4 Gamification Strategies Brands Are Using to Drive Consumer Engagement and Loyalty

Updated on
May 3, 2024

by Caitlin McCrary

Brands, right now more than ever, are eager to reach out and connect with their audiences and are willing to experiment with different marketing channels in order to do so. One strategy brands are turning to is gamification. With the increased need for consumer entertainment during these times, brands are able to leverage gamification marketing strategies to solve for this connection, providing consumers with an interactive experience to keep them engaged. 

Gamficiation has been incorporated into many well-known brands' marketing strategies,  such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Domino’s Pizza, and shows no signs of slowing down. According to Komo Digital, “In 2012, the worldwide gamification industry was valued at $242 million. In 2020, that number is expected to reach a whopping $11.1 billion globally.” 

We’re  sharing four gamification marketing strategies below and how brands successfully implemented each. 

1. Shoppable AR: Immerse the Consumer

Augmented reality continually allows brands to engage consumers in unique and immersive experiences, including bringing real-life shopping experiences to digital platforms. Snapchat is one platform that has shown the power of augmented reality and social media to drive both awareness and conversions, all while providing users with an engaging experience. Snapchat’s AR experience favors wells among app users as over 75% of Snapchat users engage with AR tools every day on average, and that number has been increasing since March.

Domino’s Pizza partnered with SnapChat to run a campaign that turned its pizza boxes, and the pizzas that go inside them, into an augmented reality experience. Snapchat users could interact with the Domino’s Pizza AR lens and then tap a button to request a delivery without ever leaving the Snapchat app. Domino’s has continued to grow in the augmented reality world by releasing a new AR experience on their mobile app. Consumers within Domino’s mobile app can build and preview a pizza, with animations appearing when certain virtual toppings are added. Domino’s will then make the pizza in real life,  paying attention to ingredient proportions to ensure customers are receiving a pizza that looks the same as the one they created in the mobile app. 

Other brands that have partnered with Snapchat on shoppable augmented reality  campaigns include Clairol, which let users virtually try on a new hair color in AR before directing them to their website for purchase, and Adidas, that let mobile users virtually try on a newly released running shoe. 

2. Incentivized Campaigns: Increase Brand Recall

Incentivized gamification campaigns are a great way for brands to increase awareness and generate profit. These types of campaigns also tend to increase user recall as consumers are actively participating so they are internalizing your brand’s message versus passively scrolling past a boosted ad on Facebook. 

The brand Kiddylicious Wafers, finger food snacks for babies, designed an in-app Facebook game to encourage data capture through providing incentives to their target audience. The brand designed a Candy Crush-style game, popular among moms, called Wafer Wipeout that lived on the Kiddylicious Facebook page for two weeks. Consumers were challenged to smash through rows and columns of Wafer packs and ingredients to win instant prizes such as snack boxes and 50% off  vouchers. The campaign performed exceptionally well generating over 180,000 direct engagements, 5.3 new Facebook fans and achieved their data capture goal by 4x. 

3. Reward Programs: Build Loyalty

Have you ever really thought about how many loyalty programs you belong to? I bet the number is much higher than what you originally thought! Every aspect of a loyalty program is created to keep consumers coming back to earn more points and thus spend more money with that brand.

One brand that has executed this gamification technique extremely well is Starbucks through their ‘Starbucks Rewards Program’. The rewards program provides a number of perks for mobile app users, who earn stars for every dollar spent at Starbucks. Benefits that can be redeemed with a certain amount of stars include free in-store refills, special member offers/events, and more. 

‘Starbucks has reported an increased revenue of $2.65 billion, attributing their rewards program for most of the increase. Over the last two years, membership has grown more than 25%, loyal customers use Starbucks’ membership program (16 million members) for about 40% of sales at the company’s US stores.’ Source

4. Create Friendly Competition: Grow Your Community

Nike is an example of a brand that used gamification to not only build a sense of community among their audience, but to also dominate the running shoe market, edging out their top competitors, through the development of their fitness app, Nike+.  Through the app, users can track their running distance, speed and time as well as monitor their progress over time. Users can also challenge their friends and other Nike+ users to see who can run the fastest, furthest distance, etc. And since the Nike+ app is fitness-platform agnostic, it breaks down the barrier of not being able to compete against friends on different platforms. The Nike+ app incorporates leaderboards where top runners profiles are directly displayed for bragging rights. Users can also export their data to their other apps (calorie counting apps) and publish their information to social media accounts as well. 

From 2007 to 2013, Nike+ memberships grew from 500,000 to 11,000,000. The Nike+ app used gamification to develop a community of individuals who enjoy running and a sense of friendly competition to encourage others to live healthy lifestyles. 

Incorporating the right gamification marketing strategy for your brand can drive massive awareness and engagement among your target audience. Consumers develop a stronger emotional connection with a brand they are actively engaging with, instead of just passively consuming. It also helps your brand create a positive feedback loop since you are encouraging consumers to take a desired action and then rewarding them for it. Gamification can be used to achieve your campaign goals no matter how small or large your brand is!

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