As more and more mobile apps take over the market, it is becoming increasingly difficult for app developers to stand out from their competitors. Today, people, especially millennials and Generation Z, tend to get bored easily. Therefore, only something exciting and challenging will keep them engaged.
Therefore, these apps must offer users something exciting and challenging to keep them constantly engaged, and mobile app gamification is one of the most effective ways to keep users engaged.
You may not notice it, but you can find examples of gamification in everyday life or professional life (like recruiting), not just in mobile apps. For example, teachers can reward students with stickers. Some stores can give their customers a certain number of stickers based on the amount they spend, so that they can later exchange those stickers for promotional products. Some supermarket checks can be entered into contests with prizes. This is how gamification works in real life.
Today, a growing number of mobile apps also aim to gamify the lives of their users. Fitness apps turn a boring jog into a race against an army of zombies. Productivity apps send us scrambling to complete to-do lists. Financial apps even make paying bills fun.
Brief of app gamification
Gamification is the practice of implementing game elements into your mobile apps. It can be used to keep users engaged and focused on their goals, while optimizing key KPIs such as retention, sessions, churn, return on ad spend (ROAS) and improving the overall user experience.
Gamified app design uses basic psychology to keep users engaged. App gamification ensure that users are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment, motivating them to return to the app and enjoy using it for longer periods of time. This provides you with a competitive advantage and enables you to achieve your growth goals.
Implementing gamification elements in your mobile apps does not require you to redesign your entire product. You can develop and include your app's gamification design as an add-on feature.
Click "Learn More
" to drive your apps & games business with ASO
World app promotion
Why is gamification an effective strategy for mobile apps?
There are four main advantages to gamifying your mobile app.
Generate natural installs: Implementing gamification elements will increase the stickiness of your app. Creating a more satisfying user experience will also encourage your users to share your app with their friends and generate natural installs. For example, a fitness app with gamification elements may also provide users with the opportunity to share their achievements on social media. This user-generated content is a smart way to increase brand awareness and give users the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with friends and family.
Motivate and increase your retention rates: Gamified apps are designed to motivate users to stay engaged for longer. This can have a huge impact on your retention rates and reduce churn.
Unleash user creativity: By gamifying elements of your mobile app, you can unleash your users' creativity to produce a more exciting and enjoyable experience.
Make the onboarding process fun for users: Onboarding must be enjoyable to avoid high churn rates. It is also important to provide users with all the information they need to use your mobile app. By providing a more engaging way to engage your users, your users can make the most of your app over time, while having fun with the education process.
Gamification is a powerful approach when it comes to engaging users. The best part? You don't have to spend a lot of money to implement these strategies. Rewards, digital badges, contests and in-app tasks can keep users interested and drive regular app usage without a large budget.
How do you gamify an app?
To implement gamification in your app, you need to start with design elements and then continue with the gamification workflow. Design elements are typically as follows:
Whether you implement a point system or reward users with in-app badges, including a progress display is a smart way to keep users engaged and motivated. For educational apps, this could be tracking the time they spend studying and tracking their performance on quizzes. For fitness apps, the user's progress display might include run times, calorie counts, and the number of workouts completed per week.
You can retain users by rewarding them for their in-app activities. Incentivizing users to perform certain actions through tangible rewards can increase session length and retention rates - creating a win-win situation for both you and your users. The type of rewards you may want to offer your users depends on the nature of your app. For example, if you have a fitness app, you could partner with a relevant brand to offer active users discounts on exercise products and healthy foods. This is a great way to motivate users while showing your appreciation for their brand loyalty.
In addition to point-based systems that help motivate users, you can also add an element of competition through user leaderboards. Depending on the nature of your product, this could be a customer-wide leaderboard or a leaderboard that specifically displays the achievements of your users' friends and family. This creates the opportunity for users to get on the leaderboard while also providing a social element to your mobile app.
You can reward users with in-app badges that are visible on their profiles after they complete specific tasks and milestones. This is a smart way to identify your users' achievements and provide them with exclusive rewards for their activities. Badges can also motivate users toward more ambitious goals. You can take it to the next level by offering exclusive content and tools to users with specific badges.
Taking inspiration from mobile games to improve your app can also help optimize user acquisition efforts. These elements give users more reasons to return to your app and provide them with the opportunity to share your mobile app with their networks. However, a successful mobile app gamification strategy is more than just design and development. Its main goal is to attract and retain more users, and this is how it is achieved.
