Games are traditionally known to be a source of marketing, but today, they are also used as a marketing strategy. The strategy incorporates game mechanics in different non-gaming environments, like emails to increase engagement. Gamification is applied in both digital and email marketing.

Email gamification targets the inclusion of a variety of games like quizzes, wheel spinning, and puzzles. It engages users more as they seek to unlock rewards hidden in the games. An email marketer can adopt the roulette wheel of fortune idea and create a marketing game. The wheel may contain different prizes but the email recipient needs to click on the wheel to spin. Once the wheel stops, it reveals the prize.

In digital marketing, gaming elements are added to social media marketing content, applications, and websites to encourage more interactions. Bulletproof coffee recently used a game in its digital marketing strategy. Users were asked to tag their friends to receive their giveaways.

The top gamification marketing techniques used by marketers

Gamification is an email marketing strategy that works due to its psychological impact on the brain. The main reason why people work hard in life is to receive rewards. Marketers apply the same principle where users work on a game to receive a reward. A customer could be willing to add an item to the cart to receive free shipping. Another one could be willing to play a game to receive a discount on items.

The main focus is for the marketer to create different strategies to make a sale. The sales team uses different gamification marketing techniques to achieve this goal. When creating gamified emails, marketing specialists have to work with various infographics and various types of research. These documents help professionals choose the best-fitting type of gamification to involve as many users as possible. To pass the docs and sketches across various teams, marketers often have to convert PDF to JPG. Various surveys are also usually in PDF to explore which gamification strategies attract the most attention. To transform them into lighter and eye-catching JPG images, one has to know converting tricks. Since creating gamified emails is time-consuming, specialists should know many tricks that ease other work stages.

Use of advergames

Advergames are gamified ads used for promoting specific brands or products. It contains a marketing message embedded into a game template developed for marketing use. They are mostly used for mobile devices because most buyers use mobile phones to shop. They are popular with soft drink brands and may leverage games like Temple Run and Candy Crush. They help boost customer engagement. Pepsi is one of the brands that use a lot of advergames in its rigorous marketing campaigns.


Use of coupon wheel

The aim of using a coupon wheel is to spin and activate different offer coupons. The wheel is easy to spin but the user must purchase something to redeem their prize. The wheel is then attached to a marketing email to capture user attention and increase engagement. Celtic Tiles developed a spinning wheel which was used during St. Patrick’s Day. Users would reveal their prizes by spinning the wheel after filling out the registration form.

Source: optimonster

Use a real game experience

A real game gives users a straightforward experience with products. The marketing team will have to develop a fully featured game that enhances greater engagement. The American Army developed a war simulation game to attract more young people to join the army. Applicants were allowed to play on Steam and get a better experience.

Source: goarmy

Run contests

Contests help improve brand awareness across different channels. It helps drive client interaction while enhancing visibility. MacDonald’s is famous for running contests. The company runs an annual contest on different email marketing platforms each year and issues a highly attractive prize. Contest participation is open to everyone on condition that the participant purchases from a MacDonald facility near them.

One of the factors to keep in mind, while creating gamification email marketing campaigns is anchor color in email designs. It ensures all text types of colored backgrounds are well visible. Contests work better when brands are targeting to make a huge sale in a short time.

Source: The MKTG STR

Run sweepstakes

Sweepstakes are meant to increase reach and talk around a brand. It improves engagement and customers become excited about the offer. Brands use this technique to generate more leads, achieve brand promotion, and enhance sales. One of the brands that offers sweepstakes often is Banana Boat. In one of the games, users were asked to share their contact and receive a game to play. If the player won, they received a chance to visit Hawaii.

Source: bazaarvoice

Loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are given to existing customers to appreciate their long-time loyalty. These are customers who have purchased from the company several times. They are rewarded and recognized to help them continue buying from the company. Starbucks has used this technique for many years and it works out well. It is one of the highly adopted marketing strategies useful in every business sector.

Use quizzes

Quizzes make an individual feel fulfilled after making an accomplishment to answer the questions. It is a strategic way to attract new subscribers to a company email list. It helps improve loyalty and sharing due to the fulfillment it causes. Marketers should ensure the quiz is easy to answer to avoid users giving up before completing the process. It encourages more participation and taking action.

Source: unlayer

Pros and cons of gamification in email marketing

The concept of gamification is not new to modern marketing techniques. One of its earliest forms is the frequent flier mile programs common with airline companies. Customers benefit through rewards but brands benefit more through sales. It is a great marketing tool but it has its good part and downsides too. The strategy works well in different email marketing platforms and can be used to attract new subscribers.

Pros of gamification in email marketing

Games are entertaining

Gamification marketing mixes gaming and text elements to create entertaining content. Users are required to perform actions to receive a reward. Human beings are naturally social. They seek adventure, desire to achieve more, and triumph in their dealings. These are desires that can be addressed well through a game. They help users be full of fun and the company achieves its marketing goal. Marketing games full of fun can be posted on a variety of channels to attract new subscribers:

  • A wide range of social media networks, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
  • Landing pages of websites. The gamified content can include trailers, CTA games, product reviews, and links.
  • Different types of blogs, such as lifestyle blogs, fashion, food, travel, technology, and health.
  • A range of mobile device applications


  • Video streaming channels
  • Marketing emails
  • Marketing platforms

Enhance client engagement

Marketers target specific market segments when developing gamification content. When included in marketing texts, it is the user who takes action to watch or do as requested. The user gets the feeling that they are in control and is free to make decisions.

