How to Increase User Engagement with Mobile App Gamification?

January 13, 2022

By George Bentley

Technical Writer

As mobile applications have become an integral part of our lives, the number of apps is growing with every passing day. With such increased competition, businesses are finding it difficult to acquire and keep customers. Where a lot of companies spend money on ensuring a perfect design, others focus on the features and functionality of their apps. Among this tug of war, some companies came up with the idea of gamifying mobile apps for better user engagement and retention. What is gamification though?

Gamification is the process of borrowing some exciting elements from games and making them a part of your app. These elements add a pinch of excitement and challenge to the dull and boring user journey for the app. These elements can include anything from badges, levels, rank, scoreboards to points, and much more. It has gained a lot of importance in a few years and believe it or not, it has made the lives of marketing and strategist teams easier than ever.

As the user keeps using the app, these gamification elements keep rewarding him to keep him connected and stay for longer. With gamification, it becomes easy for people to stay connected with the applications and not get bored of them soon. It has helped reduce the churn rate of customers and ensured that the app is shared more and more. There are multiple ways to use this feature of gamification to increase customers’ interest and gain more profit. This article will discuss all the major benefits of gamification and how it can be incorporated into normal apps.

Gamification

Gamification in Mobile Applications

With around 6 billion mobile apps in the world, including Apple, Android, Hybrid, and others, it is harder than ever to introduce an app that is entirely new. You can come up with hundreds of app ideas and find them already implemented by someone else. In case you have cracked a way to make users download your app and use it, what will you do to ensure that they do not switch you with someone else? An easy answer to this question is by introducing gamification in your mobile app.

Mobile phone users are no less than kids who want to be entertained with something new or interesting all the time. An application does not only have to solve a problem but keep the user motivated as well. If your mobile app is just helping them learn a new language, it will become difficult for them to stay motivated. Even if you give them an option to set a reminder, they can end up feeling forced to learn and will probably uninstall your app as well.

On the other hand, imagine if you introduce some elements of gaming in your mobile app. Every time a user finishes a lesson, you reward him with points that are shown on his profile and on a dashboard. This will make the user feel appreciated and he will get his motivation to keep learning and stay connected with your app. It might not look like a huge thing for the developers to add to an app but it has been observed that it does wonders for the users.

Examples of Mobile App Gamification

The majority of the applications we use today have gamification elements in one way or another. However, we have gotten so used to gamification that we rarely point them out. If you try to go down memory lane, you would surely see apps using rewarding systems, giving challenges, allowing you to set difficulty levels, or including similar elements. Here are some of the ways gamification is used in apps:

  • Learning has become more difficult than before as users want the apps to keep them entertained while teaching. Duolingo, a famous language app, figured out that gamification can help them catch and retain users. The app has a scoreboard, reward points system, badges, and social interaction for learners to motivate learners.
  • Many people find it tough to stay organized and keep track of their activities. There are dozens of to-do list apps for such people, but the way Todoist has catered to the needs of users, no other app has managed to do so. It has an amazing point-based system for rewards giving positive and negative karma points for every task completed and left uncompleted respectively. The users are transferred to different levels on unlocking certain points. Social engagement helps users in sharing their points across various platforms.
  • Fitbit, a fitness app with a gadget, has helped many users stay fit with the help of gamification. The app suggests certain activities and on completion, the users get rewarded with a badge. It allows the user to explore a new city with the challenge of workout and staying fit. Moreover, the user can share his success in terms of badges or challenge completion on his social media as well.
  • For people who struggle with saving money, Smarty Pig has introduced gamification in their app. It starts by allowing the user to set a goal for saving and every time you send money to your saving account, it rewards you by adding some money from its end. Plus, visual representation of the success encourages users to keep saving.

These are just a few of the ways gamification has been made a part of our apps and daily lives. It benefits users in multiple ways and makes it easy for the companies to drop their churn rate and increase the number of customers.

Why Use Gamification for Your App?

Do you know that gamification is termed as the most powerful tool to acquire, include, and retain a good customer base? According to research done by a famous technology company, gamification can increase customer engagement and satisfaction by one-third.

Another research found that after gamification of apps, online commenting rose by 13%, social media sharing increased by 22%, and content discovery was improved by 68%. The majority of the app development experts have accepted gamification with open arms and see it as the future of the industry. Here are some reasons for you to think about gamifying your app:

Happy Customers

It is important for companies to keep their customers happy and engaged. Since a lot of users lose interest in mobile apps after one or two uses, development companies fail to retain the customers. Gamifying an app gives users an exciting experience where they are challenged and rewarded. This keeps the users engaged and satisfied so they don’t even think about uninstalling your app.

