What is Gamification and How Does It Help Websites?

It’s National Video Game Day. As a fun way of celebrating this eventful day, we’re going to look at gamification on websites and how it can be used to bring users to your website and keep them long term.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is a common tactic used by various companies to keep their audience coming back to them. Imagine the rewards system of any game you can play on your phone and apply it to a business, and that’s it. A good company will make it more subtle but still use it effectively which is good for them. How does it make people use a service more you may or may not be asking, well, it uses some fancy human psychology intertwining with a reward system or something similar commonly found in games. It (unfortunately) doesn’t mean that you can play Animal Crossing on Yahoo Answers but does make you really keen on checking up on education and learning platforms every day.

Who uses Gamification?


Unsurprising for a digital game market when you think of it. Steam provides small rewards for purchases such as a smaller digital currency you can use to purchase decorations for your profile page or digital trading cards and other such small digital items.

It may seem small but these digital items are sold around for actual money and some people really seek out these products. It’s pretty close to the ideal example of gamification in a large business and doing incredibly well.


Gamification is super common in education-based platforms, Duolingo is a great example of this. The social aspect of leaderboards and competing with friends is a great simple and effective way to tap into some psychology and encourage the use of a platform

It lends itself to power the feedback loop of the platform and several others use similar techniques. If you and some friends use the service which subtly promotes competition it begins a cycle of using the platform for the competition which leads to more competing and I’m sure you can see how that goes.

Ultimate Guitar (UG)

Ultimate Guitar uses two main methods of gamification, the first being it’s IQ’ scoring and the second being the trophy system. The IQ score you can get comes from interacting with the chord sheets users have put up. Whether it be from rating it or commenting you can receive a small number of points that are displayed on your profile.

The IQ system gamifies the more social side of the platform where trophies can be more for the specific user as it targets the achievement and progress side of gamification. Because UG has a social emphasis, the ability to see the score and trophies of other users of the platform there is more incentive to pursue these elements of the platform.

Why do websites use Gamification?

The reason that you see gamification so much across so many different platforms is that it provides instant tangible benefits and feedback for businesses. It is also now really easy to see how other companies use these strategies making it simple to convert that to match another company.

It’s really simply a small way to increase activity for a company website by using some basic psychology revolving around instant gratification and the associated mental effects. It also isn’t too intensive on the companies resources as it is never the main focus of a platform.

What benefits does it provide?

Due to the clever use of gratification loops and related psychology the benefits of gamification can become clear to a company quickly and clearly. It has been done so many times by a variety of companies there is a lot of data to look into and most cases show that it does increase engagement in different ways depending on the platform. It is commonly used in educational platforms and Duolingo provides an example of how it can actually increase how much the platform is used. While in the case of Steam it is shown how there may be actual profit directly from the video game-like features.

What are the drawbacks of Gamification?

Companies can’t exactly make their platform into a game in an instant, it must be done carefully and with intent. Because of this, it may not work for specific companies and become a waste of time and resources for the company.

It also can be too exploitative and must not take advantage of the consumer, rather use a basic but effective and enticing reward system to encourage continued use for the platform. But for some companies no matter how good the gamification may be set up the company may not be suited for the system in place meaning it causes a lack of clear view of the company as the gamification contrasts too heavily with the rest of the image of the company.


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