Another Win for Digital Marketing: 4 Gamification Methods That Increase Conversions

Digital Marketing


Do you remember Farmville and Angry Birds? Or, more recently, Candy Crush? As you probably know, these games were wildly successful (and profitable!). They proved, once again, that games are not just for kids. In fact, businesses across all verticals that have nothing to do with gaming are using gamification methods to increase conversions, inspire employees, generate buzz and customer loyalty, and at the end of the day, increase profits.

There are many ways to apply gamification elements into a business model, for example: loyalty programs, such as Samsung’s “Samsung Nation”; a feature on a website, such as LinkedIn’s “Profile Strength” progress bar (see below…I’m an All-Star); or even gamifying marketing automation campaigns.

profile strength

There are four gamification methods that can directly contribute to improving the success of your conversion funnel:

Method 1: Prizes and Rewards for Social Sharing

Often described as a “growth hack”, companies that offer the user a reward for sharing their system are actually using gamification. By offering the user a reward or prize, companies invoke the competitive, dopamine-releasing nature of us humans. Take, for example, Uber’s offer of a free ride reward for users who share the Uber app with a friend.


Dropbox gives an extra 500 MB of storage for every friend you refer. Hi-Rez Studios, a gaming company, has actually gamified its SMITE game by rewarding users with “favors” or “gems” for getting their friends to play up to level 15.


Combining gamification with social sharing is a great way to increase engagement while growing your audience. What can you offer your users for referring their friends or colleagues?

Method 2: Open to Engagement

Codecademy’s site may not give rewards for referrals, but it uses a different gamification technique. The company enables users to start using its code-learning system by completing assignments without having to sign up. It offers badges as rewards for engagement, and once users are engaged, they are asked to sign up so that they do not lose their progress. This method works to engage visitors, decrease bounce rates, and increase conversions. When users are already engaged and benefitting from the Codecademy platform, they are more likely to register with the site.

Method 3: Timing Urgency

Adding a countdown is another effective gamification method that urges users to take action or convert. For example, Dodocase, a luxury iPad case retailer, has a countdown as a banner across the top of its site showing when the price is about to expire:


Adding an element of urgency, such as a game timer that’s about to expire at any second, encourages users to act fast. employs a similar technique by offering products until they sell out. The company uses a progress bar that shows the percentage of remaining items.

Using gamification to add an element of urgency encourages visitors to take action now, and it also results in more (and quicker!) conversions (aka every marketer’s fantasy).

Method 4: Competitive Leaderboard

A leaderboard is another way to capitalize on the competitive nature of users. Teleflora is a great example for this gamification method: it offers points for the number of dollars spent, reviews posted, Facebook comments left, and customer questions answered. Points can be traded in for purchase discounts. In addition to the rewards, it showcases the leaderboard of users with the highest points, which incentivizes those who like being publicly recognized for their merits.


Teleflora’s successful implementation of gamification in ecommerce is described by Econsultancy: “As a result of its social program, referral traffic from Facebook increased by 105% and there was a 10-fold increase in the number of pictures and videos being uploaded. Most importantly though, Teleflora’s conversion rate improved by 92%”. Just imagine what implementing a similar system can do for your marketing efforts!

Another example of a compelling, competitive gamification process is eBay. The ecommerce giant’s bidding platform turns the sentiment of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” into a gamified bidding system where buyers compete and sellers win (and then pay eBay handsome commissions.) eBay’s bidding process includes a gamified bidder leaderboard and a feedback system in which buyers and sellers compete for stars and for the “Power Seller” badge.


Gamification Drives Conversions

These examples, which span over various verticals, product types, and gamification methods, show us that gamifying our processes leads to increased conversions, regardless of industry or audience. In a sense, gamification is about turning customers into active “co-creators”— delighting them while also encouraging their interaction and personal input.

What is the best example of gamification that you have come across? Please share in the comments below!