Ultimate Guide to Implement In-app Gamification in 2023 (With Examples)

Amreeta Joseph

October 14, 2022

The mobile app industry is not the same as a decade ago. It is booming at the moment. As of the second quarter of 2022, 3.5 million Google Play and 2.1 million Apple App Store apps were available. And this number is increasing every second. 

That means your new mobile app might not get the attraction you are hoping for unless you give your users something different. Something like in-app gamification. 

Apps that use gamification can boost customer engagement, retention, customer LTV and more. Mobile app gamification can help to stimulate users' experience. Many studies show that games are useful for capturing attention for a longer period. 

So, gamifying your mobile app can give you leverage over other apps. Plus, it makes it easy to retain and engage users to visit the app frequently. 

Cool, right? 

This guide to gamification will unveil all the gamification elements you need to deploy a custom gamification strategy in 2023. So, let’s start the ride. 

What is In-app Gamification?

In-app gamification means applying game-like elements in a non-gaming niche to amplify user engagement and retention. It is a way to enhance the mobile app user experience. 

Gamification techniques are not just about making an app entertaining. Instead, it is a part of UX designing that includes gamification elements seamlessly in the non-gaming app’s interface. 

The best gamification app is one that doesn't look like a game at all. Gamification apps must make game elements a part of the user experience. 

Therefore, gamification is popular in industries like education, healthcare, corporate training, etc. 

Evolution of Gamification

Gamification is not a new marketing technique. In fact, the whistle of modern gamification was first heard in 1896. The brand S&H Green Stamps first sold stamps to retailers who gave them as a reward to loyal customers. 

That was just a small whisper of gamification. That became a roar in 2002. 

Nick Pelling, a computer programmer, coined the Gamification term in the context of user experience. He started the conversation around how marketers can use gamification to engage users. 

Later in 2005, Rajat Paharia founded Bunchball, a platform to increase website engagement through various gamification elements. 

It took another three years to give a proper structure to gamification. In 2007, Kevan Davis launched Chore Wars, a website that rewards doing chores by turning it into a game. 

By 2010, Nathan Lands coined the term “Gamify” in the context of applying game-like elements to non-gaming niches. 

Talking about the present, are looking for low-code engines and solutions to add multiple gaming elements to their apps. To support the demand, CustomerGlu like platforms have developed plugins to embed gamification in apps with minimal technical knowledge. 

Benefits of Gamification in Mobile Apps

Everyone loves games. Thus, there are around 3.24 billion gamers in the world. However, mobile app gamification is more than just targeting the masses. The benefits of gamification in mobile apps go way deeper, like: 

Reform the customer experience 

Digital transformation has helped companies understand their core customer base. Customers can better express themselves to the companies through multiple digital channels and touchpoints. 

Gamification is another great venue to drive customer loyalty and experience. For example, American Airlines launched a Passport Challenge in 2014 to excite customers to make their merger with US Airways successful. 

Using Facebook, they created a virtual passport with dashboards, trivia games, and more. As a result, American Airlines earned an ROI of over 500% from the program.

Retain customers

The gamification gives your users a chance to re-engage with your app. In addition, it has the power to keep users engaged in your app for a longer period. 

You can motivate users to visit your app by offering new gaming challenges daily. Moreover, all game components keep users active on your app. 

The gamification strategy has helped micro-investing company Acorns to achieve a 99% monthly retention rate. And they are now on track to double their subscribers by 2025. 

Reduce churn-out rate

Gamification experience can prevent users from abandoning your mobile apps. This is because it not only keeps users engaged with your app. But it also motivates them to take action. 

Many studies show that competition increases physiological and psychological activation. It prepares the user’s body and mind to increase efforts and boost performance.

Using leaderboards and progress bars, you can stimulate competition among your users. When a user sees other people's achievements on your portal, it motivates them to do better. Eventually, this competitive strike can reduce the churn-out rate on the app. 

