Gamification is not a new kid on the block, and now, in 2021, more and more gamification apps are available to add fun elements to your daily chores.
Whether you want to gamify health & wellbeing, fitness, productivity, education, or finance control — well there’s an app for that.
The features & benefits of using the element of play and competition are without any doubt proven to be very effective.
In this post, we’ll cover the gamification basics, and you will find the most comprehensive list of well-known gamification apps.
So keep reading!
What is Gamification?
“Gamification is the implementation of game principles in non-game settings.” Simply put, apply game elements to everyday activities.
At its core, gamification is designed to motivate, engage, and inspire.
Whether it be to:
- Lose weight
- Be productive
You may not realize it, but gamification is happening in almost everyone’s daily life already, for example, via loyalty cards, collecting frequent flyer miles, or your smartwatch buzzing when you hit 10K steps.
Offering rewards triggers connections in our brain that feel good, making us want more rewards, subsequently driving us to keep going.
According to gamification expert Yu-kai Chou, “games have no other purpose than to please the individual playing them.”
Where Can You Use Gamification?
Gamification is multi-purposely applicable. Using game elements in non-game apps can be used in just about any field.
Let’s name a few:
- Education — Expand student engagement and motivation.
- Health & Fitness — Accomplish commitment to targeted goals like losing weight or eating healthier.
- B2C — Upselling, customer engagement, interaction, and increase general customer satisfaction.
- Business — Boost employee motivation and productivity, enhance team building.
- Finance — Connect your bank account, track your expenses, save money for specific goals.
- Productivity — Rewards for tasks you need to complete during your workday.
When keeping in mind that games drive human behavior, then implementing gamification in your business, website, or app is worth digging into.
Benefits of Gamification
Remember chasing the well-done gold stars in elementary school? Remember how you couldn’t stop playing Super Mario Bros?
Collect stickers and badges, earn points, jump levels, top the leaderboard — it has all been around for decades already.
Hitting goals is exhilarating, and even more so when there are awards to gain. It improves engagement and productivity.
Gamification in corporate training can also help businesses to train employees and connect teams who work remotely. It builds excitement and drives excellence when individuals are collectively working towards goals with the help of game elements.
In education, game-based learning enhances your learning experience, simply making it more fun. Turn something generally boring into a game, and your motivation goes up.
It’s commonly known that people learn from what they do, not from what they read.
Getting real-time feedback is another great advantage. Gamify your health journey, for example, and you will get instant daily feedback on your progress. Tracking was never easier!
[Editor’s Note: Check out our list of gamification techniques to jazz up your corporate training!]
The effective use of various play elements can make or break app gamification.
These are some of the most used features:
- Progress bar — Us humans thrive by the idea of reaching new levels. Embedded in our energetic system are competition and the need for recognition. Seeing a progress bar fill up can make our day. Or life.
- Points / Stars / Badges — These have real significance when awarded for your hard work. They are a huge motivator.
- Levels — Ever played a video game? Then you know why climbing any ladder is a hit in gamification apps.
- Rewards — Getting rewarded for your efforts is one of the best feel-good features.
- Leaderboards — Don’t we all want to rank No. 1? Leaderboards earn their success from the human desire to classify as “best player.”
- Quizzes — Not only are they fun, but proven to be effective in testing students’ knowledge.
What to Look For in a Gamification App
It depends a little on the goal, but above all, a gamification app needs to be motivating and engaging. It’s most effective when designed in a way that you just feel the need to keep using it.
Here are a few other factors that will contribute to the experience:
- Regular updates and newly added elements of play — Ongoing repetition can become boring.
- Personalized challenges — Anything that revolves around you enhances your experience. It’s likelier you will stay engaged when the game is adapted to your personal preferences.
- Rewards for bite-sized goals — Frustration is not the way forward, so hurrah’s for your small victory steps are welcome.
- Easy to understand — Who needs complications in their life?
- Social sharing options — Share your wins online and allow your following to celebrate with you. It could even inspire some!
