Gamification: Top 6 Hottest Trends

Hello everyone. First of all, I’d like to ask you a question. No, friends, just don’t worry about such an intense introduction of this post 🙂 A question is as simple as it’s single 🙂

Imagine you are given a choice about your new email campaign. You can send either a regular promo or a message with the same content but represented as an interactive email with elements of the game. What would you choose to send to your clients?

I guess you will choose the second option, just like me? Well, quite a reasonable decision. Firstly, if we check the news of eCommerce, we are probably aware that email gamification is one of the hottest trends, and its popularity is not going to decrease. So the current post is about trends in trends, well… ))

Secondly, I think you agree that we should add some diversity and surprising solutions to our campaigns. Not too often, of course, enough to make it from time to time. But it’s essential. Even with the most attractive and stylish content, we are risking losing scores of performance when those things are repeated with no changes. Having this in mind, we have to implement the newest trends and solutions, including gamification.

And one more reason is the financial factor. Apart from bringing fun into campaigns, gamification can boost ROI up to 300%. Sounds compelling, right?

But there is one strange fact…

If gamification is such a great solution to win clients’ hearts and gain high incomes, why we don’t see lots of gamified emails in our inbox folders? Odd but true. Even controversial: we call gamification a trend while this innovative practice is not so widespread and used widely…

We have provided a small survey and found out the reason. The matter is that many people who are involved in email marketing are still afraid of gamification. They consider such emails too expensive, time- and effort-consuming. Some businessmen even think that a professional coder, or even a team, must design a game to embed in the campaign.

Well, today, it’s already a sort of outdated information. It’s easy enough to implement gamification today. No sophisticated techniques, tools, or coder skills are required anymore. We can create games in the modern HTML template builders. Just choose the prebuilt template you need, then fill it with your content and work on the design a bit.

So it’s worth giving games a try?

The answer is — sure! Now we know that mission is possible. Of course, we won’t create too complex video games like Call of Duty or Far Cry 🙂 But we didn't have such a goal anyway. But simple yet attractive mini-games are compelling. They grab attention; they create anticipation and brand virality. Clients’ engagement grows incredibly. So ignoring gamification is like leaving significant money on the table. 

We don’t want to lose? Then, let’s discover the most intelligent solutions in email gamification.

But first of all, something to recap.

Or to learn if you didn’t dive deeper into the gamification. Before examining the trends, I’d like to pay attention to gamification rules in emails. They are essential because following these rules are determine the success of the game we arrange. 

Gamification In Email Marketing

Here they are:

  • Set clear goals. The outcome participants are working for must be engaging, clear, and achievable.
  • Offer something in reward. Well, sometimes people join the game just for fun. Such a success indeed requires a genuine approach to everything, from gameplay to design. An appealing design and gameplay process. But it’s a much better solution when people are fighting for some award. It may be a discount, premium tariff, ticket, bonus internet traffic, etc.
  • Add a manual. Or, at least, basic rules are expressed transparently. Any game must explain in detail what participants should do to win.
  • Keep users informed. Players need to see their game progress. Especially when you send not a single email, but your game is arranged as email series. In this case, share the correct answers in the following emails.
  • Choose the appropriate time. As I said above, it’s a bad idea to overuse the embedded games in emails. It’s better to use these tricks in campaigns dedicated to holidays. But not before Black Friday or Cyber Monday! In these seasons, people are looking for discounts here-and-now, without waste of time! If you still want to gamify such newsletters, add only the fastest games like the wheel of fortune to take the prize immediately.
  • Fallback is critical. Primarily when we use actual game elements, AMP blocks in particular. The simplest way is to add the link to the browser version of your game. Another practice is to design the game CTA as a thematic GIF or picture. Readers click it and navigate to your landing page with the game.

In some posts, their authors mention more rules to implement this fun-bringing trend. Such as adding mascots or characters to games.

We should also mention some criteria of successful gamification from the businesses’ point of view. Here they are:

  • Development expenses. It’s a pretty complex aspect of gamification. Everything depends on the metrics we choose to evaluate the implementation costs. We should also measure in money terms how many hours our developer’s team spend on crafting a specific game, for instance. Or the further cost-effectiveness according to reusability. Considering the multiple factors of game development and further implementation, including the long-term perspectives, it’s not an easy task to answer the question, “will this amazing game be recoupable?” 
  • Time frames of implementation. The sooner everything is done, the better. Fortunately, ready-made mechanics and blocks provide us with all the required elements to design the game. Marketers/business people need only replace the default content and work a bit with the visual elements. And the game is ready to play.
  • Measurability. Game starters should track, measure in complex numbers, and then analyse the results of gamified emailings.
  • Independence. It’s undoubtedly good when coders and programmers can assist you when you create the game, choose the proper solution and write a code of some sophisticated game mechanics. However, it’s much better when email marketers without special skills can craft a gamified email on their own. By the way, it makes gamification cheaper. Moreover, this approach makes the game reusable for many campaigns.
  • Scalability. The game mechanics should be easily reusable for various industries and businesses. It means that adding respective content elements is enough to build a brand new game for any purpose.