Personalized experience

Personalization is an important part of today’s customer experience. According to a report, 70% of consumers want a personalized experience from brands. 

Therefore, as a new mobile app developer, you must offer several personalized elements to retain and engage your potential customers. Gamification can allow you to include various personalized user experience layers in your app.

For example, based on the user's interaction with your mobile app, you can create custom levels, missions, rewards, and other elements to impress every user with personalized gamification.

Make it entertaining

Educational brands often use gamification techniques to make learning fun for students. For example, Gamification in edutech motivates students to learn new skills with intensive competitions and rewards. 

Not just educational apps. But financial and fitness apps can also make complex concepts and hard work fun with games. 

For example, CRED is an online credit card payment application. It uses gamification elements like rewards and a progress bar to make paying a credit card bill a fun task.

CRED Gamification
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Track user behavior

Gamification is an excellent user analytics tracker. You can better understand your users and gather insightful information about them through gamification elements. 

For example, by monitoring users' behavior and tracking their achievements, you can understand what they like about your product and services. In addition, you can understand what type of achievements your customers prefer and the problems they face on your app.

All this information can help you personalize your mobile application and websites to attract more customers. You can generate better user insights with games than any other user behavior analytics software.

Improve social presence 

Strong social presence is vital and significant today. Your brand image, reputation, and awareness are all linked to social media engagement. 

Gamification with social integration can enable you to effortlessly promote your brand on social media. Winners can share their achievements or collaborate with friends to play in-app games. 

Candy Crush is the perfect example of games and social media integration. This game allows players to share achievements with their Facebook friends, request extra lives from them, and more. 

How to Gamify an App?

In-app gamification is a multi-layer strategy. You can gamify your mobile app based on your app niche and targeted audience. 

Here are the main elements to gamify your mobile app:

Gamification elements
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1. Rewards

Rewards are a popular gamification feature. 

Your rewards can be tangible, such as money. They can also be virtual rewards, such as currency that users can use to purchase virtual goods or apply to in-app purchases. 

2. Competition

Nothing beats some friendly competition. 

Users who thrive on competition will enjoy challenges as an app gamification strategy. 

Users competing against one another often motivates them to work harder. 

3. Levels

We like to see ourselves rising. While it may appear absurd, it is a natural part of human nature. 

Users will face challenges at each level, keeping them engaged and entertained on your app.

4. Storyline

Humans love stories, so incorporating one into your app is another way to boost user engagement. 

A storyline appeals to the user's emotions, increasing their interest in the app. 

The plot can be as straightforward or complex as you want it to be. 

5. Mini-games

If your app lets you include mini-games that improve the user experience. 

Flashcards are a perfect example. Correctly answering a set number of flashcards could advance the user to a new level or allow them to compete against themselves.

6. Progress bars

Nothing is more frustrating than starting a project and not knowing how far you've come or how far you still have to go before completion. 

A progress chart will show users how far they are in your program and how much further it takes before reaching the finish line. 

Your progress chart can show overall app usage or individual levels of use. 

7. Badges

Badges may appear silly, but they can be a powerful motivator. 

Badges provide users with a sense of accomplishment as they earn them.

They also serve as social proof, indicating to others how far a user has progressed. 

And, assuming that badges are visible to users on the app, with the list of badge holders growing, it gives users a sense of community.

8. Invite your friends

Allowing users to invite friends to your app is a wise decision. Social interaction motivates users to spread the word about your app and fosters a sense of community, which benefits the user experience. 

9. Quizzes

Quizzes are an enjoyable way for users to remember and apply what they've learned. They don't have to be exceptionally long. A simple three-question quiz is enough. 

10. Leaderboards 

A leaderboard is an excellent tool for tapping into a user's competitiveness. 

A leaderboard is a list that ranks players based on specific criteria, such as the number of points earned or the amount of time spent using the app. 

