Everything You Need to Know About Marketing Gamification

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Marketing gamification results from marketers’ creative efforts to overcome a very specific challenge.

Let me ask you a couple of questions.

Can you go through a full episode of your favorite show without looking at your phone? Or can you wait in line without pulling your phone out of your pocket? It is obvious that we experience different aspects of life through our screens, and digital life is no longer… well, digital. It became completely embedded in our identity.

Thus, grabbing our attention is the Holy Grail of every marketer aspiring to stand out in a saturated market.

What is Gamification? 

First things first, in Marketing Gamification there is Gamification. So, what is gamification? We covered the basics that you should know about gamification in this blog post.

Simply put, gamification is the implementation of game mechanics and dynamics in non-game settings or environments.

Gamification is everywhere in your life. If you can hardly believe it, then here is an example.
Do you use a credit card? Paying your bill on time and in full leads you to gain advantages such as building a credit score. Improving your credit score is the reward for being a reliable customer who pays their bill on time. Tada!

A wide range of fields put gamification to use. This blog post will help you know more about its use in the marketing field.

What is Marketing Gamification?

Am I really writing this sentence? Well, I guess I am.

Marketing gamification is the process of implementing gamification in your marketing efforts.

This sounds so… obvious, I know.

But let’s dig a bit deeper.

Researchers defined gamification as a means to support the user’s value creation. Suddenly, it becomes interesting from a marketing perspective.

You and I have way more expressive power on the internet nowadays. It is simple to post a video on TikTok and go viral. Marketers are well aware of the power of user-generated content (UGC).

UGC revolutionized marketing. Brands used to have full control over their narratives. Not anymore. Nowadays, we live in an era where brands are co-created.

As a result, marketing gamification represents an incredibly powerful tool to leverage UGC.

Why you should use Gamification in your Marketing

1. The longevity

Let’s start with some numbers.

According to Fortune Business Insights, the gamification market was valued at 6.33 Billion USD and is projected to soar up to 37 Billion USD in 2027. So in a span of 8 years, the gamification market value is expected to increase by more than 484%.

What does this all mean?

The projections of the growth of gamification’s market value prove that it is not only a trend that will shortly be forgotten.

The shift in our lifestyle can explain this further.

2. Goldfish attention span

With the digitalized lifestyle, our attention span is getting shorter. Research has proved it. And you probably don’t even need research to notice this.

On average, humans had an attention span of 12 seconds in 2000. In 2015, studies showed that our attention span dropped to about 8 seconds on average. Even goldfish have a longer attention span than us now!

Who knows how it will evolve in the future!

This is why it is crucial to invest in effective tools to capture and maintain the user’s attention.

Gamifiying your marketing campaigns will instantly put your target audience as the main focus; it won’t even feel like marketing to them.

You will learn more about this in the next sections.

6 Benefits of Marketing Gamification

1. Always-on campaign

An always-on marketing campaign is a campaign that does not have an end date.

This means that you will interact with your target audience when they are ready.

In other words, your campaign will always be out there. Whenever your audience will look for you, they will come across your content.

This ensures your constant presence in the market. Not to mention, the gamified experience you offer will make you stand out.

2. Brand awareness

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? 

It goes the same with your brand. 

You might offer the best product ever that will solve all of our problems. 

But if no one knows it, does it really exist? 

Your product or service is totally useless if no one knows about it. This is why brand awareness is essential. As a result, you will effortlessly come up to your audience’s minds.

Think about it in terms of people. The more you are familiar with a person, the more comfortable you feel around them. That is how brand awareness work.

3. Customer engagement/retention

By now, you should be well aware how hard it is to engage with people on the internet… let alone keep them hooked!

We, consumers, don’t respond anymore to those “buy now, buy us, we are the best” marketing techniques. That’s not really appealing or worth our attention. I personally associate brands that do that with scams.

If you really want to reach your customers, you have to nurture a relationship with them.

Making your customers at the center of your marketing efforts will make them feel valued. It leads them to be the main character of your story. This means they will enjoy your marketing without even feeling they are being the target of marketing.

4. Customer loyalty

I am 101% certain that you have at least one product or service that you only buy from one single brand. Think about it!

When you need an energy drink, maybe you blindly grab a couple of Red Bulls. Or you needed new earphones, you bought Airpods to complete your iPhone and MacBook collection.
Red Bull and Apple are great examples of strong brands with a very loyal customer base.

But how is loyalty built?

It is a long process. It’s like you trusting someone only after a long period of interacting with them.

Loyalty is the proof that a brand is offering memorable experiences to its audience and customer base.