Popular Gamification Apps
Let’s look at a few of the most popular gamification apps, in alphabetical order:
1. Agile CRM
Agile CRM is an app that gamifies the sales process to increase collaboration, lead conversion, and revenue generation. Sales can benefit not only from competition but also from collaboration. Agile CRM’s gamification software encourages both.
- Gamify Sales – Comparisons of individual rep performance.
- Encourage Collaboration
- Custom leaderboard
If you’re ready to make pledges towards your goals, Beeminder is a good pick. Lose weight, daily push-ups, time spent on FB, number of steps on Fitbit; it tracks anything a user can put a number to.
Commit, and you never pay anything. However, derail from the yellow brick road and cross the red line: ka-ching! Beeminder will collect your pledge from your credit card.
- Daily buzzes to enter your data
- Connect a device for automated reports
3. Bounty Tasker
Would you like to increase the effectiveness of your To-Do list? Then check out gamified productivity app Bounty Tasker and gamify your never-ending To-Do list. It targets to maximize your productivity and stay engaged in any task.
Note: for now, Bounty Tasker is available for iOS only.
- Choose and customize your character
- Notifications on your phone
- Defeat wild monsters
- Unlock new characters
- Personalized taskboard
Byju’s is an Indian educational app that aims to make learning fun by using creative teaching methods, such as a birthday cake to teach circles. The app uses gamification (challenge each other and compete with each other) to motivate its students to work harder for better results.
- Play games, quizzes, and competitions
- Earn reward points
5. Codecademy Go
Codecademy Go is the gamified app to support your Codecademy learning experience. It allows you to review your learning on the go quickly.
- Review coding concepts daily
- Daily flashcards
Widely considered the No. 1 gamification example to learn a new language, Duolingo effectively uses gamification to encourage users to keep coming back. You can earn virtual coins and unlock new levels to maximize your performance.
- Encouraging sound effects
- Earn gems
- Streak rewards
- Earn hearts as a form of ‘lives.’
- Bonuses one can earn for in-app purchases
EpicWin is something to check out if you want to turn your daily routine into an adventure. The app tackles daunting daily tasks like vacuuming or ironing and children’s homework, for example. It does so in video game style, completing tasks and battles while advancing through the program.
- Earn encouragements points
- Reminders for overdue events
- Sound effects
- Customize your character
“Healthism” is an actual thing these days, and Fitbit is one of the leading activity trackers. This fitness app uses gamification to stay motivated on your healthy journey. Track your workouts, nutrition, meditation, and sleep, to name but a few. It lets you connect with friends and start various challenges.
- Daily and weekly dashboards and reports
- Badges and trophies for notable achievements
- Milestone celebrations
- All-day stats
Fitocracy is a fitness progress app that uses a leveling system to raise the bar higher and higher. Much like video games, points awarded will bring you to higher levels each time you finish a workout. Battle your couch slouching habit and start working out in a role-playing game.
- Fitocracy community
- Earn points
- Unlock achievements
- Beat quests
- Slay the laziness dragon
If you’re in for some (much needed?) time away from your phone and improve your daily productivity, Forest is the app to check out. Gamify yourself out of the smartphone addiction cycle, create new habits and do something good for yourself and the world.
- Every 25 mins away from your phone, you’ll grow a tree
- Commitment means growing a forest
- Your tree may die (oh no!)
- Multiplayer options for more user engagement
Goibibo is an Indian travel site, and its app uses gamification to capitalize on the Indian Premier League. Using the app, every time the Mumbai Indians cricket team plays, one can earn GoCash, which can be used to book travels on Goibibo. A win-win for both!
- Earn virtual cash to spend on travel
When you’re all for conquering little monsters (i.e., your daily habits) to improve your everyday life, check out Habitica. It gamifies your life into a role-playing game. Slip up your life, and your virtual character will relapse.
- Build your avatar
- Take on quests
- Defeat monsters
- In-game rewards and punishments
In the field of customer relationships, Influitive’s gamification app AdvocateHub is allowing customers to engage with the brands they love. They help companies mobilize their advocates and invite them to complete challenges, make referrals, do product reviews, post on social media, etc.
