Mobile and web app development - Appchance - Digital Products Experts

September 16, 2023

Gamification in mobile apps: Our how-to guide

If you want to engage your customers, gamification is one of your best bets. Adding a game component to your app can turn your mobile app into something fun, and customers can start using your app because it's engaging and not just useful. In this article, we want to show you how you can make the most of your mobile app by adding gamification into the mix.

Market studies are unequivocal – the mobile games sector is actively growing, with global revenue exceeding $173 billion in 2023. The conclusion is obvious – your customers most likely play them, too, and adding a gamification component to your mobile app can give it a significant boost.


Let’s start with the beginning. What’s the role that gamification plays in mobile apps?

The role of gamification in mobile applications

In general, we can say that gamification has two main goals to accomplish:

  • Improve user engagement
  • Increase customer retention

Gamification turns your mobile app into a far more interactive and enjoyable experience. Customers open and interact with these apps primarily because it gives them positive experiences and this really nice sense of winning something. That’s why mobile apps that use gamification are full of challenges, leaderboards, scoreboards, and badges – because these elements give a sense of accomplishment.

Here, diverse fitness apps are a great example. They often use gamification to reward users with badges for achieving milestones or competing with friends on leaderboards, which boosts user commitment to their health-related goals. Here, Run An Empire is a perfect example. It’s a free location-based strategy game for runners and walkers that enables you to “grow your empire” as you run in specific locations.


Furthermore, gamification can be a very useful tool for user learning and skill development. Educational apps leverage gamified elements to make learning more engaging and fun. For instance, language learning apps may use points and rewards to encourage daily practice and progression. Here, Duolingo is an obvious example. This app has millions of users, and for a reason – it makes learning a new language fun. Plus, you can see your progress almost in real time. That’s what gamification is about.


Gamification mechanisms in mobile apps

Gamification is not just to make your customers feel good, though. It’s about increasing their loyalty and triggering purchasing decisions. That’s why many companies decide to add a gamification aspect to their loyalty programs. Collecting points for purchases and unlocking new discount levels are still gamified features! This is what we did with our app for Apart – a Polish chain of jewelry stores. In the loyalty program feature, every user can see their current discount level (Silver, Gold, Platinum), along with information on how much they need to spend to upgrade to the next level.

It's a great way to keep users coming back and spending more money in order to get a) higher discounts and b) more prestigious status in the company.

Of course, if you’re currently working on a mobile app, there are more gamification mechanisms you can use:

  • Points: Let your users earn points for completing specific actions or tasks within the app.
  • Badges and achievements: Let users receive virtual badges or trophies for reaching milestones or accomplishing specific goals. 
  • Leaderboards: You can design leaderboards that display user rankings based on their performance or achievements in the app.
  • Challenges and quests: Lastly, mobile apps can present users with challenges or quests to complete.
  • Rewards: Don’t forget to reward users with both virtual and real-world incentives for their actions! That’s what really keeps them engaged.

How to use gamification to engage your customers

You now know what gamification is about. Now, let’s have a look at how you can use it in your mobile app.


First off, you need a strategy that’s tailored to your company’s profile. Not every gamification mechanism will work in every situation. For example, if you’re running an online store selling sneakers, you could think of badges for clients having 10 or more pairs of sneakers. Each new “level” could come with additional benefits, e.g., early access to new models.


Next, you need to map out the user journey within your app and identify key touchpoints where gamification components can be integrated seamlessly. Also, at this point, you need to determine how users will interact with the gamified features throughout their experience. Think about combining both virtual and real-life experiences.


Your customers must know what’s expected of them and what they will get in return. Gamification requires clear rules and assignments. For example, if you want to gamify discounts, you need clear information explaining how much your users need to spend to achieve a specific discount level.


It’s a good idea to invite a small group of the most active/profitable customers to run beta tests with them. Ask them to try your new gamification idea and share their feedback. It will help you improve your idea before it goes live for all the customers.


Adding a gamification component or creating a brand-new gamified app is a big project. You need a trusted tech partner that will help you design everything and implement your vision using appropriate technologies and solutions.

Pay attention to these five elements, and you are on the right path to designing a successful gamified mobile application for your company!

Wrapping up

Adding a gamification component to your mobile app can be a true game-changer. With a good idea and equally good execution, you can engage your customers on a whole new level. And if you do it correctly, gamification can also be an effective revenue source for your business. 

If you’re still looking for a tech partner to design or improve your app, we are at your service! Take a look at our case studies and send us a short contact form. We’ll take care of the rest!