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini explains that humans try to pay others back whenever they do them a favor – the principle of reciprocity.

Imagine we’re spending the day together and I pay for your lunch. You will insist on paying for my coffee on that sunny terrace by the canal.

If your brand offers an unforgettable experience to your customers, they will want to pay your brand back for what you’re providing.

Do you practice sports? Did you buy a Nike t-shirt? Then a Nike water bottle? Then said “Oh, I need new shoes, let me look at Nike’s website” and bought a pair? Welcome to the loyal Nike customer base.

5. Word of mouth

Your friend tells you that “Buying this bag from X was the worst experience of my life”. It happens that you are planning on buying a new bag. Are you going to consider X?

According to Semrush, 26% of people will altogether avoid a brand if a friend or a family member tells them about a negative experience they had. Moreover, 21% of people lose their trust in a brand, regardless of their relationship with it, because of pejorative word of mouth.

By offering a unique experience to your audience via your gamified marketing, people will share how they felt and what they think. So better make it a great experience because you don’t want people talking your brand down.

You should not forget that marketing is not only targeted toward customers. Employees are also an important segment to consider. If you have a pleasant atmosphere within your organization, then who would not want to join it?

At Up Digital, we developed the Onboarding game to help organizations introduce new employees to their new workplace in an interactive and fun way making it the best first day of work they could experience.

6. Data collection

Gamification is the Iron Man of data collection. You will learn a lot about your customers via your gamified marketing.

Providing your customers with a gamified experience will pave the way to easily access your customers’ information. 

Gathering data through gamification is easier than you think because of the reciprocity principle mentioned above. People will provide you with information to enhance their experience with your brand.

5 Examples of Marketing Gamification in the real world

1. KFC Shrimp Attack

KFC suffered from its success when it launched “Shrimp Attack”, an advergame to promote its new line of shrimp meals.

To do this, KFC partnered with Gamifiy to launch a game similar to the popular Fruit Ninja to raise awareness among the customers about their new items on which they could win vouchers to try them out.

The campaign was such a success that KFC had to cut it short. The new products sold out so quickly because of all the redeemed vouchers on the game.

As a result of KFC’s successful campaign, 22% of players took advantage of their vouchers in stores. Furthermore, the fast-food chain saw its sales increase by 106% compared to the previous year.

2. Swisscom + Samsung

This might be my favorite! 

To raise awareness about the Samsung S4 and its features, Samsung collaborated with Swisscom and put a staring contest in place between the phone and the people in Zurich, Switzerland. 

The task is simple,  but not easy. Hold eye contact for 60 minutes with the phone and take it home with you for free. The players had to keep eye contact despite the different distractions aimed at making their heads turn. 

Would you be able to do it?

3. Coca Cola 

Marketing gamification is a familiar concept to Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola’s Drink an ad is one of those marketing campaigns that can’t go unnoticed. 

The beverage brand launched this campaign to raise awareness for their Coca-Cola Zero product. 

To reach their goals, they partnered with Shazam to have access to their technology. Users could interact with ads displayed pretty much everywhere by filling a glass on their phones to win vouchers so customers could redeem a free Coca-Cola Zero in different retail stores. 

This campaign achieved something every company strives to achieve – it put a drink in every customer’s hand.

And voila, a textbook example of implementing gamification in marketing. 

4. Mattel

Mattel’s campaign to market their Pictionary game is a masterclass. 

People walking in the mall by what seems to be a poster turns out to be a live video. 

People could interact with the ad and play Pictionary. It would not be exciting if there’s nothing. at stake.

So cherry on the cake, the winners saw themselves go home with different prizes offered by Mattel. Their reactions illustrate everything you want to achieve when you design a campaign like this one.

There you have it, the example of a marketing gamification campaign accomplished by a games company. Masterclass!

5. Reebok

Who said marketing gamification won’t make people sweat? 

To promote a new line of running shoes in Hong Kong, Reebok challenged people walking in the street to push the limits and try to break the week’s record of a running contest. 

The week’s record-breaker becomes the happy owner of a new pair of Reebok running shoes. How cool is this?! 


Marketing gamification is a powerful tool to attain your customers. The different examples presented above illustrate how the gamification of your marketing efforts can have a considerable outreach raising awareness, but most importantly, offering unique experiences that will always stick with your customers. 

Written by:
Majdi Hentati

About the author:
When he’s not writing, Majdi is either thinking about copywriting, reading or sleeping. He helps you to write compelling copies to reinforce your e-reputation. If you want to connect with him, he’ll be delighted to chat with you on his Linkedin.