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What is Gamification?

what is gamification

Using gamification in marketing initiatives, mobile applications, and social media networks can be a very effective tool. In this article, we’ll explore the concept in detail, discuss the difference between games and gamification, examine the elements and mechanics of games, and dive deep into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Finally, we’ll explore platforms and strategies that game designers can use to increase customer loyalty, improve user experience, and enhance real-world engagement.

What is gamification?

Gamification is the process of integrating game elements, mechanics, and design into non-game contexts to increase engagement, motivation, and participation. The purpose of gamification is to make an activity more engaging by adding game elements such as points, badges, leaderboards, and challenges. You can use it in marketing campaigns, learning environments, and mobile games. Gamfed defines gamification as follows:

Gamification is the process of enhancing products, processes or services with motivational elements known from games in order to invoke gameful experiences and shape behavior


Games vs. Gamification

Although games and gamification share some commonalities, they are distinct concepts. Games are standalone experiences that have specific rules, objectives, and outcomes. On the other hand, gamification involves integrating game elements into non-game contexts. In other words, games are complete experiences, while gamification is the process of adding game elements to enhance an existing experience.

Elements and Mechanics of Games

To understand gamification, it’s essential to first understand the elements and mechanics of games. There are many elements that define a game, but the most critical elements are rules, objectives, and challenges. Rules define the boundaries and limitations of a game, while objectives give players a clear goal to work towards. Challenges create the necessary tension and difficulty needed to make a game engaging.

Kevin Werbach - The Gamification Toolkit
Kevin Werbach – The Gamification Toolkit

Game designers use mechanics to create experiences that motivate and engage players. Game mechanics are the tools and systems that designers use to create meaningful interactions and experiences. Some examples of game mechanics include feedback, points, badges, achievements, and leaderboards.

Game Thinking

Game thinking refers to the incorporation of game mechanics and elements into non-game contexts to create engaging and meaningful experiences. By incorporating game elements, designers can increase user engagement, motivation, and participation. As a result, users are more likely to be engaged and invested in the experience.


In discussing motivation, two essential concepts are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to the natural drive that comes from within oneself to engage in a particular activity, driven by the internal rewards of the activity, such as a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction.

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is driven by external rewards, including prizes, bonuses, or other tangible rewards given to an individual for completing a task or achieving a certain level of success.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be useful in this context. By understanding the difference between the two, designers can tailor their approaches to better engage their audience. Additionally, understanding the different types of motivation can help designers create experiences that are both enjoyable and rewarding for users.

Marketing Campaigns

You can use gamification to enhance marketing campaigns by creating interactive experiences that encourage customer participation. Businesses can create games or challenges that reward customers. For example, they can reward customers for sharing content on social media or referring friends to the business.

Mobile Games

Mobile games have become one of the most popular ways to incorporate gamification elements into a product or service. You can use games to increase engagement, retain users, and generate revenue through in-app purchases or advertising.

Customer Loyalty Programs

You can also use Gamification to increase customer loyalty by creating rewards and challenges that encourage repeat business. For example, a coffee shop might create a loyalty program that rewards customers for purchasing a certain number of drinks or visiting the shop at certain times of the day.

Game-Based Learning

Education is another use of gamification by creating game-based learning experiences. This approach uses game elements to create engaging and interactive learning experiences that help students retain information and improve their skills.

Gamification Strategy

A successful strategy involves understanding the needs and desires of your users and incorporating game elements that align with those needs. A successful strategy also involves setting clear goals, defining the rules and mechanics of the experience, and creating engaging challenges that motivate users. The ultimate strategy is to create a meaningful and engaging experience that keeps users coming back.

Benefits of Gamification

Gamification can provide a range of benefits, including increased engagement, improved learning outcomes, and increased customer loyalty. By tapping into intrinsic motivators and providing users with a sense of accomplishment, it can create powerful experiences that keep users coming back for more.

Gamification Platforms

Gamification platforms are software tools that game designers can use to create engaging experiences. Moreover, these platforms provide designers with the necessary tools and mechanics to create experiences that motivate and engage users. Some examples of gamification platforms include Gametize, Funifier, Badgeville, Bunchball, and Gameffective. You can use different platforms in a variety of contexts, from customer loyalty programs to employee training programs.

Gamification is a powerful tool for increasing engagement and motivation in a range of contexts. By incorporating game elements and mechanics into non-game contexts, businesses can create engaging experiences that keep users coming back for more. Whether it’s a marketing campaign, a mobile game, or a customer loyalty program, gamification can help businesses achieve their goals and create lasting relationships with their customers.

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