Gamified Marketing blog

Game mechanics in marketing campaigns to boost customer engagement: examples to learn from

Introduction

According to NPD Group, the gaming industry is worth over $173 billion globally. By 2027, the industry is predicted to grow to at least $314 billion. This trajectory means that consumers expect to see more interactive and entertaining experiences. Brands are picking up on this by incorporating game mechanics into their marketing campaigns.

 

But how can the world of video games blend into customer-brand interactions? Read on to learn from the companies that are successfully experimenting with gamified marketing strategies. 

What is gamified marketing?

Put simply, gamified marketing makes brand-customer interactions more game-like. This process is used by many businesses as a marketing tool because it encourages more user engagement. Gamification is already a key part of many loyalty programs as it helps retain customers and attract new ones. If you want to understand how gamification works in the world of loyalty, check out our dedicated article: Loyalty Gamification: examples to learn from. 

CREATIVE GAMIFIED MARKETING CAMPAIGNS AND EXAMPLES TO LEARN FROM

 

INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCES

Netflix released a memorable example of human-machine interaction in the Black Mirror episode Bandersnatch. The episode allows viewers to interact with a story by choosing between different options in various scenes. Each option that is chosen by the audience results in a slightly different narrative, essentially making viewers the creators of the story.

Bandersnatch Black Mirror Episode
Netflix and Black Mirror's interactive series episode

 

This interactive experience builds upon the principles of personalization. Most customers today are living in a hyper-personalized world, leading them to expect shopping and entertainment experiences to be fine-tuned to their preferences. Bandersnatch uses personalization by allowing audiences to decide how they want the content to unfold, resulting in an individualized experience. 

 

The episode’s popularity proved that audiences want to engage with video content in an interactive way; according to Netflix, the film had more than 45 million views during its first week of release. Bandersnatch was also widely shared on social media, with viewers keen to discuss the various different outcomes of the story. With high user engagement, Bandersnatch ultimately served as a gamified marketing campaign to hook viewers into the rest of the Black Mirror series and into Netflix’s platform as a whole. The media giant has hinted at creating more interactive game-like experiences in the future, hoping to appeal to a wider audience who don’t just want to consume content, but want to play a part in creating it. 

 

 

IN-GAME RETAIL MARKETING EXPERIENCES

 

In China, Nike marketed their running shoes via an interactive activity that gamified the experience of trying on shoes in-store. Aware of the fact that shopping for running shoes is often a dry and uninteresting process, Nike installed “Reactland” in stores to market the product release in a more exciting way. Players created avatars of themselves wearing the shoes and ran on a treadmill through fantastical lands that highlighted different selling points of the shoe. Afterwards, players received a short video clip of them running through “Reactland” to share on social media channels.  According to W+K, 48% of players bought the shoes after engaging with the game. 

Nike Reactland Gamified Marketing
Nike's Reactland gaming experience

Nike’s Reactland showed how retail shopping and video games can be fused together to create a fun buying experience. The campaign also cleverly ensures that users share their gamified experiences on social media, creating further brand and product awareness. Making experiences sharable is another key trend within game mechanics and marketing.

 

GAMIFIED MARKETING STRATEGIES AND SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Using game mechanics in marketing makes it more likely that audiences will share experiences via social media. It’s essentially a form of referral marketing, where customers create brand awareness by talking with family and friends. Brands are also using social media to take advantage of emerging trends. A recent example of this is the trending game Wordle, a web-based word game with high shareability and marketing potential. 

 

The game gives users 6 attempts to guess a random five-letter word, providing clues on the correct letters and placements with each submission. Wordle releases the same word each day, so players can ‘compete’ with eachother to guess the right answer in the least amount of tries. The game grew from just 90 users in 2021 to over 2m in 2022. After it’s success, Wordle was sold to New York Times, who has added it to their subscription-based platform of games. Whilst Wordle is currently free, there is speculation that NY Times will create a subscription version, to offer unlimited access to loyal fans. This move would follow a rise in subscription-based offerings, which appeal to customers who are willing to pay more for a better experience. To find out more about subscription models and customer loyalty, read our dedicated article here. 

 

The obsession with Wordle has since been adopted as a social media marketing tool by many brands. Marketers are finding creative ways to capitalize on peak engagement by integrating the game into their brand marketing. This helps them appeal to a wider audience who are already likely to be aware of and engaged in Wordle…

Ikea Wordle
Ikea uses trending game Wordle as part of their social media marketing
Lego Wordle marketing
Lego uses Wordle trend as part of their marketing campaign
Guinness Wordle marketing
Guinness jumped on the Wordle Marketing trend with this clever graphic

 

Integrating game trends into marketing strategies is a creative way for brands to increase their awareness with minimal effort. 

 

 

GAME MECHANICS AND ESPORTS

 

Peloton

 

In 2022, Peloton began its journey into gamified experiences with its launch of “Lanebreak”, a rhythm-based workout game that includes score points and leaderboards. The game uses the Peloton bike as an avatar ‘controller’ with virtual tracks displayed on a screen. Riders must move between the tracks, with each one including different challenges, resistance levels, and skills. 

Peloton Game mechanics
Peloton's Lanebreak game

 

Choosing to integrate cycling ‘games’ into their product offering has allowed Peloton to create more customer engagement. The cycling games also serve as a marketing tool that allows the brand to advertise to a whole new audience – people who might not be keen cyclists but do enjoy playing video games and competing. 

Conclusion

Introducing game mechanics into marketing strategies is a great way for brands to become more memorable and keep customers entertained. Whether you’re integrating interactive games into your product, or simply taking part in game-themed social media trends, gamified marketing strategies are proving to increase customer engagement and reach. 

 

Marketers can learn from the above examples of game mechanics, personalized interactivity, and social media trends to understand how to make their brand stand out. As we move towards a future that becomes more interactive and innovative, understanding engagement by demographics is key to designing marketing campaigns for maximum impact. 

 

Our software gives you detailed insights into individual customers. You can use our powerful segmentation tools to understand your different audiences and target them with specific, engaging marketing campaigns. Get in touch to learn more about how our platform can be used with gamification and marketing tools to acquire, retain and engage customers. 

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Helen Walker

Helen Walker

Creative & Content Marketing Executive

Helen is our Creative & Content Marketing Executive. She shares valuable information about the Future of Loyalty and will keep you up to date on the latest industry insights...

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