The appearance of the leaderboard on the screen encourages players to compete against one another.

How to Implement In-app Gamification in 2023?

The next important topic in this ultimate guide to gamification is how to implement in-app gamification. To drive maximum value from your gamified app, correct implementation is critical.

You can follow these points to implement in-app gamification in 2022:

Define your goals

Why are you gamifying your mobile app? Do you want to improve user engagement and retention? Do you wish to improve the time users spend on your app? Or do you have some other business goal in mind?

You need to explain and document your in-app gamification goals in-depth. This helps you to target the correct gamification elements to achieve your goals. 

For example, if your goal is to increase app visits, you can introduce a new gaming challenge daily, like spin the wheel or quizzes. 

Understand your targeted audience 

Gamification is a powerful marketing strategy. But, it doesn't work for everyone. 

It depends on your targeted audience behavior whether gamification will work for you. For instance, 77% of millennials and 81% of gen z consumers play online games

If your target audience is young, gamification is the best way to engage them with your mobile app. However, games might not be the best way to engage your users if you're targeting the older generation. 

Therefore, before investing in this strategy, you must understand your target audience.

Personalize gamification 

Don’t just add gaming elements to your app because you find them attractive. Every gaming element has a specific reason and object. 

With the right gaming components, you can create a personalized user experience to retain your existing users and attract new ones. 

But, the main question here is to understand what your audience wants. Now, not everyone is driven by competition. Some people get an adrenaline rush from rewards rather than competition. 

So, you need to dig deeper into your audience persona to determine what type of gamification experience they are looking for. 

Keep it simple 

Simplicity is always the best way to attract users. If your gamified app is too complicated, users might not visit it again. It will drop your engagement rate and increase your bounce rate.

Now, it is not easy to create simple gamification strategies. However, there are so many interesting gaming elements available that you might feel like a kid in the candy store. 

You might want to add all the exciting features to your app and make it more engaging. But, folks, don’t do that!

Adding too many gaming elements can complicate the user experience. So, in the beginning, stick with two or three gaming elements, and gradually, you can add more features based on your audience's reaction.

Don't forget the fun

Gamification is all about fun. The main purpose of gamified apps is to make non-gaming applications fun and entertaining. 

For example, financial investment is not at all a fun topic. But, when you add gaming elements to a financial app, you can make it simpler and more entertaining for your audience. And we all know entertainment is the best strategy to retain users. 

Encourage social sharing

Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. This can expose your brand to a new audience base. 

Creating a social sharing system in your app allows users to share rewards and badges on their social networks. This can promote your app and make it more enjoyable. 

Important Gamification Metrics to Must Monitor 

Don’t rest after adding gamification to your app. Your real work starts afterward. 

You must monitor engagement and retention metrics to determine whether your gamification experience was successful. Metrics also help you see which gamification elements worked with your goals. 

There are many app performance metrics available to track your app’s growth. But the vital ones are:

Active Users Day (DAU). This is the number of unique users who used your app in the last 24 hours. 

Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU). During a specific period, an estimated single paying user is generated. For example, a person may pay for services, subscriptions, in-app purchases, etc. 

IAP Conversion Rate. It denotes the proportion of users who have made an in-app purchase within your free app. For example, if 100 people have downloaded your free app but only five have made in-app purchases, your IAP conversion rate will be 5%. 

Customer Lifetime Value. It is the estimated revenue that a customer will generate while using your mobile app.

App Load Speed. It is the amount of time an app takes before users interact. The longer wait time is bad for the user experience. 

Retention Rate. The number of users that return to the app after a significant period. 

Churn Rate. It is also known as the attribution rate. This is the percentage of users interacting with an app during a certain period and leaving it. 

Cost per Action. It is the cost that you spend to acquire a new user. 

Monthly Active Users. It is similar to DAU which tells the total number of active users over a month. 

Top Gamification Examples (Across Industries)

Gamification examples are seen everywhere today. In addition, many non-gaming apps use gamification to create an attractive user interface. 