Now it’s time to explore some of the best game mechanics. Some of them are AMP-based; others are not. 

Immediate award games

The first practice we see is immediate reward right after participants click the CTA item. Simple yet performing solution.

We are going further. The second one is a wheel of fortune, another practice widespread enough. It fits the cases like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. As we said above, there’s no reason to distract people in the days of big sales. But with the momentary challenges, everything is OK.

The following sample is our favourite campaign from BBC. Notice that their team doesn’t even add any gifts, real or virtual. Instead of that, the BBC team gives you interesting information for all those interested in wildlife. This information is an announcement of the forthcoming program. In this manner, they boost anticipation among subscribers.

Or look at this one. Seriously, Tom Raffield puzzles us all with this campaign. What does this question mean, “Guess where we’re going”? The most exciting point about this gamified email is that no AMP or other super innovative game mechanics are used here. Technically speaking, it’s just a good old image rollover. Recipients have to move a pointer over the pics to open valuable hints.

Quizzes and tests

Test and quizzes are engaging for all those who like to participate and win various challenges. But don’t arrange them just for the show. Create these games keeping relevance in mind: quizzes or tests should be related to your current concept and actual offers. Only in this case it will lead recipients deeper into the marketing funnel. Yes, our mission is not only entertainment. 

These ways of gamification are suitable to collect clients’ data as well. In any case, every challenge must be on time.

As we already mentioned, tests and quizzes should include a clear manual. Let participants know how to play. Also, avoid questions with a deep knowledge level. Make them easy, fun, and entertaining, just like HubSpot did.

Interactive cards

The interactive card is a solution that you may apply in different situations. How to draw users’ attention? Invite them to play the game where they can build something own from the available fragments. In the sample below, the technique is used to choose the best outfit from the other wears. Suitable for the fashion industry, isn’t it?

Hard to believe, but the next one is based on the same mechanics. Labyrinths are catchy but straightforward mini-games. Turn all the fragments in the correct positions, and your character will reach the destination point. 

Or this delicious one for the food industry. Attractive and helpful: choose the ingredients for the offer in a gamified way. And see what a tasty pizza or cake will be on your table in an hour or two 😉

Finally, we can choose this practice just to express our friendliness and warmest wishes. What is unique about this kind of gamification? Rewards are not essential here. Our kindness and attractive design are much more critical, just like in this Christmas email campaign started by the 1973 brand.

Predictions

This one is unusual, yet it is worth attention and new interpretations. Sent out in the early days of 2020 by the email above editor Stripo, this campaign was planned as a new way to promote the new set of ready-to-go seasonal templates.

They asked subscribers to “predict” their future by clicking the element they like most of all 🙂 Simple and quite kinky… But this campaign was successful and highly discussed in email marketing communities. 

Puzzles

Another widespread way of gamification able to hook people up flawlessly. Yeah, your recipients will play these mini-games, either for an award or just for fun. How to arrange the puzzle? Easy 🙂 

Just slice the photos into parts, then add the required number of AMP image carousels to your template. Upload the slices of your images in a random order to each row. And then disable the preview mode. Ready! Ask readers to match image fragments in the correct order.

…and other solutions 😉

Of course, gamification solutions are far not limited by the examples above. Everything depends on your creativity… and technical skills, of course. Again, we can find prebuilt solutions on the web. It makes email marketers’ life more manageable.

For instance, take a look at this game dedicated to Father's Day. A mouse-controlled shooting game where everything is on a deep level that reminds me of 80s video games. 

How is it done? Everything in the game is processed with an amp-bind component: character position, points, targets, reaction to button clicks. To visualise the moves and effects, CSS positioning and CSS animation are used. To change the game screen and results, the AMP carousel is applied. Also, amp-list simplifies data editing and restarting the game.

Final words

This compilation is far from any kind of user guide. Maybe you may offer more solutions? If so, feel free to write to us and share your unique experience. What is essential anyway is that good gamification requires a deep data-driven approach and constant researches of your users’ tastes and needs. You need to know what can attract your client’s attention and apply the potential of creativity.

The best way is to try its effectiveness… Right, practically. Do experiments and analyse every slightest detail. We’re sure you will win this big game!

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Gamification Trends
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