Game Mechanics & Gamification

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Game Mechanics And Gamification

Companies that successfully use gamification techniques for retention and satisfaction of its users include MySugr, Change4life, Mint, Todoist, Domino Pizza, Starbuck, among others.

For each app discussed below, we searched extensively for the company's retention rate. However, where the data was unavailable, we tried to find data on active users as it gives an idea on the number of users that are currently active on the company's platform. Where the data was also unavailable, we have provided other metrics that may give an idea of how well the app is doing. Below, you will find more details.


1) MySugr Diabetes Companion

This is a health app that focuses on behavior change for people living with diabetes. The app employs gamification techniques to achieve the result. The app "aims to make diabetes monitoring and data collection useful and fun in everyday life. The app is approved as a medical device by the Food and Drug Administration in the USA and has Conformité Européene (CE) mark." Elements of gamification employed in the app include feedback and monitoring, reward and threat, and goals and planning, self-monitoring, social support, incentive, and focus on past success.

Success: The app has over 1 million users and 95% of users remain active after a month. The app's retention rate after three months is 30% for standard app users, 41% for integrated device user, 56% for eHbA1c users, and 58% for insulin calculator user.

2) Change4Life

This is another app that is focused on behavior modification and that employs gamification to achieve it. It is a fitness app that is geared towards helping parents keep their children fit. It is also aimed at improving coordination, attention in school, confidence, social skills, strengthening muscles, among others. The app is approved by the NHS and it provides dozens of ideas, games, and fun activities parents can use to keep their kids active. The goal is to ensure kids are active for at least 60 minutes a day.

Success: Data on retention is unavailable, but it is a top-rated app with over 4 million users.

3) Zombies Run! 5k Training

Zombies Run! 5k Training is an app that focuses on getting people with a sedentary lifestyle (couch potato) to become more active. It is a behavior change app that employs gamification to keep users engaged. It is an 8 weeks program designed to get users to be able to run 5km on the 8th week. It

Success: The company noted that retention rates and conversion are high, but didn't provide any specific stat. The company states that it has had over 4 million downloads, and about a million of those are active.

4) MINT Money manager

Mint Money Manager is an app that applies gamification to help users improve their finances. The gamification is simple but effective. The app tracks spending and measures the progress against personal finance goals.

Success: We couldn't find data on the company's retention rate, but the company was able to generate over 10 million users.

5) Todoist

Todoist is a productive app that employs gamification to keep its users active and engaged. The app allows users to use gamification to complete tasks, from large projects to simple household chores, "by rewarding them with karma points for every task they finish — and negative karma for missing a deadline. As users collect more karma they unlock new levels, from ‘Beginner’ to ‘Enlightened.’ And they can instantly share their karma score with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram."

Success: Todoist has generated over 10 million users within ten years, however, the company doesn't provide data on the number of users that are active or its retention rate.

6) Domino Pizza

Domino Pizza created an app with gaming elements. The company's "iPhone app has a pizza slot machine feature for those who can’t decide what to order - shake the phone and the app chooses for you. Its Pizza Hero app/game for the iPad lets you either play now or order. You can track your order’s progress, use GPS tracking to find a store close to you, and, of course, find coupons and offers."

Success: Retention numbers are unavailable, however, the company's "mobile apps for the iPhone and Android are in top 15 in lifestyle rankings with the iTunes store and on Google Play. The Android app generated more than 140,000 downloads in its first two weeks after being released." It is also rated as the most popular food delivery app.

7) Starbuck App

Starbuck app has one of the most successful gamified reward and loyalty programs. Users of the ‘My Starbucks Rewards’ app "get a gold star every time they pay for their coffee using the mobile app. Five gold stars grants you ‘green’ status which entitles you to free refills. When you reach 30 stars, you unlock ‘gold’ membership, and you get a customized gold card. It’s an ingenious gamified move to create exclusivity and elevated status."

Success: Although data on retention rate is unavailable, Starbucks has been able to increase engagement with its gamified loyalty reward program. The increased app engagement is due to the fact "that ordering and payment through the app is tied to the company’s loyalty program. An eMarketer study showed that more people are using the Starbucks app to make mobile proximity payments than any other service, including Apple Pay and Google Pay." Also, "the number of daily active users of the Starbucks app in May 2018 was 10.6% higher than the previous June."

8) Nike Fitness App

Nike's Fitness app is recognized as a masterpiece in gamification that taps into the natural competitive spirit of its users. The app tracks running statistics, measures progress towards the individual's goals, and compels the individual to go out and beat their record the next time around. It then allows the users to share their activity on social media with friends or other people they are competing with.

The "product’s game-like qualities are mainly found in its Achievements and Run Levels tabs. Just as a video game player unlocks new levels with every level they complete, Nike+ Run Club users have new badges and run levels unlocked as they run more with the app. With every new level they unlock, users are driven to unlock more as the app shows all of the unhighlighted levels they haven’t achieved yet."
Success: The overall retention rate for the app is unavailable but Nike's app has a monthly active user of over 1.5 million people in the US.

9) Fitbit

Fitbit is the most popular fitness app and it owes some of its success to the fact that it has mastered the art of gamification. The app uses "game mechanics, such as scoring, competition and challenges to motivate and encourage desired behaviours." It gets users to use the stairs, run longer, and walk longer in other to meet their health and fitness goals.

Success: Fitbit has a retention rate of 82%. The company has over 8 million active monthly users in the US. Its users are also very engaged, with users coming back more than five times a week.
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