Here are the top industry-wise gamification examples that can inspire you to design your mobile app: 

Gamification in ECommerce Apps

Gamification in eCommerce is often used to create an engaging, social and exclusive shopping experience. Today, many retail apps use gamification to collect customer insights and boost sales with personalized deals. 

One of the early contenders for gamification in eCommerce is eBay. The brand has created a seamless gamification experience where shoppers feel they won a thing, not purchased. 

eBay gamification
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eBay also uses stars, feedback scores, and competitions to keep shoppers active on the platform. 

Gamification in Entertainment Apps

The whole purpose of in-app gamification is to entertain people. Thus, the entertainment sector is exploring various gamification options to attract customers. 

Sutradhar is the best example here. It is a visual storytelling platform trying to refresh ancient Indian tales. But, the app struggles to retain customers due to intensive competition in the industry. 

Thus, Sutradhar uses gamification to improve customer LTV. In an interview with the CustomerGlu team, Sutradhar's CEO said that they plan to use quizzes and spin-the-wheel-type activities to engage viewers with stories.

Sutradhar gamification
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Gamification in Education Apps

Quizzes, rewards, and daily challenges are the best gamification elements for educational apps. These elements help to improve the learning experience and entertain students. 

Duolingo is a language learning app with several gamification features to engage users. The app uses social interaction, competitiveness, badges, points, and more. 

Duolingo gamification
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Gamification in Productivity Apps

Gamified productivity apps can help users track their daily progress and achieve all set goals. These apps remind you about the important tasks that people often postpone. 

Todoist is the perfect productivity gamification app example. The app helps you complete minor as well as major work projects. 

Todoist gamification
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The app has a point-based reward system to motivate users to complete tasks. There are also levels and social engagement to keep users productive.

Gamification in FinTech Apps

Financial technology apps are also leveraging gamification. It helps them to explain complicated processes to users with ease. Also, gamified apps are useful for tracking financial profiles and encourage users to save more. 

For example, Monefy helps users to manage their money easily. The app’s UX design motivates users to track daily expenses. The gamified elements also help to find expenditure patterns and control them to meet monthly saving goals. 

Monefy gamification
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Trends In-app Gamification to Watchout for in 2023

In-app gamification has allowed mobile app developers to go crazy with their imagination and develop attractive interfaces. Moreover, developers combine gamification elements with other technologies to create something out of the box. 

There are many in-app gamification trends about to break the leg in 2023. Here look at these trends:

Gamified Digital Events

During the pandemic peak, it was getting harder for brands to keep their employees and customers engaged in virtual events. Thus, people have started using gamification components like polls, quizzes, or surveys to make virtual events interesting. This trend gets such a good response that it’s now being reformed to a new level. 

Gamified Treatments

The number of healthcare apps is increasing rapidly. Therefore, developers are using gamification to send medication reminders, record patient history, and make medical information more digestible for patients. 

Customizable Content 

Gamification allows users to receive customizable content relevant to their interests. Many apps are working to create a content repository for users to build their own content using repetition algorithms. 

Do You Want To Gamify Your App? 

This guide to gamification in mobile apps must have opened your eyes. You can now clearly see how in-app gamification can gain a competitive edge for your app. 

Gamification has everything that you ever need to engage and retain your customers. It helps you achieve your business goals and keep your app on the top charts of the App Stores. 

But, creating a gamified app is a technical and time-consuming task. You need to plan your app UX, select gamification elements, and write tons of codes. 

Sounds like a tough thing? 

Well, no need to worry about it! CustomerGlu brings a low-code gamified platform to build gamified apps with ease. The portal is simple to use and perfect for non-technical users. 

We offer several gamification features like referrals, badges, points, levels, and more. You can retain and engage your mobile app users easily with CustomerGlu support. 

To know more about our platform, get in touch with us today.