Why Use Gamification in Marketing? The Top 5 Benefits

/ 1 March 2023

Gamification in marketing is an incredibly powerful tool to boost customer engagement and encourage people to take action.

It opens up a fun experience and rewarding communication channel that makes customers actually want to engage with a brand.

Whether it’s “spin-to-win” pop-ups or viral leaderboard competitions, gamification campaigns improve customer experience and therefore boost customer loyalty.

In turn, you can gather valuable customer data – insight into current and likely future needs, rather than past behaviours. Data which can be used to drive sales and revenue by improving product and service offerings and personalising customer journeys. This takes the guesswork out of meeting customer needs.

That’s why, in recent years, its popularity has skyrocketed because it provides new ways to reach and connect with target audiences. 

In fact, there are quite a few stats that back up the benefits of gamification:

  • Gamification can increase engagement rates by up to 50% (Marketo)
  • Gamification can lead to a 20% increase in customer loyalty (CrowdTwist)
  • Gamification can increase customer acquisition rates by up to 40% (Forrester)
  • Gamification can improve customer experience by up to 33% (Aberdeen Group)
  • And a study by Gartner found that gamification can increase sales and revenue by up to 15%.

Pretty hard stats to ignore.

So, whether you’re new to gamification in your marketing strategy, or looking for practical use cases to see why and how to use it in your campaigns, this blog is a must-have for you.

Let’s dive in so you can see why top brands like Claire’s Accessories, Coca Cola, and Vitality Health are using it. 

#1: Boost customer engagement and interaction

A 50% rise in customer engagement is a KPI to be proud of. But, how exactly does gamification achieve this?

Through gamification techniques like points, badges, levels, leaderboards, and challenges, businesses tap into the competitive and reward-incentivised side of the human that’s hugely driven. We all try to look for the positive and it’s this that piques our interest and encourages us to spend more time engaging with a brand.

It can also tap into the human need to connect. This is applied more to the leaderboard example, where individuals compete against peers for a top spot and usually a reward.

Essentially, this more enjoyable, memorable, and interactive customer experience builds a stronger connection with a brand. And is more likely to trigger a response or action.

Case study: In B2B, lens manufacturer Essilor uses gamification to better understand eye care professionals, their needs and the needs of their customers. It does this through digitised promo experiences that reward with vouchers, scratch cards and more. The result? 10% increase in sales.

#2: Build customer loyalty and retention

Customers that engage in a fun and interactive experience are incentivised to come back to a brand because it’s a rewarding experience.

Plus, it provides them with things that we know matter to them, whether that is a physical reward or other – like closing a ring on an Apple watch or hitting a goal in STRAVA, just the satisfaction of achievement. 

But there’s a deeper level of engagement with gamification too: gaming elements tap into the emotional-side of our psyche. It does this by encouraging customers to do something and, therefore, creates a sense of achievement. This emotional connection is proven to make reward schemes much more attractive.

And this is particularly effective in industries where there’s high competition. Your loyalty scheme can be the reason customers choose you again and again.

However, it needs to be a decent loyalty scheme – providing what’s deemed a sufficient reward – as 68% of millennials report that they will not be loyal to a brand if that brand does not have a good loyalty program (Forbes).

Case study: Vitality Health is a great example of gamification. Customers are rewarded for getting active through discounts, free cinema vouchers and more. It incentivises customers to be healthy and achieve goals, and reduces the need for them to need the health services that Vitality provides. 

#3: Deliver personalised experiences that consumers expect

The real fun starts when gamification unlocks the ability to send truly personalised marketing campaigns.

Gamification is a much more fun way to educate your audience on your expertise. With this extra data, you can ensure you focus on the most relevant bits of your business so it piques their interest.

You can even use the personalisation in future gamification marketing campaigns as you’ll have captured data that gives marketers a better understanding of customer behaviour, preferences, habits and even their feedback on the last gamification campaign.

