Gamification as a research method: how to further engage your audience

By Tristan Morris


We know gamification as an excellent method that brands can use to boost their engagement, improve the user experience, and connect more deeply with audiences. However, it’s also incredibly valuable as a research tool, for when brands need to know more about their customers, their shopping experiences, and what they’re likely to want to see in the future.

Utilising gamification methods, you can collect data that includes buying decision influences, preferences in terms of products or services, how they interact with their chosen brands, and more. Through gamifying surveys, or implementing questionnaire elements into your existing gamification strategies, you can quickly and easily build a more complete view of your audience.

The benefits:

Challenge poor data quality

It’s essential to have relevant, accurate data on your customer base. If you’re unsure of their motivations or buying habits, then you risk launching campaigns that aren’t correctly aligned to their buying journey.

Equally, if you contact your audience using newsletters, you need to minimise unengaged or bounced contacts. Updating your data (and using gamification tactics to do so) can help with this. Try offering a voucher, or prize when they complete a speedy survey. Or, use gamification elements like a progress bar or timers as incentive to update their details.

Omnichannel strategy booster

If you’re using an omnichannel marketing strategy, like most brands in 2021, then gamification is an ideal addition to your marketing plan. Omnichannel, or marketing across different channels (as it was called previously), involves interacting with your customers at different touchpoints, ultimately engaging with them across a wider network.

If you’re using gamification as a research tool, you can study engagement across channels to see where your audience is most likely to interact with your content, and which content they’re more likely to enjoy. Rather than just incorporating gamification elements, you might even go as far as to launch an actual game that can be promoted across social channels – this way, you’re engaging with potential customers in a way that, vitally, doesn’t feel like ‘work’, but instead creates an experience with your brand.


Despite restrictions in 2021, we’re approaching a time when once again in-person events will be possible. It’s common to use speedy interactives and questionnaires at events, but adding a gamification element makes your offering memorable, fun, and more likely to attract further users. Capturing data at a conference is rarely fun for the people attending, but if you can make it worth their while, and provide a brand experience that is also enjoyable, they’re much more likely to willingly give up their information. Try using a game on a large screen to attract more people, or create a survey that features timers, levels or sliders that can be gamified.

Plus, if you’re looking to test or research decision-making scenarios, you’re more able to emulate this using game tech, as opposed to a standard survey. With surveys, there’s always the chance that users are clicking at random or not being entirely truthful in their decision. Games, however, are much more able to place the user in a specific situation, and then understand and track the decisions made in real-time.

Community engagement

One key driver of sales is an unexpected one: building a community. Whether you engage your audience using hashtags, UGC, or even just encouraging them to communicate with each other, you’re already building a community of your customers, who have something in common to talk about, and in turn, talk to their audiences about.

Implementing gamification methods, or even using an actual game build, can be a content source that encourages community engagement. Using tools like a leaderboard, share functions, or even just having something that can be sent / passed to friends and family can hugely boost your user base, and create an experience that’s more likely to perform.

Ultimately, using gamification elements to boost your campaign helps to engage your customer base further and put out content that inspires. However, as a research method it can offer greater insight into your customers, a more enjoyable experience for users, and helps to update information without feeling like you’re mining data. Whether you go the route of an interactive tool, or a full-blown game to represent your brand, it’s a way to communicate with your audience directly, without feeling too salesy.

Looking for a gamification strategy to engage your audience? Get in touch to find out more about how to research, understand, and connect with your users.