Gamification - A New Trend In Online Marketing?

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The battle for visitors attention is a very striking feature of businesses in today's online marketing. Some important questions are becoming one of the biggest challenges and spaces for online marketing creativity: how to keep the interest of visitors to website or e-store, how to engage them in active tasks, and create the attracting environment where visitors like to come back again and again.

Online marketers are searching for the new ways how to better encourage visitors to spend more time on their sites, how to share product or service's information in more creative ways, and how to contribute to better content creation.  For these purposes, more and more often are used game elements or so-called gamification.

There's no one without purpose in a game. That's what Gamification is all about. ― Vineet Raj Kapoor


The various games become an integral part of social interactions in the web space. Many people who are still not accustomed to this concept, it can surprise and even bother. But it's enough to look at the popularity of FarmVille to make sure that this trend is viable. US companies are ready to spend about $ 1.6 billion alone to link their products and services with games. In addition, more than 50 percent of major companies intend to incorporate game interfaces into their innovation processes (data from the conference I have attended). 

The impact of the gamification trend on users is also confirmed by statistics. I found statistics that 24 percent of playing online games people like to click on ad links flashing on such games. This is what the smarter companies decided to use. For example, TerraCycle, a company involved in the recycling of reusable products, created the Facebook game Trash Tycoon. The game attracted around 160,000 new potential customers of the company in just over a month.

So, let's talk about what is exactly the gamification and how we can use it in online marketing. Let's figure out how we can use game elements to attract more new prospects for your business. 

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What Is Gamification?

You may never hear about gamification and want to ask what it is? Look what does Wikipedia say about it?

Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. 


We can understand gamification as a process in which the game-specific features or regularities are attributed to the processes of non-games. All this is designed to make it even more fun for the consumer to use them.

For example, in order to encourage people to climb stairs rather than to use the escalator, the piano keys were integrated into the underground passage stairs. In another case, the volume of the object falling into the abyss sounded when someone threw garbage to the trash box. These projects have shown that people can change their habits with the help of gamification because garbage was collected more than usual and stairs were used more often than an escalator.


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Depending on where the gamification is being deployed, this strategy can be used to improve user engagement, data quality, timeliness, creativity, and quality of learning, sales, and more. Its implementation is growing, so it is expected that in 2020, it will cover more and more different areas.

For this strategy, the game elements, the methods, and mechanism are applied in a completely different context than in a simple gameGamification is typically used in one of the selected media (for example, in education, marketing, science, psychology, art) when it is desired to make the process more playful, motivating, and more engaging.

In short, gamification is the game elements or game mechanisms use outside the games. The complete game is not gamification.


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Similarities And Differences Between Game And Gamification 

Most people the gamification confuse with games, but this is not one and the same phenomenon, but closely related. Gamification uses game elements, principles, mechanism. Most accurate, the roots of the gamification come from the game with many similarities between them.

The essential difference in gamification - the game elements are applied in a completely different context, in one of the selected environments, when we want to make the chosen process to make more engaging, playful, and motivating.

When people hear gamification, they envision games created for a business purpose. But gamification is not about creating something new. It is about amplifying the effect of an existing, core experience by applying the motivational techniques that make games so engaging.


Their common feature is that it is one of the most influential communication tools aimed at effecting on through stimuli. What are those stimuli that engage users in the process through games and gamification? Of course, this tool is the game mechanisms that stimulate the users' impact.

At the same time, we can say that game and gamification have many similarities. What can be applied to the game, it can be applied to gamification, just it's important to keep in mind the essential difference. For example, the game is described as an activity or form of activity, a way of spending leisure time of one or more people with a defined purpose and rules. In gamification, this definition would also be suitable because there is a goal, a possible rule, an activity, one or more people. It just should be added that this should not go in the context of the game.


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Game Elements For Business Success

The game is an activity that permeates all human cultures. It is as old as humanity, and it attracts masses of people. However, many people found that with games usage they can solve very serious non-gaming problems. So the games came into the business.

There are basically no boundaries that would define the gamification use for the specific purpose in business. Games have changed our culture, our worldview; it has changed the perception of how much it really can be fun, eventually changing the nature of communication with other people.

Technological progress should continue to foster the development of this phenomenon, so there will be plenty of space for business ideas and solutions here.

