The Best Way to Build Engagement with Gamification | Yotpo

Last updated on September 5, 2023

Image Credit: Roy Rachamim
Aimee Millwood
Director of Content at Yotpo
January 19th, 2015 | 6 minutes read

Gamification is a terrific strategy for eCommerce stores, but it’s not magic fairy dust you can sprinkle out at whim to watch customer loyalty skyrocket.

Table Of Contents

Today’s consumers have such thinly spread attention spans that gamification techniques need to be valuable to their everyday lives to keep them committed over time. In order to achieve continued positive effects from gamification, you must understand how to drive engagement with gamification the right way.

The difference between short and long-term gamification strategies

Gamification techniques each have their own strengths for achieving specific objectives. Some are used to jump start a relationship between customers and brands, while others give meaningful rewards to users so they stay committed. Initially, the rewards or fun of the game reels consumers in and gets them to play.

However, over time, the extrinsic rewards are often not enough to sustain consumer motivation. For example, while reward programs and urgency-based deals are immensely beneficial for short-term boosts in sales, they require more comprehensive strategies for giving rewards to turn shoppers into repeat customers and loyal buyers.

The key to developing a long-term gamification strategy is learning how to build inherent motivation, so even after the thrill of the reward or playing the game has dulled, players are still driven to play. How do you do that?

Personalize experience through individualized experiences

Generic gamification isn’t the path to long-term loyalty, but any campaign can easily be adjusted to be more targeted and personalized. Take a look at Coca-Cola.

While they are one of the most global brands in the world, they have managed to personalize game experiences by targeting specific markets with campaigns that are valuable and practical to the way they live. Rather than creating generic global campaigns, they localize. Although the campaigns themselves are short-term, they have a visible long-term goal: increasing consumers’ personal experience with Coca-Cola.

A prime example of their personalization techniques can be seen with their interactive vending machine campaigns, which took a single idea and personalized it across different regions to appeal to specific cultural preferences.

In Japan, where avatars are popular, scannable QR codes on the machines allowed customers to create a virtual avatar identity. In addition to recognizing customers when they returned to their favorite machine, customers would be rewarded with points for every visit that they could use to earn further personalization features to create an avatar that was uniquely theirs.

The same idea – interactive vending machines – looked very different in South Korea, where they used a vending machine campaign that challenged buyers to dance for free Coke. Coca-Cola’s vending machines may have been regionally specific, but they were wildly successful at spreading their cohesively global message: buying Coca-Cola makes you happy.

When it comes to your gamification, consider how you can leverage personalization to create connection with your audience. What makes them tick? What do they love? What are their hobbies? Look at your audience’s lifestyle to create campaigns that will really motivate them to continue participating.

Additionally, personalizing shows your customers you listen to them, which increases brand association and image in the long run. You want to make gamification fun and genuinely enjoyable for your customers – not every customer.

Build real engagement that aligns with your brand story

Games are effective for building a loyal and engaged brand community when you cater to your communities’ natural wants and needs. Nike took a closer look at what value meant to their consumers and what would motivate them. Gamification seems an ideal strategy for a brand catered to fitness, sports, and game lovers.

However, Nike knew that simply adding a game to their site or offering a rewards program wouldn’t fit the Nike customer mentality. Instead, Nike needed to think about how a gaming strategy could really interact with the customers’ lives in a meaningful way.

Nike considered that their customer base was largely motivated by social competition and achieving personal fitness goals. So, they released a campaign for their Nike Fuelband to motivate users to achieve their own personal fitness goals while participating in a competitive community.

The Nike Fuelband is a wearable technology that measures movement and converts it into Fuel points. When using it with the Nike Fuel program, users can measure or share their achievement with other users and connect with social communities to push themselves towards their personal goals.

By creating a game that added true value to their customers’ lives, Nike was successful in strategizing for lasting engagement. In your own campaign, consider how your game can make their lives easier. Longlasting value builds longlasting engagement.

Use rewards that tie into brand message

Rebranding is a time when looking to the long-term matters. In this case, brands need to consider how to make an impact that their message is changing so consumers will view them in a different light.

For example, when Perrier wanted to appeal to a younger crowd, they re-branded the drink as a party beverage. But how could they make sparkling water sexy and spread the word? They launched an interactive live-your-own adventure game to back up their rebrand.

The game was personalized and required real effort to get to the value: tickets to an awesome concert. Perrier successfully tied in a reward that was cohesive with their game and the new brand image they wanted to spread.

Whether you are trying to drive publicity for a rebrand or simply better cement your brand image in consumers’ minds, make sure that your game strategy is unified from start to finish. In addition to building value and personalizing, ask yourself how each part of the game will back up your brand.

If you find inconsistencies, your consumers will too, and your game will be much less successful at hooking users.

Boost participation after sign-up

A great way to integrate gamification for long-term benefits is by incentivizing customers to get more involved from the get go. The cloud-storage supplier Dropbox uses gamification to boost engagement so first-time sign-ups become long-term users.

They wanted users to engage with the platform after registering, so they offered an incentive of extra storage for every step users completed.

LinkedIn has a similar concept where they encourage users to further complete their profiles – which makes the LinkedIn experience better for users – by offering incentives for adding information.

Too commonly, users sign up but stop engaging with a product or brand because they don’t see the full benefits. Reduce the amount of users who join and fail to reap the benefits of all your features by adding gamification right after sign-up.

Encourage users with coupons or rewards for returning to your site and sharing about your products to boost their participation for writing reviews and sharing them on social media to boost long-term.


It’s important to identify your goals before delving into a gamification campaign so you know how to design for success and measurable results. By looking at these top examples of how big brands leveraged gamification, you can design methods that work to achieve your objectives. What experience have you had with gamification working for you in long-term strategies?