Does Gamification Really Engage Customers?

Appetite Creative
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A recent popular trend, gamification has come into the focus as a technology to drive customer engagement. But does gamification really engage customers more?

Achieving a high customer engagement rate is a crucial goal for most digital marketing campaigns. Marketers often try different ways and tools to drive customer engagement. A recent popular trend, gamification has come into the focus as a technology to drive customer engagement. But does gamification really engage customers more?

According to a survey among Italian employees, 57% of the respondents think that gamification could improve business performance. In another survey from the US, 78% of the respondents claimed that gamification increases a company’s appeal during the recruitment process.

Why Is Customer Engagement Important?

Customer engagement is defined as equal investment and interactions across social media and other interactive channels by both customers and the brand itself. Customer engagement is known for driving sales, increased word-of-mouth, customer loyalty and ultimately brand popularity. In retail, engaged customers are reported to visit stores more often and buy more additional products. In conclusion, customer engagement affects many components of business in a positive way.


Using gamification to create an engaging digital experience isn’t only about developing a game that engages customers. It is about leveraging elements of gamification, in combination with non-game content,  to stimulate certain behaviours across a target audience. Gamification, as a branch of digital advertising, is the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (such as a task) to encourage participation.

Why Does Gamification Work?

Gamification is a valuable tool as it can trigger emotions in users that are linked to positive experiences.

This could include:

1. Gamification Gives the User Control

Most people like to feel in control.

2. Gamification reinforces good behaviour

Certain behaviours get rewarded, for instance, reaching a new game level.

3. A Sense of Achievement

Achievement is a very powerful psychological factor that drives human behaviour in gamification. Experiencing a feeling of achievement encourages the user to make repeat visits.

4. Setting Goals and Competing

Humans love to compete, even if it is just against their own scores or achievements.

5. Explore and Escape

Humans are curious and love to explore new things.

6. We Love Rewards

The opportunity of getting a tangible reward is compelling for users. So, receiving rewards in gamification often drives engagement.

7. Exclusivity

Exclusivity creates intrigue and curiosity – giving users a special or elite experience.

8. Teamwork and Collaboration

Humans want to socialise, making gamification communities sharable, sticky and engaging.

Humans are addicted to dopamine and in a certain way using a phone satisfies our need for instant gratification. In terms of engagement, humans can be incentivised in two different ways. On the one hand, there is the extrinsic motivation that encourages us to undertake actions based on external rewards we are trying to reach. In terms of gamification, external awards can be in the form of points, milestones or other kinds of achievements.

On the other side, there is intrinsic motivation which is triggered internally. In a gamification context, this means that we feel rewarded because an activity is fun and entertaining. In addition, intrinsic motivation can be triggered by relationships fuelled by competition, collaboration or a sense of community. Surprise, empowerment or scarcity can also intrinsically motivate us to take certain actions.


Using gamification for marketing not only attracts new customers but can help to retain existing customers. It helps a marketing campaign to create more interactive touchpoints and keeps customers engaged and loyal.

It can also help businesses to make products more habit-forming and increase adoption and conversion rates. By utilising a gamification experience, users are more likely to respond positively to a call to action, than a simple banner ad.

There are many ways to leverage gamification including across different ad formats or in combination with connected experiences. In a recent connected packaging campaign, for PepsiCo, gamification was successfully used to find and to connect with top talent. Find our case study here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more. Let’s have a call this week!