There are a number of examples when game mechanisms made it possible to significantly increase the efficiency of user retention, their interaction with the service and stimulated them to perform the necessary actions (training, performing routine procedures, attracting friends, etc.)

I am sure that gamification is simply necessary when creating loyalty programs, in the work of complex interfaces, learning processes, social networks, in many advertising campaigns when it is necessary that the user is well acquainted with the branded content and in many other cases.


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Gamification For Site Optimization

Today consumers spend an unbelievable amount of time on the Internet; some of them actually live on the net: they communicate, work, entertain, make purchases. And at the same time, the number of online resources is also increasing in geometric progression day by day, thereby increasing competition in the market.  Sometimes it seems that you need to make incredible efforts to get the target audience at least to pay attention to your site, not just to stay on it for a while. 

Of course, when there is a problem, a person will try to find a solution to it. And so, marketers, in order to somehow cope with the situation, each time are inventing new ways to attract the attention of potential buyers. Some of these approaches really work and bring positive results, while others, unfortunately, cannot withstand the test of time and go into non-existence. Gamification can help you there too.  Moreover, its capabilities are so wide that it is guaranteed to allow a commercial organization to significantly increase its income in the online world.

You can now identify a number of websites that use some form of this method, which ultimately leads to a much greater profit in business than their competitors. 

Gamification is becoming increasingly popular with online marketing professionals, and if you have a website, you can optimize it with the help of game elements. This is not so surprising: site optimization is to improve the site so that it can better influence the behavior of visitors. Gamification can help you here too.

When it is clear what kind of behavior on the site should be encouraged, different methods can be used to achieve this. Gamification can also help to stimulate certain behavior.

Game elements can be very effective if used properly. To create games and to introduce gamification elements (mechanics), it's best to get into the team a marketer with games practice - a person with experience in developing games and understanding the psychology of players. 

Typically, this method involves the use of the following basic tactics implemented on your website:

 ■ Auctions;
 ■ Awards (risks and rewards);
 ■ Goals, points, and status;
 ■ Contests;
 ■ Territorial control and resource management;
 ■ Bone game (or chance for luck).  


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Gamification For Stories Creation

A story creation is one of the many gamification strategies. This method was presented at the CROSS MEDIA ZEN conference in Vilnius which I attended. The event was attended by gamification practitioners from Denmark, USA, France, Portugal, and Germany. During its time the attention was more focused on creating stories in games, movies, and video clips. The knowledge I got in this conference, was an inspiration to write this blog.

■ The stories motivate and help the changing. People care about the heroes' prehistory, so it's important to create the language, character, appearance, and reveal the situation of the heroes.

■ Each story must provide new impressions and experiences. The story must have certain boundaries, such as location, time, how the story will be presented to different user groups.

■ It is best to make several choices and not to give unlimited freedom that can cause stress. It is also encouraged to critically evaluate the context, needs, strategy, and format of the project being developed before the creative process.

■ It is important to emphasize the chronology of story creation, values, and perspective. This is closely related to theories of motivation, which are important in gamification and generally in any area of life.

An example of a catchy story can be this animation, urging people to be more cautious. If you look at previews number, you will agree that it reached its purpose:

Dumb Ways to Die - Video credit: DumbWays2Die via

Stages Of The Story Development

The following stages can be distinguished in story creation: idea (concept), genre, settings (time, place), characters, conflict, and rules.

It is important for every idea to ask the question what if, which intrigues and keeps the attention. I would encourage paying attention to the target audience, the distinction, and experience. And the main component of the story is a conflict that can emerge between individuals, cultures, and ideologies.

Guidelines For Story Creation

Creating a story can (but not be optional) address the following aspects:

■ Visual - abandoning long texts, using more visual material.

■ The asked questions - they must be simple but hooking.

■ Stimulating the motivation - the story must lead to a desire to defeat, compete or become a leader.

All of these listed story building elements, stages, and guidelines can be applied not only in gamification development, movies or advertising but also in online marketing.

Creating stories can help present business performance, services, processes, sequences or content. This can be one of the tools that combine your website.

For example, eBay has developed a sales system using some gamification elements, and customers can where you can not just to buy or sell, but also to compete offering your own price and purchase an item at affordable prices. This kind of online marketing has made this company the leader of online auctions.

