30 Successful Real-World Gamification Examples
What can the best selection of gamification examples do to help you level up your marketing and get your customers hooked on your brand?
Competition is stiff out there. Everyone seems to be doing the same things. And those same things aren’t working as well as they used to.
That’s where gamification comes in. Make something fun, and more people will want to do it — even if the fun is their only reason.
Let’s dive in.
What is Gamification?
Gamification is what it sounds like — taking something that is typically not a game and adding game elements and mechanics to make it more engaging.
The goal here is to get more people to participate, interact with the brand, and take actions that achieve specific marketing objectives.
Successful Gamification Examples
Some of the examples listed here have fulfilled their purpose and paved the way for new advances. Others are still around, developing as they go.
You’re about to learn what the most innovative brands have done to build brand loyalty faster than ever.
Accor Hotels uses gamification for its Accor Live Limitless (ALL) loyalty program, awarding badges and points their members can redeem for discounts on future hotel stays.
The program encourages users to register check-ins using the app available on the program’s Facebook page — giving them six months from the date of arrival to record their stay and earn badges.
Made for teachers and students, Alleyoop used game dynamics to turn dry math lessons into addictive mathematical challenges.
Alleyoop served as one of the best gamification examples in education — using videos and thousands of exercises to help learners overcome their fear of math and make measurable progress with an individualized learning plan.
3. BBVA Game
Headquartered in Spain with a global presence, BBVA uses gamification to promote the use of online banking. Users perform actions on the bank’s website to earn points and prizes.
The goal is to familiarize customers with online banking and lighten foot traffic in physical branches. So far, this virtual banking game has attracted more than 100,000 players worldwide.
4. Beat the GMAT
One MBA student’s inspiration led to Beat the GMAT — a social network that uses gamification to motivate MBA students to achieve their academic and professional goals. Users earn points and badges for the tasks they complete.
The network’s forum also makes it easy for members to connect with other students and learn what they need to “beat the GMAT.”
Users build a streak and earn achievement badges and crowns as they progress through levels and reach higher leagues on the scoreboard. Competition and maintaining an impressive streak are two key motivators.
Why just buy when you can bid on something and possibly win it at a lower price? eBay uses gamification to get buyers emotionally invested in “winning” the items they want.
Buyers and sellers both earn rewards and recognition for prompt payment, fast shipping, and earning positive feedback scores. It’s all about risk, engagement, and rewards.
This service gained a following by rewarding participants with points based on the intensity of their Twitter activity and interaction. The goal was to build an active virtual community and help members make the most of Twitter.
Headspace is another popular app that uses gamification to boost engagement, using the power of game elements to help users build a meditation habit.
Users complete their first meditation within three minutes of opening the app (accomplishment), and the social aspect helps them feel supported and encouraged to continue. Keeping a streak going is another potent motivator.
9. Jillian Michaels Fitness Program
Jillian Michaels Fitness App is a great example of using gamification to help users reach their fitness goals. The app awards badges of achievement to reward users and to visually represent their progress.
Seeing how far they’ve come with their customized plan, sharing their progress with others, and responding to new challenges keeps users motivated to continue.
10. Karl Lagerfeld
SMACK used game elements combined with a nod to 80s and 90s nostalgia to create an addictive Pac-Man-like game with competition and rewards. Players who enter their details (i.e., email subscribers) are eligible for prize drawings.
22% of players redeemed their reward vouchers within a store, boosting sales figures by 106%. In fact, the game worked so well, they had to stop the campaign early to avoid running out of their shrimp-based options.
In a nod to the popular “I Spy” book series, M&M’s created the Eye Spy Pretzel game to boost interaction with their brand and engage customers by challenging them to find the pretzel hidden within an image full of M&M’s.
The simple, addictive game went viral, earning 25,000 new likes on Facebook and around 6,000 shares.
Memrise is another successful example of game-based learning. As with Duolingo, users can earn points and badges as they progress through levels, building a streak and competing on the game’s leaderboard. Memrise mixes science and community with game elements (fun) to get users addicted to learning languages.
14. Molton Brown
Users who entered their email addresses could win prizes. Both games incorporated branding alignment, seasonal marketing, email list-building, and interactivity, increasing website traffic and in-store purchases.
15. Nike+ Run Club
The Nike+ Run Club app describes itself as the “perfect running partner.” It gives athletes an online community and the ability to track their progress, earn trophies and badges, and celebrate their wins.
With user progress and social support comes a stronger dependence on and loyalty to the app that both inspires and tracks their progress.