Positive Reviews

Happy users are like advertisement agencies working for you free of cost. They tend to drop good reviews about your app on your profile. Your app receives a more positive rating making it one of the highly-rated apps on the application store.

Less Marketing Needs

Companies have to spend a lot of money to keep their app well presented in the market. With the pique in interest due to gamification, your users would always be downloading, using and recommending your app making it more active in their social circle. You will have more people knowing about your app without spending money.

Lead in Search Results

Positive reviews and a good number of downloads per day will push your app in the top searches. Your app will always pop up whenever someone will search for an app meant for the same purpose. Moreover, it will start ranking better giving more people that initial push they need to download the app.

Reach to Target Market

With all of the benefits mentioned above, another benefit that follows along is the easy reach to the target audience. Gamification increases the positive outlook of your app encouraging potential users to download the app and convert to regular users. You will spend money just once while gamifying your app and can reap benefits for a longer period of time.

Make Your App More Engaging with Gamification

It is fun to know that you can make your app more engaging through gamification and that your customers will love it. It must be making you happy knowing that you can increase your profit by adding the element of gamification in your app. Is it as easy as it seems and sounds? Well, honestly, it is not that easy. You need to understand your target audience, study their preferences and design a gamification strategy that can engage them. Without such a strategy, you will be doing a lot of effort and pouring in money for nothing. Here are some ways to gain benefit from gamification:

Choose the Emotional Connection

Pick any gamification element, you will find one thing common, that is its connection with human emotions. You must understand your users and judge their aims and goals. Once you have figured out their motive behind downloading and using your app, choose one emotion to trigger with the gamification strategy. Here are the most common emotions that are connected with the triggers:

  • Empowerment
  • Accomplishment
  • Goal Achievement
  • Unpredictability

You can choose any of these famous emotions and start building your gamification element around it.

Select a Game Mechanism

The next step is to find a perfect gaming mechanism to connect the finalized emotion with. An emotion either starts the process or is the end result while the game mechanism always fuels the emotion. The market is full of apps that experiment with various gaming mechanisms. If you want to play safe, here are some mechanisms for you to choose from:

  • Challenge levels
  • Milestone unlocks
  • Point-based rewards
  • Achievements
  • Progress bars
  • Winner dashboard
  • Social feed

Define the User Journey

After you have selected emotion and a game mechanism, you need to make a user story or user journey around it. Imagine the whole process and define internal and external triggers. The external trigger is one that shows up and guides the user in a certain direction while the internal trigger is connected with the urge to perform an action. Also, describe the action you desire from the user and have the whole element built.

Gamification Reward

The Future of Gamification

Almost every second new mobile app is released with some gamification element attached to it. Even the old apps are being converted by adding gamification to them. Who can blame companies for going crazy after it given the way it keeps the users interested in the app? It is evident that gamification has emerged as a powerful tool for companies to make their app more engaging for the current users. It has even paved new ways for companies to reach out to potential customers.

Since a lot of companies have already started accepting gamification, it is clear that it is here to stay for a long time. It is expected that in the future no app will be released without gamification. Have you ever thought about its benefits and drawbacks? If you have not, we have gathered details for you.

As for the benefits of this process, we know that it keeps the customers interested and satisfied with the app. This makes them give a happy verdict to their close circle making more people download the app and increasing revenue. Moreover, happy clients provide positive feedback and rating on application stores, which helps the app rank better and reach out to more potential users. The company does not have to do a lot of marketing or branding for the app to become successful as well.

The drawbacks of gamification include making the app complex enough for the user to understand. Gamification is a tough process where the developer has to consider multiple factors ensuring the app does not get too difficult to understand because of gamification. Sadly, a lot of companies make that mistake and end up losing money and users.

Also, companies associate unrealistic expectations with the app after gamification leading to unrealistic goals and zero satisfaction. This disturbs the company goals as well. Lastly, a lot of developers struggle to incorporate gamification in the app hence, the whole design gets affected in a negative way.

Get Yourself the Right App Development Partner

Gamification, when done right, it can bring a lot of benefits for the company and help its users as well, otherwise it becomes a mess almost impossible to handle. To overcome this challenge, we would suggest you visit Origami Studio’s website. They have showcased outstanding mobile application projects delivered by them. You can find these apps on PlayStore as well and check the ratings yourself.

This mobile app development company houses multiple professional app developers who have unmatched experience and skills to deliver any sort of app you desire. We believe in discussing the project with you and having you involved on every step so you have the hold of the whole process. Would you like to discuss your project with us? If yes, don’t hesitate in contacting them right away!

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