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Loyauté · 

8 minutes

How Gamification Can Boost Your Business, with Examples

Cormac O'SullivanPiggy

Gold coins, power-ups, and leaderboards on the Playstation are no longer distant memories of a nostalgic childhood. Fast forward a decade or two and we’ve swapped ‘gaming’ for ‘gamification’ - a strategy that uses game design principles to motivate and guide us toward achieving specific goals.

It’s a key driver to business growth and it’s taking over. The same dopamine kick that kept us hooked on recreational gaming is now being applied to digital products to enhance employee engagement, improve customer retention, foster brand loyalty, and much more

Think of how the mobile game Duolingo works and you’ve got the perfect gamification example - an app that gamifies the entire language learning process with special point systems, badges, and streaks to help users retain information. It's a simple game used to maximize engagement levels to help users learn a new language.

Businesses that leverage gamification are seven times more profitable than those that don’t. If you haven’t yet created a gamification strategy then you should now because if you don’t, your competitors will.

In fact, they already are

Gamification is a growing beast with the industry expected to grow from $12.4 billion in 2022 to a whopping $70.4 billion by 2030. Incorporating gamification into your business will be the tide that lifts all boats. Below we'll examine different gamification examples and explore three ways you can harness them for business growth in 2023.

Ready to get started? OK, let’s dive straight in. 

What Is Gamification?

Gamification is the process of incorporating game-style elements into non-game environments to maximize engagement and participation levels.

You can think of it as a clever tactic to gamify any activity to make it more enjoyable. In other words, gamification makes things more fun for everyone. Moreover, a skilled a native app development company can help businesses create gamified mobile apps that captivate and entertain users, enhancing their overall engagement and experience.

Gamification Examples: How the Heavyweights Do It

Starbucks Rewards

One of the most famous examples of gamification is the Starbucks rewards app. Each time a user interacts with the mobile application or makes a purchase, they will gain some stars. Gather enough and you can claim a free cup of coffee along with many other rewards.

The endeavor for increased engagement came to fruition through features like online ordering, creating a stronger relationship with their target customers. During the company's Q3 2022 fiscal year, the number of active members on the Starbucks Rewards app increased by 13% YoY, reaching a total of 27.4 million members, with an additional 3.2 million members joining.

This was part of an effective marketing campaign aimed to promote user engagement. Many companies have taken inspiration and now look to integrate gamification to get more out of their marketing efforts.


Duolingo is a language-learning app that uses gamification to engage its users. The app offers a range of game-like features, such as earning points for correct answers, leveling up, and competing against friends.

Duolingo incorporates elements of social proof by allowing users to track their progress and compare it to others in their language-learning journey. By using gamification, Duolingo has made language learning more enjoyable and accessible, resulting in over 500 million downloads and a user base spanning over 190 countries.


SAP, a software company that specializes in enterprise software, has used gamification to engage its employees. The company created a gamified training platform called "Roadwarrior" that uses game mechanics to incentivize employees to complete training courses.

The platform incorporates elements of competition by allowing employees to compete against one another and earn badges and rewards for completing specific tasks. By using gamification, SAP has increased employee engagement with its training courses, resulting in higher completion rates and greater knowledge retention.


Volkswagen created a gamified marketing campaign called "The Fun Theory" to promote its environmentally friendly products. The campaign consisted of a series of videos showcasing how fun activities can be used to encourage people to make more sustainable choices, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

The campaign received over 66 million views on YouTube and won numerous advertising awards, demonstrating the effectiveness of using gamification in marketing campaigns.


McDonald's is a brand that has successfully used gamification to engage its customers. The fast-food giant launched a mobile app called "McDonald's Monopoly" that allows customers to collect game pieces and win prizes, including free food and cash prizes.

The app also incorporates elements of social proof by allowing users to see how many game pieces their friends have collected. By using gamification, McDonald's has created a fun and engaging way for customers to interact with the brand, resulting in increased sales and customer loyalty.

Nike Run Club

Another famous gamification example that's risen to the surface is the Nike Run Club app. The mobile application is a tool that helps to motivate users to train and work towards their goals through a number of features.

Customer interaction is encouraged by incentivizing users to log training sessions and take on challenges that allow them to compete against friends and other app users.

As users earn points and reach their fitness goals, they are also encouraged to make purchases from Nike to support their running habits. In 2019, the Nike Run Club app experienced a download increase of more than 45%, significantly surpassing the average global rise of 10%.

It's become a blueprint for businesses on how to successfully deploy a gamification marketing campaign that improves customer interaction and retains users.

Maximise Employee Retention with Loyalty Programs

Achieve a high staff retention rate and your business will grow on fertile soil. But to do that, you’ll need to create an environment that's engaging, motivating, and rewarding for employees. A gamification strategy will help you achieve that and here’s how. 