Nike FuelBand is a wearable example of gamification for athletes. When it worked as intended, the wristband tracked the user’s biometrics and their progress toward fitness goals, rewarding small wins with encouraging messages and making it easy for users to share their achievements.
While it was discontinued, FuelBand paved the way for newer fitness wearables like Apple Watch.
17. Nissan Carwings
Designed for owners of the Nissan LEAF, the Nissan Carwings app lets users communicate remotely with their vehicles to manage its unique features — like finding nearby charging stations and adjusting the climate controls.
The gamification comes in with the user’s ability to compare their driving performance to others and to earn bronze, silver, or gold rankings.
The user takes on the role of a leader who must make decisions to overcome difficulties and survive natural hazards. As they gain leadership points and consume energy points, gamers develop highly sought-after leadership skills.
19. Progress Wars
Your main objective with Progress Wars is to fill your progress bar faster than the competition (i.e., your friends, family, or coworkers).
Since competition is a strong motivator for many, this gamification tool can help keep users motivated to complete tasks as efficiently as possible — and more efficiently than anyone else on the team.
20. Seeds of Dreams
A natural beauty brand, L’Occitane en Provence, created a game to teach customers about sustainability and green living. Users choose one of three seeds to plant. They take care of the seed by giving it water and sun and clicking on its face to show it some love. The more you engage, the more rewards you can earn.
21. Simple Energy
The main goal of the Simple Energy tool is to get people motivated to save energy. To that end, it uses game elements like fun challenges and leaderboards to motivate users to compete with each other on energy savings.
As they compete, users come to a better understanding of their energy consumption so they can learn to do better.
Instead of a punch card, Starbucks uses a rewards program that keeps track of purchases and rewards users with loyalty points that accumulate until there’s enough for a free product.
Over the past couple of years, program membership has gone up more than 25%, and Starbucks has seen a revenue increase of $2.65 billion.
23. Stride Rite
At Stride Rite outlets, kids were invited to try on shoes and dance in front of a screen to earn points. Those who earned the best scores earned coupons.
It worked because it motivated kids to try on shoes and rewarded them for accepting a challenge and participating in a dance competition (i.e., having fun).
24. The League of Clinical Cases
Answering participants scored points until they reached a final phase culminating in an awards ceremony. The winning teams were awarded prizes. The ceremony also recognized the best clinical case and the individual winner.
25. The Samsung Nation
The Samsung Nation represents the company’s efforts to motivate its users to interact and learn from each other. The program enables users to watch video clips and discuss issues.
The most active participants earn badges as they progress through different levels. It worked because people love to share their opinions. And tech-savvy customers are usually happy to learn useful hacks.
26. The Speed Camera Lottery
The National Society for Road Safety in Stockholm and Volkswagen developed a radar system that used gamification to enforce speed limits.
The system rewarded drivers who respected the limits by adding them to a lottery with a prize raised by speeding fines. It worked well in the Swedish capital, reducing the average speed from 32 to 25 km/hour.
27. The US Army
Given the popularity of army-centered games, “Call of Duty” and “Medal of Honor,” it makes sense that the U.S. Army would integrate similar game elements in their websites to boost traffic and attract more recruits.
Proving Grounds is a first-person military RPG that allows users to play the role of U.S. Army personnel.
Todoist is more than a to-do list app. Sure, it makes it easy to add lists and check off items as you complete them.
But it goes a step further by awarding karma points for each completed task — and negative karma for each missed deadline. The user’s mission, then, is to maintain a positive karma balance.
29. Under Armour
Under Armour created an elimination-style trivia app with questions focused on the Bay Area, Stephen Curry’s rookie season, epic playoff performances, sneakers, etc.
Users who answered all eight multiple-choice questions won prizes, and a lucky few were entered into a special raffle. Possible prizes included playoff tickets, the “Curry 5” signature shoe, and Under Armour gear.
30. Windows 7 Language Quality Game
Windows 7 Language Quality Game (LQG), a corporate training tool created by Microsoft, used a gamification strategy to incentivize employees to correct linguistic errors in the Windows 7 system. Since offices that found the most mistakes (competition) could earn rewards, more employees became involved in the project, making Windows 7 documentation more accessible to users worldwide.
Which Gamification Examples Inspire You Most?
Now that you’ve looked through our list of successful real-world gamification examples, which ones sparked your imagination?
You’ve heard the whole “all work and no play” bit.
There’s a reason gamification works: fun and healthy competition drive people — and sales — to your brand.
Which gamification example will supercharge your next marketing campaign?