- Friendly competition
- Rewards and recognition
- Interactive challenges
- Earn points
- Connect with peers
14. Khan Academy
A well-known e-learning platform is Khan Academy. They introduced some elements of learning gamification into their programs to make them more fun and addictive. Navigate through a visual constellation via quick problem solving and streaks of correct answers.
- Earn experience points
- Earn badges
- Complete progress bars
- Personalized avatar
Where most companies gradually integrate gamification, LevelEleven started as a sales gamification app to pump up behavior leading to more sales and increased customer retention.
- Personalized scorecards
- Create contests
- Custom incentives
- Productivity triggers
- Employee recognition
16. Mango Health
Remembering to take your medication can be challenging. Mango Health is taking the forget-stress off your plate! The app uses gamification to make your daily intake an easy and rewarding routine.
- Points for taking your medicine correctly
- Rewards to monetize
- Daily health dairy
- Medicine refill alerts
Wisely managing your money is a life task in itself. Whittle down your credit cards, monitor your cash flow, budget like a pro, or save up for your dream holiday; a little help is always welcome. The Mint app is your money buddy.
- Personalized insights
- Progress bars
- Visual cues
Having diabetes sucks. But there is a way to make it suck less, which is the goal of the diabetes management app MySugr. It’s a free diabetes logbook where you can manage your insulin intake, take control of your diabetes and stay in charge of your health. Like the Tamagochi, diabetes is a little monster that needs continued minding.
- Personalized dashboard
- Blood sugar level graphs
- Insulin calculator
- Daily, weekly, monthly reports
19. Productivity Challenge Timer
Calling all chronic procrastinators; if you like (and need) the Pomodori technique to stay on track, the Productivity Challenge Timer app might be your go-to. Its sole purpose is to make you work harder, prompting you to keep going and going. Pausing your work is not an option, so one is forced to push forward.
- Background Ticking
- Tracking your projects
- No pause button
Have you ever heard of a Scavenger Hunt? It’s a game where the organizer prepares a list with specific items to gather or complete, and players (individuals or teams) compete to see who collects the most items. Scavify is the self-called world’s leading Scavenger Hunt app that turns any event into a fun adventure.
- Earn points
- Automatic scoring
- Track progress
- Real-time leaderboards
- Social Media sharing
- Custom rewards
21. Smarty Pig
Gamification for personal finance, that’s what Smarty Pig is all about. See it as an online piggy bank, and whether you want to save for a holiday, a new car, or a wedding, the Smarty Pig app makes budgeting and saving a fun thing to do.
- Automated money withdrawal
- Fill your progress bar (savings account)
- Set various finance objectives
Want to make buying a coffee more fun? Then this is your chance! The Starbucks app uses gamification to pump up loyalty via an engaging platform. Starbucks runs a very effective rewards program designed to push people to keep coming back through incentivizing purchases and personalized try-a-new-product recommendations.
- Customize your order
- Collect Gold stars for free food goodies
- Progress bar
Real-world challenges, don’t we all have them at times. SuperBetter is an app for mental health & wellbeing and uses gamification to help people navigate through life. Focusing on four kinds of strength (physical/mental/emotional/social), SuperBetter uses gameplay to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Create quests
- Conquer bad guys
- Future boosts
- Epic wins
If to-do lists, task overviews, and reminders are what you need in your life, checking out Todoist (2020 Editor’s Choice) must be on your to-do list. It’s a productivity app to organize tasks, remember deadlines, collaborate on projects, track your progress, build habits, and prioritize your tasks.
- Karma points for every finished task
- Negative karma for missing deadlines
- Unlock new levels
- Productivity/improvement charts
Ever tried to buy anything on Woot? Their clever sales strategy builds on product scarcity and curiosity, which are two things that can make people go nuts, often leaving them desperate to miss out.
- Bonus experience points
- Funny and ironic brand voice
Go On and Gamify Your Life!
We all want to have better health, be fitter, save more money, be more productive, make studying easier, finish our to-do list, and just be our best selves.
Making it all more fun can be the life hack you need, and gamification embedded in your favorite apps will only increase over the coming years.
The human brain can’t sit still. It needs to be active, needs to learn, to evolve. And preferably in a fun way.