Let’s say a company creates an employee loyalty program that’s broken down into three tiers: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Employees that reach specific milestones, such as hitting a sales target, will be rewarded in a way that can visualize their progress.

The business can then introduce weekly challenges that employees can participate in to earn extra points as part of a rewards program. Should an employee complete the Bronze tier, they may be entitled to an extra holiday; silver, a salary increase; gold, a promotion.

On the other hand, you can choose smaller rewards to give employees more regular treats and perks, such as lifestyle vouchers, experiential rewards, product rewards, and more.

Having such a reward system in place can also foster a competitive spirit that maximizes the potential of your workforce.

With these gamification loyalty programs, your employees will adopt a mentality that’s value-driven and motivated to exceed expectations. If the reward is compelling and the path toward it is clear, why would your employees ever want to leave?

Nurture Internal Talent to Create a Strong and Dynamic Workforce 

It’s not uncommon for employees to roll their eyes when someone mentions ‘corporate training.’ When this happens you’re in trouble because ineffective training will lead to an ineffective workforce.

One of the most powerful gamification techniques you can leverage is to create an interactive training program by using elements like points, badges, leaderboards, and even a progress bar to enhance the learning experience.

This is a novel way to engage learners that's conducive to creating an adept workforce, primed for problem-solving. Employees can be motivated to watch video clips in their training library to seek out new knowledge that will edge them closer to hitting their KPIs. It's a neat trick that encourages users to complete mundane tasks that would otherwise be avoided.

This is gold for sales reps who want to create a results-driven mentality that taps into the competitive nature of their workforce.

As illustrated, what makes gamification unique is its ability to overcome multiple hurdles at once by promoting user engagement. These can include: 

Quizzes and Challenges

Answering questions through interactive quizzes and challenges can help employees test their knowledge and identify areas where they need further training.


Creating a leaderboard that ranks employees based on their training performance will instill a competitive spirit that can encourage them to improve their skills. This is especially effective when applied to sales teams.

Rewards and Badges

Providing rewards and opportunities to win badges for completing training milestones can create a sense of accomplishment that will encourage users to keep growing.

Gamified eLearning Platforms

Creating interactive, engaging, and informative e-learning platforms with gaming elements can enable employees to learn on their own time and pace.

Boost Customer Engagement with a Gamification Marketing Campaign.

An engaged customer is more likely to become a paying customer. But for this to happen, you must find a way to grab attention and maintain it - a demanding feat in today’s noisy digital arena.

This can be overcome with a gamification marketing campaign that's designed to boost engagement and encourage customer interaction.

Gamification marketing is the use of game mechanics and design elements such as rewards, points, challenges, and leaderboards in marketing campaigns, products, and services to engage customers. Studies show that companies that leveraged gamification marketing have experienced a 47% rise in customer engagement, a 22% rise in brand loyalty, and a 15% increase in brand awareness.

This is because a core fundamental behind gamification marketing is for it to be interactive, which elevates the customer experience. Below are some examples of how you can incorporate gamification into your marketing campaigns:

  • Creating customer loyalty programs that reward customers for their engagement and repeat business. This can be a part of an effective customer retention strategy

  • Incorporating elements of competition such as leaderboards into the customer experience.

  • Offering customers rewards and incentives for completing certain actions. For example, a special loyalty points system can be used to measure the most active participants, where they'll be put into a unique prize pool to win reward vouchers.

  • Creating mini-games or quizzes that educate customers about your products or services while also providing a fun and engaging experience.

As the digital landscape evolves, gamification marketing is becoming the fast track to improving online customer engagement, strengthening brand loyalty, and maximizing customer satisfaction.

Using Gamification to Level Up Your Business

The meteoric rise in gamification underlines the need for people to be stimulated. Grabbing attention is not enough - you must maintain it. This is no easy task. Attention spans are at an all-time low and the average person is bombarded by anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 ads a day. And so your goal is simple - you need to engage users.

Gamification overcomes this by satiating what the modern consumer craves - stimulation. It’s a powerful strategy because it taps into all of a person's key motivations and emotions. People have a desire for progress and achievement, a desire for social connection and competition, and a need for instant gratification and rewards. Above all, we love to be entertained. And this leads to another important aspect of this topic - gamification marketing is a subtle way of selling to your target audience. It provides a gentle nudge for customers to interact with your brand and build a relationship that can provide a higher ROI for your marketing efforts.

Package all of these elements into different gamification strategies and you have a winning formula. Now if you don't know how to integrate gamification into your business, or if you've never used it before, then don’t worry - it’s easy to get started.

At Piggy, you can make your brand stand out from the crowd with a special gamified loyalty program that meshes effortlessly with your internal and external growth strategies.

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