8 Examples of Apps Using Gamification Should Know About in 2022

Many successful apps have one thing in common: they gamified the user experience. Looking for useful app gamification tactics that can boost your retention metrics? Continue reading.
Published October 24, 2022

About the author
Bart Stemkens is a growth advisor for tech startups. He loves building online businesses and bringing them to live through bold ideas.

Given that more and more apps are competing in the market, it’s becoming more difficult for app developers to stand out from the crowd. Because our generation has a relatively short attention span, app developers must find an exciting way to keep users engaged for a long time. 

Today, you can choose from a variety of user engagement and retention strategies that can be implemented, including social media management, in-product customer experiences, giveaways, tailored discounts and more. These strategies help keep  companies stay competitive. 

One of the most effective user engagement strategies is developing a gamified app, and this article will focus on how you can use it to enhance the visibility and usage of your app. 

Gamification is an element that can be found not only in apps but also in your personal or professional life, such as being rewarded by a teacher or earning loyalty points from a shop. In these cases, students are encouraged to accomplish tasks to earn rewards and shoppers are driven to shop at the same store so that they earn more points. 

To keep on track with your app’s marketing efforts, you need to understand the status of games as an app category (13.66% of apps are within the game category). So if you have an app that is outside of the game category, you may want to adopt some modes of gamification, such as badges, points, internal currency, scoreboards and rewards. 

What is App Gamification? 

In a few words, gamification is the way through which you can include game-like properties in your app to increase user engagement and retention. It’s all about making the process of using your app more fun for your users. 

It’s important to keep in mind that your app gamification strategy is not just about its design and development, but also about retaining as many users as possible, which can be achieved in the following ways: 

  • Address issues you need to fix – If your app isn’t getting enough conversions, for instance, you may want to know why. So your gamification efforts should align with your elements with your app’s goals. 
  • Include social opportunities-  See how you can drive your users to come together through socializing or collaboration, and have them be rewarded for it.
  • Simplify everything – For a user to understand which stage they’re currently in and what they should do next, the process should be as clear and smooth as possible. 
  • Have an easy-to-use reward system – Instead of implementing one final reward at the end of the game, try to divide it into smaller rewards that are given every time a user completes each minor milestone.

Why is App Gamification Important? 

Before gamifying your app, you want to know what benefits you’re hoping gamification will bring you, specifically in terms of your user engagement. 

Gamification in mobile apps, including non-game apps, are proven to release dopamine in users’ brains, making them want to engage with the app longer in order to complete milestones and achievements. 

Gamification can also influence your users’ emotions  in several ways, namely: 

  • Increasing curiosity – Your users will be motivated by game-like elements in order to gain more rewards. 
  • Encouraging competition A presentation of other users’ achievements can encourage players to achieve more and compare their results with each other.
  • Creating a sense of control Users are given the feeling of being in control as they can decide which milestone they are going to complete. 

How to Gamify Your App 

To gamify your app, you have to begin with the design elements before adopting your gamification workflow. The design elements typically include the following: 

  • Badges –  These act as a visual form of your users’ achievements, showcasing their performance within the app. For instance, if you have a food delivery app, you could implement a badge for every time a user places an order. 
  • Levels – With each level, the difficulty of the game increases, pushing the user to want to keep playing as they want to reach the next milestone. 
  • Scoreboards – These are lists that portray your users’ rankings in order to see who is performing the best at a certain activity. It indicates the performance of a user compared to the performance of others. 
  • Performance charts – These illustrate how a player performed in relation to their previous results and traces their individual records.
  • Points – These are rewards that your users get for reaching a milestone as they continue playing the game.  
  • In-game currency – This is how your users can access game-related benefits , such as extra points or lives. In-game currency can be received as a reward for certain achievements as a daily bonus. 

Gaming elements can be implemented with specialized gamification software, such as Apple’s Game Center and Google Game Services. 

8 Examples of Apps Using Gamification for User Acquisition and Retention 

Gamification can be found in numerous app industries, so no matter what category your app belongs in, you can find a gamification method that will suit it best. To show you the different possibilities that app gamification can take, we’re listing 8 app gamification examples in order to attract and retain their users. 

1. Khan Academy 

This popular education app has incorporated gamification methods that brought it very successful results in their students who pursue higher education. They do this by implementing various gamification strategies such as: 

  • Epic Meaning & Calling – Khan Academy uses epic meaning & calling to encourage donors, teachers, and volunteers to assist their mission. Because their mission is to provide free education to everyone forever, they have managed to attract companies who have donated over $10,000,000 each.
  • Social Influence & Relatedness – The app uses the power of social influence & relatedness to recognize and motivate their interns from around the world.

2. Monefy 

This personal finance app tries to make the process of money management easier. It does by utilizing a design that motivates users to keep tracking their daily expenses on a regular basis, as well tracing spending that they wouldn’t be able to notice.

3. McDonald’s 

There is no need to introduce this brand. The app uses the gamification tool of location to bring about a number of in-app experiences, activities and notifications.  Users can search for restaurants nearby, receive location-based deals and discounts and even play location-based games, like looking for Monopoly-inspired Chance Cards to unlock rewards.

4. FitBit 

Fitbit is a wearable fitness tracker that connects to an app that includes various gamification elements, such as: 

  • Badges – These are allocated to a user when they have completed a certain milestone, such as walking a specific number of steps, and may even resemble the nature of that milestone.
  • Social interaction – The app allows you to locate friends who also use it and challenge them to various sports activities. 
  • Unique challenges –  The app allows you to walk around any city of your choice so that you can explore it and stay fit at the same time. 

5. Starbucks 

The app makes use of Starbucks Rewards in order to reward a user every time you place an order with them. It keeps track of how much you spend in particular ways like the time, what you ordered, which outlets you visit, how much you spend, and more. This data is then used by Starbucks to offer rewards to their customers which encourage them to continue buying from them. 

6. MangoHealth 

The app reminds users when they need to take their medication and records each dose they take. What distinguishes Mango Health from other gamified apps is that users get real-life rewards, such as store coupons. However, it also uses other game-like elements such as rewards when their users take their medicine on time. 

7. Snapchat 

This social media platform makes use of scorekeeping (giving points to its users) to keep track of their users’ activity and how many people this activity manages to impact. 

Snapchat also allows its users to create avatars with a range of profiling accessories, and keep track of where their friends are in real time. One of the most obvious methods of gamification Snapchat uses are the mini-games that users can play with others.  to its users in which they can compete with others, too. 

Filters are also an example of the app’s gamification methods, as they’re used to change your appearance, location or even have mini quizzes that make taking pictures more fun and exciting.

8. Shopkick 

The app uses gamification by sending notifications to its users that inform them about where they can collect points. While in the store, the user can open their app to see the items that offer them these points, known as “kicks.” They can then find the product in-store, scan it with their phone’s camera, and exchange all kicks earned for gift cards by their favorite brands. 

By turning the shopping experience into a scavenger hunt, Shopkick manages to gamify a regular, everyday experience into something that’s both fun and rewarding. On top of that, partner retailers are rewarded with higher sales and awareness for their brand.


Gamification is increasingly becoming one of the top tactics to increase user engagement in an era where app users’ attention span is becoming shorter and shorter.  

It is an effective method to stay ahead of the competition by turning a boring routine into a fun challenge. The best gamified apps know this. 

As seen by the examples mentioned, various app industries use gamification, such as food and drink, healthcare, education, and ecommerce. The reason it’s so successful in all these different categories is that it satisfies the human mind’s thirst for an exciting challenge. 

Are you thinking of gamifying your app but don’t know where to start? Get in touch with us.