Gamification in Marketing

Gamification is the process that applies game design thinking and mechanics to non-game applications, in order to make them more fun and engaging (Gamification Research Network, 2011). This is typically applied to non-game applications to encourage interaction and get users to adopt these non-game applications or influence how they are used (Gamification Research Network, 2011).   This process of gamification involves identifying what makes a game compelling by identifying things that are important to users, typically rewards, achievements and status, and then use these techniques to motivate consumers and change their behavior (Gamification Research Network, 2011). Gamification is also particularly compelling and attractive to consumers as it taps into people’s natural desire to compete and play which results in more engagement (Steele, 2012).

Gamification has become a particularly hot topic in the marketing industry as of late (Himes, 2012). The main reason is due to its potential to redefine customer and product relationships, as well as getting consumers involved in experiences that help build stronger relationships and loyalty with brands (Walter, 2012). In addition to this gamification has also been known to influence user behavior and aid in delivering messages (Walter, 2012). While only recently gamification has become a big in the marketing world, it has been used in marketing for quiet some time, through frequent flyer programs. As most people would know, the objective of these programs is to gain points, which consumers can then use to receive a gift or prize. The use of frequent flyer programs, as a type gamification in marketing, is very popular, as it seems like every brand you come in contact with has some type of loyalty card or program, however, marketers are now expanding the ways in which they are using gamification to attract consumers in more exciting and different ways.

One of the most significant and well-known examples of gamification in marketing is through the use of Foursquare. Foursquare is a social network site as well as mobile phone application, which allows users to ‘check in’ at different locations, such as a store or restaurant (Snider, 2012). As an incentive to ‘check in’ at these locations users receive badges, points or other special offers which can be cashed in for rewards (Guest, 2012). These rewards can include things such as a free coffee for checking into a location a certain amount of times. Not only does Foursquare aid in gaining customer loyalty, through the use of rewards and challenges, but it also is used to spread word of mouth about companies through social networking (Guest, 2012). It is though social networking that consumer share information with their friends and other users. Not only does Foursquare allow consumer interaction but it also provides a platform where consumers are able to compete against each other (McCann, 2011). This aspect of competition drives people to continue to use the application, which increases their interaction with various companies and thus aiding in building brand loyalty. It is through the use of Foursquare that businesses have been able to reach new customers and build a deeper connection with their loyal customers (Giovannoni, 2012). Foursquare is a great tool for companies to use in marketing and has been used by a number of companies ranging from small to large.

Ninemsn has also incorporated the use of gamification into its marketing plan in an effort to increase user engagement with their site (CB, 2012). During the Olympics this year, Ninemsn brought a challenge to the online Olympic community with their new social gaming platform, which was dedicated to the 2012 London Olympics (CB, 2012). This campaign lasted eight weeks and offered consumers the chance to win a weekly cash prize of $1000 and a major prize of $10,000 at the end of the competition. In addition to this, badges and cash prizes where awarded to the most social and engaged Olympic fans on the site (CB, 2012). Visitors of the website were able to receive points by sharing Olympic content, watching videos, commenting on images and articles as well as for completing trivia challenges (CB, 2012). In order to take part in this campaign users are required to log into the site through their accounts on various social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Windows Live (CB, 2012). Once logged in, users could keep track of their status and points via the live leader board (CB, 2012). Due to the use of this gamification application, Ninemsn not only increase consumer engagement on the site and generated more loyalty amongst its user base, but it also allowed them to learn more about their consumers, which intern enabled them to market their users better through the permission-based social data gained throughout the games (CB, 2012).

As using gamification in marketing can offer many benefits for companies, there is no surprise that it has been predicted to grow from $242 million to a $2.8 billion business by 2016 (Snider, 2012). Therefore we can expect to see more gamification incorporated in marketing campaigns in the future, however, only for as long as these games remain fun to consumers.


CB. (2012). Ninemsn launches ‘The Social Games’ – new London Olympics social gaming community featuring catch-up TV alerts services and prizes. Retrieved from

Gamification Research Network. (2011). A Review of gamification by design. Retrieved from

Giovannoni, M. (2012). The Gamification of Digital Marketing, retrieved from

Guest. (2012). More customers with Foursquare marketing. Retrieved form

Himes, P. (2012). Gamification works: why I couldn’t resist gamified marketing strategy. Retrieved from

McCann. (2011). Recent articles. Retrieved from

Snider, M. (2012). Businesses use gaming principles in marketing, retrieved from

Steele, D. (2012). How to use gamification to reward customers and engage prospects. Retrieved from

Walter, E. (2012). Gamification: Adding stickiness to your campaigns, Retrieved from

Additional references

Bunchball. (2012). Gamification software for employee and customer engagement. Retrieved from

Davey, N. (2012). Best practices and examples for successful gamification. Retrieved from

Hemley, D. (2012). 26 elements of a gamification marketing strategy. Retrieved from

Kleinberg, A. (2012). Brands that failed with gamification. Retrieved from

Marketing. (2012). Top 10 gamification executions. Retrieved from

Salyer, P. (2012). Real-world rewards through gamification. Retrieved from


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