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Gamification In Digital Marketing

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

The world of video games is ever-changing. It is continuously advancing and expanding across other sectors. Today games are everywhere. They’ve got integrated into the industries we’ve expected the least. That is why we can surely say that games are no longer for entertainment only.

Earlier, we used to play games just o spend leisure time and have fun - and that’s it. Well, games still are meant to be fun and enjoyable but there are a few more functions they can perform. Now video games can be used for business promotion, boosting their effectiveness, and more.

In this article, let’s find out how your business can gain long-term benefits from mini-games. Join us on this amazing journey into the world of mobile gaming!

A few words about gamification

Addressing the Allied Market Research, the gamification market is projected to reach $95.5 billion by 2030. Sounds quite impressive! But let’s figure out everything step by step.

So what is meant by gamification? In layman’s words, gamification refers to the use of gameplay elements in a non-game format. To make it clear for you, we’ll give you a cool example you must have heard about. That’s Duolingo - a gamified platform that is a free-to-use language tuition app, which currently has over 110 million users worldwide.

Gamification is used in a vast array of contexts, yet marketing provides a huge space for gamification applications. Let’s talk about it in detail.

Gamification in marketing

Games are powerful. They help to develop numerous skills, train, and learn. Given this potential and proven effectiveness, it was only a matter of time before digital marketing specialists started to look for opportunities to involve games in their strategies.

Gamification marketing uses story-telling, gameplay, and the mechanics of play to grab and maintain users’ attention. Because games appeal to people in a way that adverts don’t, they promote much better. It’s a fact that people don’t like being bombarded with intrusive and irritating ads. It is more likely to push them away rather than get interested. But games have revolutionized the marketing sector and completely change the way of presenting and perceiving ads.

Playing enhances user experience, increases engagement, and helps to convert random visitors into dedicated fans, therefore increasing brand awareness and generating higher revenues. Gamified marketing encourages a kind of interaction. Consumers are driven to perform an action because it offers elements of competition or rewards such as points, leaderboards, and trophies.

Gamification forms and elements

Gamification keeps developing and comes in a variety of forms with some of the key elements.

Gamification marketing campaigns can be wrapped up as gamified loyalty programs, interactive quizzes, etc., depending on the goals of the campaign and the target audience.

Here are a few examples:

  • Surveys & Quizzes. Templated, response-driven content that requires users to give feedback and personal data in exchange for personalized promotions, discounts, or deals.

  • Minigames. Short, simple games that can be completed within one sitting, e.g. platformers, RPGS, and puzzle games.

  • Chance games. One-off games with a random selection of established results, such as spin-to-win wheels and digital lottery cards.

  • Interactive games. Interactive games for brand promotion are the most common form of gamification marketing. Brands create games for brand promotion that are related to their products or services and offer incentives or rewards for playing. For example, a fast food restaurant might create a game that challenges players to make burgers as quickly as possible, with rewards like free meals or discounts for completing certain levels.

  • Sweepstakes and contests. A branded game that requires players to answer trivia questions related to the brand or its products, with a chance to win prizes for correct answers.

  • Loyalty programs. Gamification can be used to create loyalty programs that incentivize customers to continue engaging with a brand through simple yet engaging experiences. For example, a retailer might offer rewards points or discounts for completing certain tasks or making repeat purchases.

  • Virtual reality experiences. Some brands are using gamification to create immersive VR branded games that allow customers to interact with products or services in a more engaging way (e.g. experiencing new features or other updates more realistically).

Now, let’s move on to game elements. It probably will take us a long to name all of them (‘cause there are lots of them, really) so we’ve compiled a list of the most common gamification elements you may come across.

Check them out here:

  • Points. Players collect points for winning a game or simply making a purchase. These points can be later exchanged for a discount or free stuff.

  • Badges. Customers get rewarded with badges for accomplishing something. For example, Grammarly sends writers badges like “Goal Crusher” to the most active users.

  • Levels. This means offering bigger rewards for saving more points, like 200 Starbucks Stars could get you a free sandwich. People do love it!

  • Virtual currency. Reward your frequent shoppers with your own unique money.

  • Leaderboards. Post players’ names and scores on your website or social media to encourage competition.

  • Countdowns. Challenge players to complete a task within a certain timeframe.

  • Progress bars. Show customers’ progress toward reaching the next level to bring in motivation and boost their competitive spirit.

Why using gamification in marketing is a good idea

In this section, we’re going to talk about the perks of bringing gamification to your marketing strategy, namely branded games.

The number of worldwide brands - either small or giant - that are leveraging the power of branded games is growing increasingly. So do branded games really worth all the efforts and resources? Yes, they do! And here are a few good reasons for it.

Branded games are great for drawing consumer attention, enhancing brand awareness, improving social sharing, and also gathering data valuable for a marketing campaign.

Regardless of age, gender, or occupation, people do enjoy playing video games all over the globe. That’s why gamified content works - it’s fun, interactive, challenging, and even relaxing.

Addressing the source, 70% of 10,000 global shoppers enjoy gaming elements while shopping online. Another 42% like gaming in-store.

Online gaming is gaining momentum so we cannot ignore the following statistical data: the current number of online gamers equals 1 billion, and is projected to be 1.3 billion by 2025. Worldwide, video games capture 52.9% of the digital media market, and its segment is increasing by 11.9% per year on average (driven largely by mobile games).

These days companies from completely different areas of activity start taking advantage of gaming and partnering with game development studios to create addictive branded games.

