Why Gamification Works

We know what gamification marketing is by now. The principle is simple, gamification works by giving the audience an interactive experience with your brand through game mechanics and game dynamics. A compelling gamification experience taps into the emotions of a participant, who subconsciously links those very emotions to your company.

But why exactly does this approach work in practice?

Why Gamification Works

It puts the user in control

The tenets of the customer journey are all about getting the visitor from point A to point B. Digital marketing, and gamification among them, does just that, guiding potential customers to your desired destination.

However, simple psychology tells us that people don’t like to be dragged or forced to a destination. They like to be the masters of their own destiny. So let your customer be in the driver’s seat. The visitor should (at least seemingly) be in control of where it takes him. This is the core of gamification.

People need orientation – through maps we know where we are and where we are going.

Again, this is simple psychology. We like to know where we are, what to expect on the journey and where we are going. Otherwise, we grope in the dark and develop distrust.

There is a reason why big series, games or surveys are equipped with progress bars and world maps. Take advantage of such map systems and apply it to different aspects of your app or website. Memory points or milestones can also provide orientation for the user and make the application easier – if in gamification or a simple form. Knowing that you can continue later grants users the freedom to customize their experience.

User In Control

Rewards as a motivational boost

Humans are used to being rewarded. Who could blame that? You feel valued and proud of yourself when you get a reward. The same thing happens with gamification.

One of the most famous examples of this is Facebook. Facebook is fantastic at incorporating subtle gamification. For example, when you post a status or a picture, you are (hopefully) immediately rewarded with likes. The thumbs up is a psychological reward from Facebook. So you do it again. And again.

Reward your users at every stage of the journey, if possible, and it will reinforce what you want them to do.

The personal sense of achievement

Achievement is one of the most powerful psychological drivers of human behavior.

When someone is on your website they are trying to accomplish something. For example, learning to code, managing money, getting fit, or grabbing a goody or coupon.

So if you make your users feel like they’ve accomplished something, they’ll come back. Something as simple as “Good job!” gives customers just that sense of accomplishment and ensures they’ll make a lasting commitment to your business.

Set goals and compete yourself

Humans are competitive by nature. Most of us want to constantly develop and get better.

By using “personal bests” for example, you can convince your users to come back and try again. This is also one of the driving factors for the popularity and success factor of gamification.

The comparison with others

Human self-drive is strong. However, the performance of each individual is spurred on much more when their performance is compared to each other.

In this discipline, too, the big social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are the leaders. All social networks thrive on the idea of gamified competition. Who has more likes, followers and retweets? It’s all one big game. An open playing field.

So remember; any website that uses leaderboards and top scores immediately triggers that natural instinct to compete!

Comparison With Others


Gamification is not just a buzzword or a gimmick. Done right, it triggers real and powerful human emotions. It creates positive user experiences, increases engagement and loyalty to your company or brand.

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