure instead of a repetitive sales pitch. 

Creative examples and ideas

The festive period is the perfect time to get creative and dream up fun experiences for customers. While the basic gamification mechanics give you the building blocks, bringing them to life in a festive way is where the real magic happens.

So instead of just recreating the same tired holiday promotions why not surprise and delight customers with imaginative gamified adventures tailored for the festive season?

To get you started, here are some innovative ways you could gamify upcoming Christmas campaigns. These examples tap into the holiday spirit and drive deeper engagement. You could even mix and match elements to create a uniquely festive experience that your customers will love playing.

Claire’s Accessories: Catch the snowflake 

Claire’s Accessories’ ‘Catch the snowflake’ campaign invites participants to virtually “catch” falling snowflakes, each uniquely designed and animated. Each snowflake contains a different discount code. In exchange for the discount code, users are prompted to share their preferences and interests, providing valuable zero-party data that enables a more personalised and relevant shopping experience. 

This interactive experience not only enhances the holiday shopping experience but also creates a sense of Christmas joy, all while gathering insights that empower businesses to create more targeted and meaningful connections with their customers. 

NSPCC Santa game and New Year’s quiz

As a leading child protection charity, the NSPCC understands the importance of continual engagement with its supporters, transcending beyond traditional donation requests. Their New Year’s quiz exemplifies this innovative approach, inviting participants to reflect on the question, “What are you most looking forward to in 2022?” Options such as “Getting outdoors,” “Seeing family and friends,” “A special occasion,” and “Buying trends for yourself and others” resonate with universal desires, but also subtly prompt participants to think about their childhood. 

By encouraging this reflection, the NSPCC creates a deeper connection with their audience, reminding them of the essential work they support. Beyond donations, the quiz showcases how funds are utilised and provide additional engagement opportunities such as family walks and bake sales. The NSPCC has also utilised the power of Gamification to engage new audiences with experiences such as ‘Santa collecting pineapples on the beach’, which achieved over a 70% opt in rate. You can easily see how these strategies not only help with the acquisition and retention of supporters but also generate earned data that enhances personalisation and relevance. By transforming simple engagement tools like a quiz into a multifaceted engagement platform, the NSPCC creates a community-centred experience that aligns with their mission and resonates with their supporters’ values, turning a moment of reflection into an opportunity for connection and shared purpose.

Petcare brand – interactive advent calendar

Facing the challenge of direct engagement and capturing vital pet information from thousands of pet owners, this global pet care brand created a gamified advent calendar. The pet-themed interactive “Advent calendar” offered a compelling value exchange, encouraging pet owners to partake in a personalised experience. 

Upon completing an initial survey about their pets, participants gained access to daily tailored rewards hidden behind each door of the calendar. With real-time personalisation for cat owners, dog owners, or both, the Advent calendar game provided diverse rewards including prize draw entries, product discount coupons, pet ‘hints and tips’ video content, and even special surprises like six months of free pet food. 

By turning a traditional Advent calendar into an immersive, data-driven experience, this organisation not only celebrated the pet-loving community but also harnessed valuable insights to shape future marketing strategies, exemplifying a modern approach to consumer interaction and brand loyalty.

As you can see, there are so many possibilities to gamify Christmas in creative, on-brand ways. The key is to pick mechanics that resonate with your audience and support your campaign goals. And then use best practice implementation. More on this next. 👇

Gamifying Christmas: Tips for implementation

Ready to add some gamified joy to your holiday marketing? Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Match mechanics to campaign goals – Choose mechanics that drive the desired behaviour. Points for social sharing, challenges for engagement, etc.
  • Keep it simple and intuitive – Avoid overly complex games. The mechanics should be easy to understand and use.
  • Offer meaningful rewards – Points and badges can sometimes be motivating and rewarding enough, but consider valuable prizes too like gift cards, products, and experiences. 
  • Promote through different channels – It’s down to you to share and promote the gamified campaigns via email, social media, website, on-pack, and in-store displays.
  • Make it social and shareable – Leverage the social nature of the season. Make it easy to share, share progress and achievements.
  • Test and optimise – Start small with one gamified campaign. Measure results and fine-tune before expanding. But there are plenty of case studies out there, so you can be confident of outcomes.
  • Automate where possible – Use tools and automation, like 3radical, to manage rewards at scale across campaigns.

The Christmas period sparks nostalgia and festive feelings. With the right gamified experience, you can kindle those emotions while driving business impact. Focus on fun, play and bringing joy to your marketing.

Level up the festive season with gamified campaigns

The festive season is the perfect time to inject more fun and festive play into your marketing campaigns. As we’ve explored, gamifying your Christmas campaigns and promotions provides multiple benefits: higher engagement, increased sharing and loyalty, higher cart values, the gold dust of earned zero-party data and amplified brand engagement. 

With a robust gamification platform like 3radical, you can easily add different gaming mechanics to your Christmas campaigns. This allows you to motivate specific actions, track progress, automate rewards, and bring more festive magic to the customer experience. 

Instead of constant sales this season, surprise and delight customers with challenges to complete, leaderboards to the top, and special gifts to earn. Customers will thank you with greater engagement, advocacy, and brand loyalty.

Easy campaigns to get you started can be found here

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