The end result?

The individual customer can receive more customised and relevant campaigns that they want to engage with. And it takes the guesswork away for marketers. It enables them to get to know people as individuals, rather than treating them as segments or groups – as this always leads to something key to personalisation being missed (not a great experience for the customer).

Case study: Nike run club suggests personalised workout suggestions and relevant articles for those that use the app, based on their engagement behaviour. During lockdown, the number of downloads of Nike run club hit 15.4 million as user engagement peaked.

#4: Capture otherwise ‘uncapturable’ customer data

With other data sources, like buying someone else’s third-party isn’t 100% what you want to know and it becomes old pretty quickly. Ultimately, it just isn’t as valuable. Whereas with gamification, the data captured is exactly what your business wants to know, it’s much fresher and therefore allows for understanding current and future needs.

What’s more, it’s data that is volunteered from the customer. So when you use it or include them again in a campaign, it’s less likely to be a turn-off and be met with trust issues.

The biggest benefit here? This method of data capture is compliant with GDPR, CCPA and other data compliance regulations in other countries and regions – which are ultimately on the increase. This helps overcome the imminent issues that brands will face when third party cookie data is no longer an option.

Case study: Duolingo’s unique language learning app analyses human sentiments and learning patterns to create reward packages. Hidden rewards such as badges, coins and funny notifications encourage users to use the app. Users feel valued and wanted. Duolingo retains customers and has made a fortune!

#5: Boost sales revenue

Ultimately, creating these more personal and engaging user experiences impact the bottom line: revenue.

For example, gamification can encourage customers to purchase or refer a friend in exchange for something (e.g. access to gated content like a beauty lookbook, or a discount) and so boost conversions and sales.

It’s all about incentives and rewards and people getting to a goal that releases an unlockable achievement. And you want that unlockable to be managed. What we mean by this is that you’ll want to limit the deal to a certain percentage of shoppers to manage cost implications and to make it feel like a unique offer that’s been “won” (going back to the earlier psychological reference).

For example, you can introduce a rule that if a consumer does ‘A’ and ‘B’ then they qualify – like if they answer questions, post content or win a competition, then they unlock the benefit.  

What’s more, these experiences create great brand awareness – particularly in the example with a leader board, a significant prize or user generated content. These campaigns often go viral and allow companies to reach a large and diverse audience, increasing visibility, and attracting new customers.

Granted, these campaigns are big investments, so may not be right for you. But even on a smaller and much less costly scale – like a seasonal calendar, quiz or birthday scratchcard – when customers have a positive experience with a gamification campaign, they are more likely to recommend a brand to others.

But the main gain is their loyalty, which contributes to long-term revenue growth. So ROI is huge!

Key takeaways

To sum up, gamification can hugely boost marketing campaign performance by introducing a fun and interactive experience that motivates customers to engage with you – because it adds value and excitement. Things we are all searching for now.

And ultimately, the key goal is driving conversions and LTV while increasing sustainable sales revenue. And this is what gamification has proven to do: It focuses on spending money on your loyal customers, instead of investing in a leaky acquisition bucket.

Plus, with data capture that supports research and predictive analytics, the entire business can benefit from more forward-looking data to shape strategies like product development, financial forecasting and more. 

And, at the very least, it allows you to get more personal with any future marketing campaigns to boost engagement and experience there too.

Feeling convinced? Here’s your next step. If you’re ready to introduce gamification into your marketing campaigns, you’ll want to start building a shortlist of marketing gamification software providers that can make this happen. 

This helps to overcome the biggest hurdles: time and money investing in gamification concepts. Because these software providers can plug the solution right into your existing systems, saving you the hassle and need for a whole other specialist team of designers, web developers, IT support, customer experience pros etc.

If you want to bounce some ideas around, feel free to get in touch
>> Here’s a list of key criteria to look for: ‘Marketing Gamification Software: How to Choose a Provider’.

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