Game on: how gamification marketing increases customer engagement and brand loyalty

As traditional forms of advertising start to lose their power over consumers, brands are increasingly turning to innovative approaches like gamification marketing to capture consumer attention and increase engagement.
Industries: RetailMarketing
  • The role of gamification in marketing
  • How to use gamification to stand out in an ultra-competitive industry
  • Interactive experiences = higher engagement

We are bombarded by advertising 24/7. Everywhere we go, everywhere we look, we are more than likely to encounter one or more advertisements that are trying to convince us to purchase something. In a way, this proliferation of advertising content has been somewhat counterproductive. With consumers exposed to hundreds, if not thousands of ads on a daily basis, brands are finding it more difficult than ever to actually capture people’s attention. To make matters even more complicated, today’s consumers don’t respond particularly well to traditional forms of advertising, regardless of how effective they may have been in the past. This has forced brands to start thinking outside the box and embrace innovative marketing strategies that will allow them to increase customer engagement and improve their own chances of success in this increasingly competitive market. One of the approaches that have proven particularly popular lately is gamification marketing, which combines traditional marketing techniques with gaming mechanics, such as points, rewards, and leaderboards, to provide consumers with more interactive, more immersive experiences that will keep them coming back for more. In the following sections, we are going to take a closer look at gamification marketing and the benefits it brings, and explore some notable examples of brands that have successfully employed this approach to gain a competitive edge.

The role of gamification in marketing

While there is a wide range of factors that can have a significant impact on a brand’s success in the long term, we can say with a fair degree of certainty that customer engagement and brand loyalty are near the top of the list. In addition to being more likely to make repeat purchases, engaged customers are also more likely to recommend your brand to others, essentially acting as your brand ambassadors. Brand loyalty serves a similar purpose. It provides brands with a steady stream of revenue and ensures that there is always a market for their products or services. This is why brands need to pay special attention to these two aspects of their business. However, as we already mentioned earlier, keeping today’s consumers engaged is anything but easy. Thankfully, this is where gamification marketing can play an important part; it takes advantage of our inherent competitiveness to maintain or increase our engagement levels and ensure that we keep interacting with the brand.

Gamification marketing offers numerous benefits over traditional forms of advertising. For one, incorporating game elements into a marketing strategy enables brands to provide customers with more fun and immersive experiences, which often results in higher customer engagement. This, in turn, enables brands to form stronger relationships with their customers and build brand loyalty. By making customers feel valued and appreciated, brands ensure that they continue to favour their products or services over those of their competitors. It also helps companies expand their reach as impressed customers are more likely to recommend the brand to their friends, family, or colleagues. Furthermore, by making the customer journey more engaging and rewarding them for completing certain actions, brands can significantly increase their conversion rates and improve customer retention. A recent study conducted by the software company Ion Interactive reveals that interactive content is 81 per cent more effective at capturing customer attention than static content. What’s more, it can increase the retention of your messaging by as much as 79 per cent.

“The growth of AR in social has been phenomenal, offering brands the opportunity to engage and connect with their audiences on a deeper level with gamification at its core”.

Thomas Hutley, content managing director at OMD

How to use gamification to stand out in an ultra-competitive industry

The fashion industry is widely considered to be one of the most competitive industries in the world, making it exceedingly difficult for brands to stand apart from their competitors. The Belgian fashion brand LolaLiza has taken a rather innovative approach to this problem by launching an interactive marketing campaign inspired by Where’s Wally?, a wildly popular series of children’s puzzle books. However, rather than having to find the eponymous character in his red-and-white striped shirt, consumers are tasked with locating the brand’s four fashionistas on a map of New York. Those who spot them first are rewarded with a real-life trip to the Big Apple. The campaign has proven to be a huge success and has attracted more than 6,000 participants in just three weeks, over 4,000 of whom were new users. What’s more, the campaign registered a 67 per cent opt-in rate for its newsletter. “We try to make campaigns that are out of the ordinary and to communicate as much as possible with our target audience, whether on our social media platforms or via our newsletter”, explains Coralie Debrichy, CRM coordinator at LolaLiza. “The interactive games we create every month help us in this process”.

