The Insider’s Guide to Gamification Marketing Strategies

Category : Digital Marketing Author : Team Amura Date Created: 28 Dec 2015

How would you sell Rs.900+ Cr worth of real estate inventory in just 3 days? We got our answer this year when we launched the Indian Realty Flash Sale (IRFS) and used a number of gamification tactics to not only engage customers but also drive sales.

The concept of a flash sale works well with consumers because

  1. they are worried they won’t get as good a deal ever again or

  2. they don’t want to lose the deal to other people.


Consumers are always loss averse - losses are much stronger psychological drivers than gains, so losing out on a great deal will hurt consumers even more than the joy of a deal gained.

Five methods to gamify your marketing strategy


  1. Leaderboard - A leaderboard, displayed on the site, shows which customers have unlocked the highest achievements. This drives a desire in players to participate and get more achievements - thus driving deeper engagement.
    The trick to designing an effective strategy with a leaderboard is to ensure that participants are encouraged enough that they will want to stay in the game.

    As it’s not very encouraging for a player to see that the top contenders are far too ahead in their points, an effective leaderboard will be sliced into a certain category -

    1. Social circle - A leaderboard showing the scores of participants in the same social circle as the player.

    2. Individual positioning - A leaderboard positioning the player in the centre of the list, by displaying contenders above and below the player, unless he is amongst the top few  - making the game more encouraging and engaging.

    3. Timely positions - A leaderboard that displays the top contenders for the week or the day.

Leaderboard in practice: Deloitte Leadership Academy (DLA) used the principles of gamification and created a leaderboard to get more more enrollments - according to an article published on the Harvard Business Review about the it, “Participants, who are spending increased amounts of time on the site and completing programs in increasing numbers, show almost addictive behavior.”


  1. Countdown - In a countdown, “players” are only given a certain amount of time to take action - this works particularly well in the case of sales and offers. The countdown creates a “get it or regret it” situation and the activity on the site increases as the deadline draws closer and the stipulated time runs out.

    Countdown in practice: Amura used countdown timers for the Indian Realty Flash Sale (IRFS), a first-of-its-kind online flash sale over 3 days for the residential real estate industry. Each product page came with a countdown timer as well as a live display of the number of people interested in the property, thus increasing urgency and driving sales.


  1. Prizes and rewards - Possibly the most obvious gamification dynamic to implement, prizes and rewards play perfectly to the theory of Operant Conditioning. Rewards act as an incentive for customers to keep engaging with your brand, while also serving the purpose of recognizing their time and contribution to your campaign.

    Prizes in practice: McDonald’s Monopoly - In a campaign that the fast food giant run with Hasbro, the board game manufacturer, game pieces were given away with certain food items - some pieces offered instant prizes such as a drink or a burger, other pieces acted as placeholders on the Monopoly board. Customers could collect them to win bigger, better prizes.


  1. Badges as rewards - Badges are another extremely effective way to connect with customers and keep users engaged with your product. A badge acts as a reward without actually having to give a monetary or material reward of any kind - they simply appeal to the competitive need of users to improve status.

    Badges in practice: Foursquare is a classic example of offering badges as rewards. The app helps customer (or users, in this case) find places to eat, drink, shop or visit. Users must check in at venues to earn badges and then earn multiple badges to climb up in levels, the theory being that higher-level users with more badges will give better venue recommendations and tips to other users.


  1. Progress indicators - A progress indicator plays into the nature of people to want to do better. By showing the end goal i.e. filling the progress bar to customers, it urges them to push the little bit more they need to complete the challenge. The visible end goal is the driver is this gamification technique.

    Progress indicators in practice: LinkedIn uses a progress indicator for its users’ profiles. Called “Profile Strength”, the circle fills up in levels with the colour blue, from bottom to top, the more information you enter on your profile. Each level has a different name such as “All-Star”, motivating you to be more active in order to see more progress.


Useful tips for gamifying your digital marketing strategy


  1. Track and analyse the actions that your customers are performing on your site or on social media,  what they are responding to and design your gamification marketing strategy accordingly.

  2. Observe user behaviour in games and turn it into a strategy - the ultimate aim is not just to create a game but to use game techniques that are deeply entwined with your brand’s end goal. Use the drivers that motivate customer engagement in games (for example, the urge to do better), in order to draw customers to your site, engage them on social media and create brand experiences.

  3. The opportunity for your customers to rise in status amongst their peers is a particularly powerful tool for driving engagement and brand loyalty long term - use it to your advantage. For example, digital reward programs (whether site-based or app-based) that offer users status above their peers, perhaps with a visible VIP login for exclusive perks.

  4. Choose your rewards wisely - for example, offer VIP access to your resources or digital events - you don’t want customers to participate just to win cash prizes and gadgets, you want them to engage with your company and be part of your brand journey.

  5. Integrate social media into your gamification strategy - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram especially are all great platforms to execute a strategy or even simply promote it.

Gamification in marketing could be a complicated minefield - however, with a simple, straightforward strategy that takes user behaviour into consideration, you can improve brand engagement and take your marketing strategy to the next level.

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