Keep in mind the problems that need to be solved through gamification. For example, the app is not getting the required level of conversions. We recommend that you not only implement gameplay elements, but also align these elements with your company's goals:
- Incorporate social elements. The most distinctive feature of gamification is its ability to bring a group of people together in a collaborative and social format. Gamification apps should be designed in a way that encourages and rewards social networking.
- Keep it all simple. Gamification is about fun and simplicity so that users intuitively understand where they are currently at and what they should do next. Your task is to guide the user through each step smoothly and transparently.
- Develop reward systems that are easy to use. Instead of promising a big reward at the end of the game, break it down into smaller chunks and offer small rewards upon completion of each chunk.
The key to successful gamification is a deep understanding of your users' motivations. Find out what's important to your users by asking questions or tracking data; then use gamification to enhance or improve the features and functionality your users care about.
Give your users what they want, but better.
Examples of app gamification done right
This productivity game app is designed to help people develop new habits in the form of fun and exciting tasks. The app uses RPG game mechanics - for example, players can create characters, join guilds and defeat monsters. The gamification features here are as follows:
- Internal currency/rewards. For each completed quest, the user receives different rewards: XP, HP and gold.
- Competitions. Players can compete against each other in challenges.
- Learning. After users complete a task, they can learn new concepts.
Want to beat your Facebook addiction? Forest's gamification approach can help you get back on your feet and reconnect with the people who matter most.
The concept is that when you intend to focus your attention, you open the app and plant a seed. That seed has the potential to grow into a tree. However, it will only grow when you are not using your phone to browse content such as social media.
As long as you stay focused, the tree grows. Lose focus and the tree dies. Accumulate all the moments of focus and turn them into a forest.
To further motivate you through more focused moments, you can unlock more than 30 tree species as well as other rewards.
In addition, in partnership with Trees.org, the developers of the app have committed to planting actual trees in several countries in Africa.
Todoist is a productivity app that helps users keep track of everything from major work projects to simple household chores. The app uses gamification to prompt users to complete their tasks by awarding them karma points for each task they complete - as well as negative karma for missing deadlines.
As users collect more karma, they unlock new levels, from "Beginner" to "Enlightened". They can immediately share their karma scores with friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Recognition is the best motivator. Social sharing creates healthy competition with friends and colleagues, motivates users to complete their tasks (increasing their use of the app), and creates awareness for the brand.
Nike Run Club
Nike Run Club encourages users to complete challenges through community engagement and achievements. Users select a challenge and track their progress with friends and other members. They can also link the app to social media to compare and compete with people from around the world.
This game not only increases Nike's customer loyalty, but also helps increase the productivity of its R&D and digital marketing departments.
The Zombies Run app is a different kind of health app. It will interrupt your music or radio with a newscast about the zombie epidemic. You are the last human left, so if you want to survive, you need to run! The app will provide you with triggers to run faster or collect supplies along the way.
Zombies Run makes running fun with gamification! With over 200 different missions and award-winning stories, you'll always find motivation to get your workout on. With over 1 million users, the app is the largest smartphone fitness game ever created.
Starbucks has been using a gamified rewards program for years, allowing customers to collect points that can be redeemed for "free" food and beverages. The rewards program takes the sting out of expensive lattes and ensures that customers return to Starbucks time and time again.
Like Starbucks, you want your users to be engaged and return to your product often. To do this, you need to
- Give them a variety of fun tasks to complete.
- Implement a simple reward system (and make sure the rewards are available).
- Offer occasional bonuses to engage customers with variable rewards.
Tinder is a dating app that is extremely engaging for one simple reason: unpredictability. Tinder works by showing you a profile that you can swipe left or right depending on whether you want to meet the person or not.
The app basically has all the data needed to match you to the perfect profile, but it doesn't do that.
Tinder will show you random matches to keep you engaged. It is the unpredictability of variable rewards that keeps people in an endless cycle of swipes similar to slot machines. Admit it, if people knew that every swipe would be a great match, it wouldn't be so much fun!
Calm is a meditation app designed to help develop habits that promote relaxation. Users can activate notifications that send them daily meditation reminders.
For each meditation session they complete, users will find themselves receiving positive reinforcement. For example, when users complete multiple sessions in a row, the app recognizes that they are in a continuous state and rewards them with a friendly shout and star. Simple rewards like these usually just encourage users to adopt new habits.