Similarly, the Australian sports retailer Rebel recently joined forces with marketing agencies OMD Create and Unbound to launch a gamified basketball experience called Play Like, which was designed to familiarise customers with the retailer’s basketball shoe offering and encourage them to shop at its stores. The game immerses customers in a virtual basketball court environment, where their face is projected onto an athlete’s body using augmented reality (AR) filters built on Meta’s Spark AR platform. Customers are then tasked with matching their facial expressions to timed prompts that appear on the screen. The game features multiple levels with varying degrees of speed and difficulty, which are dependent on the type of shoe customers choose to ‘play’ in. “The growth of AR in social media has been phenomenal, offering brands the opportunity to engage and connect with their audiences on a deeper level with gamification at its core”, says Thomas Hutley, content managing director at OMD. “We’re excited about the potential in this space and confident this experience will be a huge hit with basketball fans”.

“Fans love losing themselves in the world when they watch the show. Now, for the first time, they will be able to live out an episode from the series in real life”.

Greg Lombardo, head of experiences at Netflix

Interactive experiences = higher engagement

As part of the promotional campaign for the fourth season of the Netflix hit series Stranger Things, one of its most popular TV shows, the streaming giant announced the opening of a new ground-breaking immersive experience in London. Stranger Things: The Experience takes participants on an interactive journey through Hawkins, the fictional town where the show takes place, and allows them to explore some of the show’s iconic locations, including Hawkins Laboratory and the Upside Down, a parallel dimension that is home to the show’s monsters. Over the course of 45 minutes, participants are presented with a series of challenges that they need to solve in order to save the town’s inhabitants. At the conclusion of the story, which was written in collaboration with the show’s creators, participants are invited to move to a 1980s-inspired retail area called the Mix-Tape, where they can interact with other guests, buy a wide range of Stranger Things-themed merchandise, grab an ice cream or a slice of pizza, or take photos with some of the characters from the show. “We know our Stranger Things fans will embrace the chance to be the heroes of the story, working alongside Eleven, Mike and the rest of the gang to fight the evil threatening to consume Hawkins”, says Greg Lombardo, head of experiences at Netflix. “Fans love losing themselves in the world when they watch the show. Now, for the first time, they will be able to live out an episode from the series in real life”.

Pizza Hut, one of the world’s largest restaurant chains, recently launched a new digital trivia game called Pizza Pursuit. Developed in partnership with the toy and game company Hasbro and based on its incredibly successful Trivial Pursuit, one of the most beloved trivia games in history, the game invites customers to put their knowledge to the test and compete with others in pursuit of the grand prize — $10,000. After scanning a QR code on the pizza box, customers are presented with a series of questions classified into six different categories: sport, leisure, arts, film & music, geography, history, everyday fun, and pizza. For each correct answer, players are rewarded with a certain amount of points, which can be redeemed for various localised prizes sponsored by partners like Pepsi, Coke, and Ben & Jerry’s. By answering questions correctly, customers can also gain additional entries for the grand prize draw, increasing their chances of winning. The campaign was a major success, according to Pizza Hut, as evidenced by 71.4 per cent of game completions. The pizza giant also registered a 54 per cent conversion rate in terms of email opt-ins, as well as a 34 per cent increase in sales.

In closing

In today’s saturated advertising landscape, capturing consumer attention is becoming increasingly challenging. Traditional forms of advertising no longer resonate with today’s consumers, forcing brands to adopt innovative strategies to enhance customer engagement and increase their chances of success. One such strategy that is starting to gain popularity is gamification marketing, which combines gaming mechanics with traditional marketing techniques to deliver more interactive and immersive experiences for consumers. Gamification marketing provides a refreshing and more effective approach to advertising, allowing brands to cut through the noise, connect with their customers on a deeper level, and ultimately thrive in a highly competitive market. By embracing gamification, brands can unlock the power of interactive experiences to forge stronger relationships, increase conversions, and stand apart from their competitors.

Industries: RetailMarketing
We’re in the midst of a technological revolution and the trends, technologies, and innovations to look out for are all game-changers. They bring competitive advantages, increase the effectiveness of operations, make our daily lives more efficient, improve healthcare, and significantly change the landscape and beyond.

Free trendservice

Receive the latest insights, research material, e-books, white papers and articles from our research team every month, for free!