The reward is very important in gamification. It can range from cash prize to title, status, or recognition.  It is important that the reward is instantaneous, allowing you to immediately get the desired result, and enjoy it immediately. 

This methodology is used on the Facebook portal with the help of like clicks, sharing option, and community spirit. A reward that often has not tangible value leads to brand loyalty and increased profits. 


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Online Marketing Gamification In Social Sites

With the development of marketing on Facebook,  it is growing the interest in the most effective method of attracting and engaging - gamification. There are a few methods to reach your goal:

Give points for social networking activity

Facebook has a huge amount of user activity: likes, invitations, messages, and so on. The points award system for some actions and tasks in social networks is one of the simplest and motivating game elements. Offer a small number of points for each action and follow the upcoming behavior. Give users the opportunity to watch their progress (for example, a leaderboard). At this stage, you cannot think about the material reward for points. By analyzing user behavior, over time you will add more sense by awarding rewards for users status and achievements.

Arrange a contest

Competitions are probably one of the first strategies for gamification marketing on Facebook and a great way to use the social network to attract interest. The secret of launching a successful competition lies in clear rules, simple actions, worthy prizes, and active promotion. It is important to understand that most competitions will not bring a special viral effect. The problem is that users will not want to talk about the competition if the number of prizes is limited and the competition is not based on any special skill (the fewer people participate in the lottery, the more they have chances, and that sounds logical).

If you already have a stable user base and you want to attract them on the Facebook, offering, such as a prize for the best photos, the competition may prove to be very effective. Also, the return on contests increases due to the regularity, so try to hold them at certain intervals to promote the given dynamics. gamification_for_site_optimization

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If necessary, create a classic game

With the popularity, power, and coverage of Facebook games, the use of its page as a gaming platform is very tempting. Many brands have experimented with the creation of branded games, but the results are often the same: after an initial surge of interest, users stop playing.  That is because they like less the design and development of branded games than they like commercial ones.

Instead, offer users other games or applications on Facebook, made qualitatively by experienced developers, adding your product in its storyline. Or you can also engage users in a conversation about their favorite games; it will attract them.

Create game contests

An alternative to traditional games is the creation of gaming mechanisms on a competitive basis. Unlike classic games, the idea is to get users into social action for which you can reward. Then these simple actions are connected with your company, which eventually gives the opportunity to learn something new or win a prize. The best contests focus on simple actions that anyone can perform by adhering to established rules. And remember that you always have to conduct a transparent and honest activity. And even better - to organize charity contests. 


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On The Final Note 

The use of gamification principles (competition, rewards, and more) in business helps to involve consumers more closely in the use of the service.

So far, this area has been growing slowly, but in 2013, there was a breakthrough. Both new start-ups and large-scale corporate marketing departments increasingly focus on gamification when presenting their products and services. The growing importance and development of gamification are obvious by increasing interest and its implementation in the process; various studies are being carried out, scientists and other professionals are predicting gamification's future predictions.

Gamification is transforming business models by creating new ways to extend relationships, craft longer-term engagement, and drive customer and employee loyalty. It works because it leverages the motivations and desires that exist in all of us for community, feedback, achievement and reward.


Gamification can be one of the most effective ways to reach people's reactions in order to increase site traffic and popularity of a product or service. 

In online marketing, this methodology will help you to create not only better feedback, but also the uniqueness of your company, but at the same time will allow you to maintain a close relationship with your customers.  All this is the basis of a successful business.

Today, when the competition on the Internet gets increased every day, the proper use of gamification tactics can certainly greatly simplify the solution to this problem. After all, in fact, people like to play games - moreover, they are used to doing this from the young. If you think about it, then the business itself is one big and very interesting game, our whole life is a game, and perhaps that's what makes it so fascinating and attractive.


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The higher the risk, the more valuable the reward is. The more difficult the goal, the more interesting it is to go, the more desirable the main prize is. . In principle, the game is inseparable from a person. It can be said that it is programmed into the brain. And, probably, that's why any game situations so attract and fascinate people. 

So why not use gamification to grow your business - attract the target audience and promote the brand?! Just think carefully about the basic tactics and mechanisms of gamification, and then skillfully realize them in your business.



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