Gamification is one of the best strategies to use to grow your brand. There are many examples of well-known brands that have applied gamification as a growth hack to achieve impressive results.
Gamification is the use of game-design elements in non-game contexts. For example, gamification can be used to invite someone to do some tasks or complete some information to advance to another level.
This post will break down examples of companies that have successfully implemented gamification to grow their platform. However, before we dive in, let’s first further discuss what gamification is and the psychology behind what makes it such a good strategy.
What is Gamification?
Gamification is when a business applies similar concepts and techniques from games to its platform to attract a user’s attention.
A famous example of gamification was when Hasbro and McDonald’s worked together to create, “McDonald’s Monopoly.” By ordering certain meals at McDonald’s, you could collect Monopoly stickers, and different stickers had different prizes. Historically, the grand prize of $1 million was the combination of the two most costly properties, Park Place and Boardwalk. With the potential to win a million dollars, the game always attracts massive attention, and sales historically always spike during the promotion.
Why Gamification Leads to Massive Growth
The reason why gamification leads to such rapid growth is through its release of dopamine to the user. Humans get a dopamine release every time we accomplish something. This is why we always feel great after a workout or completing a task. However, as we keep releasing dopamine, our brains require more and more to keep us happy.
So, as the user keeps engaging with the gamified platform, they’ll find the need to engage with it longer and longer to feel the same dopamine release.
It has a very similar cause and effect as drugs. The more drugs you do, the more your body becomes desensitized to dopamine, which means you have to do more drugs, and the process continues. See our visual for a breakdown.
Demand Gen conducted a study of B2B marketers and reported the following:
- About 81% of the marketers who participated in the study believe that interactive content grabs more attention than static content
- When it comes to B2B marketers, 88% of them were planning to convert their interactive content at 10% to 30%
- About 70% of them believe that interactive content converts more visitors than static content
Simply put, people enjoy playing games, and any interactive content is likely to grab a user’s attention. Something as simple as a badge can motivate someone to complete tasks to earn it. That’s why many companies come up with beautiful achievement badges and use them to reach their target goals. It works since people tend to want to feel a sense of accomplishment.
If you want to achieve your marketing and sales goals quickly, consider making it gamified. It has been proven to be one of the most effective growth hacks for any eCommerce or SAAS business.
Now that you know why gamification leads to massive growth, let’s look at some examples of companies that have successfully implemented gamification into their marketing strategy.
How LinkedIn Uses Gamification
Almost every aspect of LinkedIn involves gamification. LinkedIn is a professional B2B platform where people share their work profile and interact with other professionals.
When a new user joins LinkedIn, they are asked to import contacts, and if they do, they get to earn unique points on completion. When the user imports their contacts, an email is sent to every imported contact, asking them to sign up for the platform.
The company has also added a section that shows each LinkedIn profile’s strength level.
To get your profile strength at All-Star, you need to do various things like update your bio, post status updates, and make sure your work history is up to date.
LinkedIn has two great gamified features: endorsements and badges. By completing various LinkedIn certifications, you can win their badges that show employers you understand a certain skill like Microsoft Excel.
Let’s assume you also are a software engineer. You can put on your LinkedIn profile that you are proficient in PHP as one of your skills, and then ask your boss for an endorsement.
Finally, LinkedIn notifies users when someone visits their profile and lets them know how many people have viewed their posts. These metrics make you want to keep increasing your stats and engage with the platform more and more.
How Dropbox Uses Gamification
Just like LinkedIn, Dropbox understands that gamification is a great way to boost engagement.
Dropbox rewards new users as soon as they sign up. During the onboarding phase, the more users engage with the Dropbox platform, the more storage space they can achieve. This extra storage space occurs when they link their account to any social media platform such as Twitter or Facebook.
This is an effective way for Dropbox to find new customers from its existing customer base.
The more steps users take on the onboarding process, the more rewards they can achieve. If a user completes all seven steps that Dropbox asks of them, they will get a Dropbox Guru reward after completion, where you get even more storage place. Strategies like these have turned Dropbox into the multi-billion dollar platform it is today.
How Duolingo Uses Gamification
The third and final gamification example is Duolingo. Duolingo is a language learning app that allows players to earn rewards as they better understand the language.
Duolingo’s marketing strategy is almost exclusively through its gamified content. Users start earning points as they complete lessons, which motivates the user to gain more points as they keep learning a new language.
With every point, the user earns one Lingot. It’s an in-game currency that users can use to unlock some unique rewards, including character skins, pick-up lines, and other special features (similar to Fortnite).
The user is also motivated to use the app daily. There is a winning streak, and most users would like to keep a streak like that (similar to Snap Streaks). Failing to visit the app in a day would lead to a loss of the streak, and they have to start again. This strategy encourages repeat users daily.
As the user goes through their lessons, they can see their improvement using the lesson skill bar. As they complete lessons and achieve certifications, Duolingo rewards them with a form of an achievement badge, which they can share with their friends.
With every language that Duolingo hosts, there is a leaderboard showing users who have achieved the most points for that language. To be on top, they have to be always active and earn as many points as possible. As a reward, the top three users in each language leaderboard receive a badge when they end every week. There are also different leagues that a user can advance to when they finish first in the leaderboard, which boosts the competition as the user works hard to finish first in every league.
There is also a social part of Duolingo where users can communicate in a community section. Users can create a connection by following and being followed by other people, and they get to see their progress compared to them.
Duolingo has mastered the process of gamification. Not only do people get a dopamine release as they learn their language of choice, but Duolingo also has multiple incentives to engage with the platform and share achievements.
There is a reason why people are addicted to drugs, food, and alcohol. It’s because of the release of dopamine. As a marketer, your goal is to have users engage or purchase from your brand. One of the best ways to do this is through gamified content. With these three examples of gamification, you should now be well equipped to start implementing gamified content into your marketing strategy and see your growth take off!