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As the digital marketing landscape evolves, so do the tactics brands use to stay ahead of the curve. In a digitally dominated consumer landscape, those with the most engaging marketing tactics are likely to score the most conversions in 2023.
Enter gamification. Tapping into the basic human instinct to interact and ‘play’ with content, gamification encourages potential leads to engage with a brand in a positive digital experience before being confronted with ad-type content that suggests something is being ‘sold’.
“Gamification, when done correctly, can be an extremely effective marketing tool for creating an immersive consumer experience,” says David Chamberlain, chief experience design officer at Momentum Worldwide.
“Games drive repeat visits, shares, conversions, and ultimately brand awareness. Gaming, even with seemingly ‘solo’ games, is an inherently social behavior. The best experiences are enjoyed as a group, tapping into the basic human need to compete, win, and be part of something,”
So it is no wonder that 93 percent of modern-day marketers are for gamification in their digital strategy. Stick with us as we delve into the benefits of introducing immersive brand experiences, and reveal some of the key companies taking it forward in 2023.
What is Brand Gamification?
Brand gamification is a clever way to combine advertisement and the concept of game-playing for a more immersive, hands-on brand experience.
Helping bands improve their lead generation, consumer acquisition, and even retention, gamification aims to hook a viewer and get them engaging with a brand creatively before guiding them to the checkout.
In a competitive e-commerce sector, over 50 percent of all startups now use gamification to catch the attention of their consumers. Whether this is a clever yet sharable Snapchat filter or a whole new branded world built for gameplay in the Metaverse, there are plenty of ways to leverage an audience’s need to interact with the content they see online.
“Gamification is coming of age. Our Gamification Report last year saw a record £420m invested in UK companies using this technology to stay competitive. This is a staggering contrast to 2019’s £166m record,” claims Ellie Hanson, marketing manager at Rawnet.
“Gamification continues to evolve and impact brands across industries. There are significant benefits to incorporating gamified content into business strategy, helping organizations to improve their e-commerce experience drastically. Over time, gamification will build a community of advocates who have an emotional connection to the brand and frequently interact with it,” she continues.
Let’s have a closer look at some of the key benefits associated with brand gamification in 2023.
The Benefits of Brand Gamification
There are plenty of benefits associated with brand gamification. From improved consumer engagement to increasing brand awareness, gamification has become one of the key strategies to invest in as a digital company.
1. Improving Consumer Engagement
Did you know that 60 percent of consumers claim that they would be more likely to buy from a brand if it offered an immersive game experience?
Brands that create multiple touchpoints in a buyer journey map are much more likely to see increased engagement over time. For example, if you set up social media interactions, app-based game-play, and even AR-powered site experiences, you’re more likely to hook your lead’s attention for longer.
Gamification provides a new way to build relationships with potential consumers before sending them to checkout. The more time a consumer spends engaging with your content, the higher the chance they will convert.
2. Targeting Gen Z
Gen Z is one of the hardest generations to target in 2023. Demanding high levels of personalization, new content trends, and constant adaption to trending social apps like TikTok, they have become one of the trinket demographics to hook.
In fact, 75 percent of 16-24-year-olds want the brands they interact with to keep offering them something new. Whether this is a new product line or an innovative form of content, it is no secret that Gen Z gets bored in seconds.
Gamification feeds Gen Z’s short attention span. Introducing game-like experiences as a part of your branding strategy encourages young consumers who are likely to access the e-commerce world via smartphone to engage with ad-style content for longer periods of time.
3. Building Customer Loyalty
Many marketers believe that gamification is only used to acquire new consumers. While it is a great way to attract potential leads, let’s not forget that gamification can also be used as a fantastic retention strategy.
From friendly competition such as the McDonald’s Monopoly Game or personalized games based upon consumer data, there are plenty of ways to make loyal customers feel special and keep them involved with changing themes and new product lines.
Starbucks is a great example of this! Offering loyal consumers interactive incentives and rewards that are easy to redeem prioritizes repeat purchasing and, in turn, a boost in guaranteed ROI.
Brand Gamification Examples in 2023
Gamification may still be a relatively new phenomenon for marketers across the globe, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a large number of brands already pioneering the way forward with immersive content in 2023.
Here are some great brand gamification examples to inspire your own interactive strategy:
1. L’Oreal Cosmetics
We can’t mention gamification without mentioning L’Oreal. After being known to use gamification in a number of ways to attract new online consumers, this beauty brand knows how to leverage smart tech such as augmented reality.
(Image Source: L’Oreal Paris)
Introducing their ‘Makeup Genius App’, L’Oreal now encourages their customers to try on their makeup virtually before purchasing online. Gamifying the experience of trying on a range of exciting products has increased digital native engagement and is driving conversions for L’Oreal in a digitalized retail sector.
Nike is no stranger to trending tech. After releasing a footwear-based NFT in 2020, and even opening up ‘Nikeland’ in the metaverse, it is no surprise that they are one of the key gamification pioneers of 2023.
Introducing their newest version of the ‘Nike Runners Club’, the footwear brand has incorporated gamification elements to their app to help encourage their runners to hit milestones much quicker.
“The Nike Run Club (NRC) is an app free to download and use. It’s called a “club” for a reason: once you’re in, NRC offers the perks that come with any supportive run club—training tips, a virtual runner community, route tracking, and expert coaching to keep you on your journey,” say experts at Nike.
While the app doesn’t directly sell Nike products, it increases brand awareness tenfold and continues to nurture ongoing consumer relationships.
Duolingo is a great example of a brand that uses gamification to make language learning more fun.
(Image Source: Duolingo)
Rewarding users for competing at different levels with points in the form of treasure chests helps encourage consumers to keep engaging. Better still, with a leaderboard that is constantly updated and packed with prizes, consumers also enjoy a competitive incentive.
Last but not least, let’s talk about T-Mobile. If you want a peek into how to improve consumer loyalty using gamification, look no further.
T-Mobile offers repeat consumers the chance to join a loyalty program called T-Tuesdays, which not only regards users with freebies and discounts, but consumers can even earn rewards by playing games and participating in scavenger hunt challenges.
Gamifying the consumer experience, T-Mobile has unlocked new ways to engage with its loyal audience. While these experiences don’t directly promote products and services, they help raise brand awareness and encourage consumers to stay with them for longer as a loyal customer.
A Gamified Future
As brands continue to move online, the future of e-commerce success lies in the hands of a company’s content efforts.
The more effort a brand puts into creating engaging, interactive content for its audience, the more likely it will be to score leads in 2023.
“Gamification matters because people are more likely to engage with a particular activity when they are having fun. So if an organization or business is looking to encourage behavioral change in any way, harnessing gamification to make it enjoyable is likely to be a great place to start,” says James Piercey, product designer at YuLife.
The question is, when will you start your own gamification journey?
Rebecca is a journalist and blogger specializing in the health, business, and technology sector.