It creates more engagement and a better opportunity for the customer to make a purchase decision. The popularity of marketing games in increasing client engagement is growing fast. Marketers often use this strategy to attract new subscribers.

Attracting new traffic

Many brands leverage gamification to increase loyalty. Due to their entertaining nature, most users click the backlinks, which link them back to the brand’s website. The marketers ask for emails and telephone contact to build a new contact list. Gamification helps increase new traffic, which is an advantage to marketers in their marketing campaigns.

Contain rewards

Marketing game developers include rewards in the content, which act as customer hooks. Users may be asked to click to reveal their reward. Some are asked to provide their contact information or make a purchase to get a reward. Users feel fulfilled when they are rewarded for their actions, even when they spend money to purchase to claim the reward. This is an incentive that not only helps the user complete the action but also find out more about the product and make a purchase.

Increased brand awareness

The main purpose of email or digital marketing is to increase brand awareness and sales. Gamification perfectly meets this purpose due to its high engagement value. Games are loved across all generations, which is one reason that makes them effective in raising brand awareness. They make finding products more fun, which helps users stay engaged.

How gamification improves brand awareness

Complex competition is pushing brands to become more innovative and create engaging ways to improve brand awareness. Gamification is playing a crucial role in this purpose in different ways.

  • Brand differentiation: Gamification is helping brands to differentiate themselves from a long list of competitors. Games have the power to create long-lasting impressions in the mind of users.
  • Increased interactivity: Games increase the amount of time a customer spends on an advertisement, brand’s social media page, or website.
  • Creating a sense of fulfillment: Most games offer rewards that create a sense of fulfillment in customers. When they are happy with the brand, they become its ambassadors.

Games are built with social sharing features

It is easier to share games with friends than it is to share text. The games are developed with an interface that encourages sharing. Due to this, marketers achieve more by reaching millions of people in a short time.

Cons of gamification in email marketing

Higher development costs

Developing a marketing game consumes a lot of time and money. It requires expert game developers who take the time to design, create, and test the game. The process of approval within the company before launching the game can be lengthy. Organizations may require hiring experts, outsourcing to third parties, or training the talent they already have.

Demands a lot of creativity

Creating marketing content can take a marketer a few hours only. It is different from creating a marketing game. The developer needs to study the market first to understand what the audiences want. They must understand what is trending and use their creativity to create appealing content.

Failed purpose

Games sometimes fail to meet their predetermined purpose. They fail to meet the strategic connection expected, which results in loss due to a lack of return on investment. Marketers need to examine their game objectives before deciding if it is the best type of game to use. Failed purpose can also be due to using compacted frequency or posting too few times. Marketers need to create a frequency balance to get the best benefits of gamification.

How gamification compares to other popular email marketing strategies

Email marketing is becoming more complicated due to growing competition, technology increase, and newer devices. Regardless, email is a highly preferred mode of communication which makes it a viable marketing option. Marketers need to consider that more than 293 billion emails are sent daily.

This makes the possibility of a marketing email reaching its target tougher. Marketers are consistently redefining their email marketing strategies and gamification is one of the latest methods. It compares with other email marketing strategies in several different ways.

No personalization

One of the email marketing strategies used most by marketers is personalization. Marketers create content that makes recipients feel it was made just for them. This strategy is known to increase revenue by up to 760%. This is because the content is more individualized and relevant to the recipient. Due to the cost and time required to create one gamified email marketing content, it is harder to make it personalized. Due to this, games might have a limited impact compared to personalized emails.

More engaging

Games can boost customer engagement meaning users can spend more time on the content, unlike other email marketing tricks. This is an advantage for marketers who achieve the goal of brand awareness. On the other hand, it can be a disadvantage due to users who don’t have much time to spend on marketing content.

One of the tricks used in email marketing is keeping the content short and direct to the point. This is meant to attract users who are busy with other engagements. While gamification in digital marketing achieves its goal, on one hand, it provides disadvantages on the other.

The cost of development

The cost of developing gamified email marketing content is higher compared to other types. Some email marketing platforms might not be a good choice for gamified content due to different reasons. Even if a marketer doesn’t know how to write marketing content, it is easy to hire a writing expert and get quality content. Gamification requires experts who must work closely with marketers to meet content goals. The cost of creating one game can be used to create several other types of email marketing content.

It’s more attractive and fulfilling

Gamification in digital marketing looks more attractive than other forms of email marketing. Some forms only require the recipient to read, while others may require them to watch. With gamification, recipients read, watch, and engage in an activity. Users feel fulfilled after they complete an action and get a reward. It’s created with graphics and sometimes sounds that are appealing.

Gamification in digital marketing cuts across all demographics

Gamification is one of the best ways to reach out to multiple market segments with the same type of content. It is one of the marketing content that fits both young and old users. The recipient is required to take action and either spin a wheel, fill out a puzzle, play a game, or discover a hidden item.

These are actions that anyone, regardless of age, can do. Other types of email marketing cannot fit every market segment. Other strategies, such as personalization, are required to make the content more engaging.


Gamification is a viable email marketing strategy that can help boost sales fast. Regardless of its benefits, gamification does not apply to every business. To know if it is a good choice for you, there are several considerations you must make. Decide whether you want to boost your subscriber list fast. Check your budget to know if it will meet the cost and whether you have a higher number of millennials on your list. If your business niche is experiencing higher competition, gamification might help make your brand unique.