Using branded games: the best practices

Ally Racer video game source:

Branded games have proven to be a kick-butt marketing strategy that’s here to stay. There’s a multitude of ways to integrate a branded game into a marketing strategy. However, it’s highly important to take into account all the specifications, key requirements, main goals, and limitations to choose the most efficient solution.

Here are a few cool ways branded games can be used in digital marketing:

  • Increase brand awareness. Branded games can help increase brand awareness by creating interactive experiences that are more entertaining and memorable than traditional marketing methods. For example, a game that features a brand's products or logo can help increase brand recognition and reach a wider audience.

  • Drive traffic to a website or app. Branded games can be used to drive traffic to a brand's website or app by offering incentives or rewards for playing. For example, a retailer might offer discounts or coupons for playing a game on their website.

  • Encourage social sharing. Branded games are designed to encourage social sharing by allowing players to share their scores or progress on social media. This way brands can reach a wider audience.

  • Collect customer data. Branded games help to collect important customer data, such as preferences or behavior, that can be used to improve marketing strategies or personalize future interactions with customers.

  • Build customer loyalty. Branded games are one of the best ways to ensure loyalty. Various programs motivate customers to continue engaging with a brand to get rewards or discounts for playing a game multiple times or reaching certain levels.

  • Generating hype around a new product or service. Promoting new offerings with mini-games shows excellent results. After all, users are more likely to interact with content that is entertaining and fun.

  • Reaching higher conversion rates. If well-developed, branded games catch users’ attention and maintain it for long periods of time. This way, brands can easier turn random visitors into their dedicated fans. Around 70% of marketers believe interactive content positively affects conversion rates.

As you can see, branded games can be a valuable addition to a digital marketing strategy while delivering engaging and memorable experiences for customers as well as helping brands achieve their marketing goals easier and faster.


We’ve mentioned so many benefits of games for brand promotion that applying them seems to be as easy as a piece of cake. Is it really that seamless? Well, advantages always come hand in hand with challenges, don’t they? It takes to first spend time analyzing your target audience carefully, studying their requests, and defining your marketing strategy’s main objectives to avoid critical issues and failures.

What you should know is that marketing gamification is complicated and resource-consuming. It will take you a good deal of time, money, and effort to conceptualize and create an effective and profitable brand game. But if designed and integrated properly, a branded game will pay off. Click here to get your brand game cost estimation right now.

Another challenge relates to an understanding of motivational psychology with the added goal of affecting user behavior. To cut a long story short, you have to not only design a funny brand game that gets users interested but also that achieves your business objectives.

Successful use cases

  • Ally Financial - a bank holding company - created a web/iOS NASCAR-esque game called Ally Racer. In the nostalgic 1980s-style game, players earn bonus points by hitting financial targets like coins and dollar bills. Top gamers are tracked on a leaderboard, and players are encouraged to share their high scores on social media.

  • Under Armour launched a trivia game Steph IQ during the NBA playoffs in 2018. Players could earn prizes if they correctly answered all eight multiple-choice questions within the timeframe. The app was a real success for all the parties involved. NBA’s viewership increased, as well as Under Armour’s sales, and fans could get rewards for their knowledge.

  • Starbucks seems to be into gamification very much. The chain is taking more and more advantage of games so they are becoming an integral part of Starbucks’ marketing campaigns. Let’s take their cup flip game where players are encouraged to brag about their results on social media, and winners get vouchers to use in-store. Was the game successful? Quite enough. Check out the campaign’s results: 30-second dwell time, 90% engagement, 60-second engagement time per user, and surpassed voucher download targets by over 110%.

  • KFC Japan partnered with Gamify to create a marketing campaign with gamification elements that not only informed customers but also incentivized them to try the new line of products through discounted voucher rewards. The KFC Shrimp Attack mobile game is a re-skin of Fruit Ninja where users earn points by slicing shrimp while evading drumsticks. Depending on the number of points scored, users get real-life discounts for the Ebi Puri (fried shrimp) meal.

  • Donut Papi is a great example of how gamification is successfully applied by small businesses. The exciting match game proves again that branded games are not for huge corporations only - even a single local shop somewhere in Australia can please customers with a fun and engaging experience thus boosting sales, boosting website traffic, enhancing customer engagement, and increasing revenue. Donut Papi, a local donut shop in Sydney, partnered with Gamify to create a competitive brand game. Players had to enter their contact info in exchange for playing the match game. A physical leaderboard was put in the store to drive competition among players for 6 weeks. Each week a winner was selected as per the score. The reward was a free box of donuts. The game resulted in 312 organic social shares and was played 41,659 times with an 89.4% completion rate.

Read about other interesting branded games use cases here.


Taking into account all the facts, figures, pros, and cons given above, and going back to the question “Are branded games profitable and worth all the effort?” we can surely say that they are if designed and integrated appropriately.

Even though games for brand promotion are mostly simple and small, their development still requires lots of time, money, and, last but not least, a deep understanding of the market. This is what distinguishes brand games from ordinary video games - it takes you to deliver a game that is not only enjoyable but effective in terms of reaching your business objectives.

HitBerry Games, as a mobile games development studio with strong expertise and long-term experience in mini brand games creation, can be your reliable partner in bringing gamification to your marketing campaign. Over more than 12 years, our company has built a team of seasoned and dedicated talents in branded games development. We provide mobile games outsourcing development to enhance your in-house team as well as full-cycle branded games development services for enterprises and start-ups.

We apply a personalized approach to each project and work closely with every client to grasp all the requirements fully and implement them in a thrilling and lucrative brand game.

We know how to design a successful gamified marketing campaign that will bring gains to your business.

Contact us now and let’s get started with a branded game creation!



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