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Game On: Engaging Audiences and Building Brand Loyalty with Gamification

Who doesn’t love playing games? Whether it’s entering an exclusive giveaway or tapping through a playable ad, gamification is fast-becoming a key strategy for brands looking for fresh ways to captivate and foster lasting loyalty with customers. 

Gamification involves incorporating game elements into non-game contexts, such as advertising, to enhance user engagement and experience. Given its positive impact on performance, the global gamification market is on the rise. According to Orbis Research, gamification sales revenue is expected to reach $32 billion by 2025. 

In this blog, learn the psychology behind gamification and how your brand can leverage this strategy to engage audiences and build brand loyalty.

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The Psychology Behind Gamification  

The positive engagement of gamification strategies are rooted in fundamental human desires for recognition, reward, status, achievement, competition, and collaboration. Additionally, gamification triggers neurological factors that entice further engagement in the following ways:

  • The Neuroscience of Rewards: Gamification stimulates the brain's reward system, leading to the release of dopamine that triggers an individual to associate a brand experience with pleasure and motivation. 
  • Sense of Achievement: Gamification systems help users feel a sense of accomplishment and skill development through progress markers and social recognition.
  • Emotional Connection: Gamification forges an emotional connection through brand narratives. It also relieves cognitive overload - as mentioned above, triggering a dopamine release - and leading to increased engagement.

The Value of Gamification in Brand Experiences

As mentioned above, revenue from gamification strategies is set to grow exponentially over the next few years. This is because of the powerful impact gamification can have on brands’ performance.

  • According to Zippia, companies that use gamification are 7x more profitable than those that do not use gamified elements at work—whether with employees or consumers. 
  • Per data from LXA, game-based motivation increases user-engagement by 48%.
  • As reported by djangostars, using gamification for customer engagement strategies resulted in a 54% increase in trial usage and a 15% increase in buy clicks.
  • Using games to personalize mobile advertising saw Popchip's sales rise 40%, leading to $100 million in sales.
  • According to Storyly, gamification has fueled a 700% boost in customer acquisitions and increased both engagement and loyalty by up to 30% for major brands like eBay, Walgreens and others.

How to Engage and Convert Customers with Gamification


Gamification in Products

One of the best examples of using gamification to build a highly engaging product is in the education category. For example, language learning apps like Duolingo often integrate gamification elements into their products to increase user engagement.

In the case of Duolingo, the app was designed to entice users to build streaks and earn badges as they progress through levels of the app. Learners are motivated to maintain their learning streaks as well as beat out the competition — e.g. maintain their streaks in comparison with other language learners. 

Another example of gamification in a product or service is eBay. The well-known American ecommerce platform uses gamification to persuade buyers to “win” items they want to buy through a bidding system.

What’s more, buyers and sellers can earn rewards and recognition for prompt payment, fast shipping, and other positive feedback scores. This further incentivizes users to use the platform in a way that fuels positive interactions.

Gamification in Advertising

Perhaps the best example of gamification in advertising are playable ads. Playable ads are interactive ad units that allow users to engage with a mini-game or experience a product or service in an engaging, gamified format. As we’ve written about before, playables see an almost 5x higher average IPM (installs per thousand impressions) than other high-engaging formats — like rewarded video ads. Moreover, they inspire 60% more clicks, 70% more installs and generate a 40% greater return on ad spend than static ads. 

Over the years, we’ve designed countless playable ads for partners — both in non-gaming and gaming verticals. This includes a cookie-themed quiz to promote a food magazine in a media brand’s portfolio or a simulation game to promote an entertainment brand’s latest film release. 

For game apps, we’ve designed playables that entice players to download or re-engage with the game by teasing a next level or showcasing an innovative feature that's unique to the app. 

In all cases, playables helped these brands stand out in the marketplace and captivated users in new ways to combat ad fatigue.


Gamification in Brand Experiences

There are many ways to gamify brand experiences to attract lasting customer interaction and support. One is through loyalty programs that reward users with a points system.

For example, hospitality brand, Accor Hotels and its Accor Live Limitless (ALL) loyalty program awards badges and points to members that they can redeem for future discounts or hotel stays.

Another example of a gamified brand experience is from the chocolate brand Magnum. To promote the launch of a new ice cream bar, Magnum Temptation, they launched a game called the “Magnum Pleasure Hunt”. This incentivized users to participate in an online treasure hunt for bon bons, accumulating points via a series of situations. At the end, users’ bon bons turned into a Magnum Temptaion bar, enhancing visibility for the brand’s new launch. This clever campaign strategy inspired increased brand awareness with “Pleasure Hunt” becoming the most tweeted URL in the world during one day of the campaign.


Incorporating game elements into branding and advertising significantly enhances user engagement and brand loyalty. Gamification taps into fundamental human desires and neurological responses, making experiences more memorable and enjoyable.

  • Enhanced Growth and Profitability: The gamification market is booming, with sales revenue expected to reach $32 billion by 2025. Brands leveraging gamification report up to 7 times more profitability, demonstrating its effectiveness in boosting business outcomes.
  • Boosts Engagement and Conversion: Gamified strategies, including in-product games and playable ads, have shown remarkable results in increasing user interaction, trial usage, sales, and customer acquisition. With gamification, companies have seen a 700% boost in customer acquisitions and significant increases in both engagement and loyalty.
  • Successful Gamification Use Cases: From Duolingo's streaks and badges to eBay's bidding system and Accor Hotels' loyalty program, gamification has proven effective across various industries. Playable ads, in particular, offer an engaging way to showcase products and services, driving higher interaction and conversion rates compared to traditional ad formats.


Ready to transform your brand’s digital presence with gamification? CRAFTSMAN+ specializes in crafting engaging gamified experiences that captivate audiences and drive brand loyalty. Whether through innovative playable ads or immersive brand experiences, our team can help you leverage gamification for sustained revenue and brand visibility.