Why You Should Consider Gamification in Email July 09, 2018, | Posted by erin

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One of the major buzzwords in digital advertising for a few years now has been “Gamification,” a term that refers to incorporating elements of game-playing into other tasks. Incorporating gamification into email marketing is one of the trends that we’ve noticed throughout the industry, and at Site Impact, we’re actually in favor of the concept. By adding in elements of competition, or playfulness into your campaign, you can stand out in a different way to your audience, increase engagement, and get great results. Today we’re going to take a moment to explore the benefits of gamification--and explain a bit more about how it works.

Gamifying your emails

The first thing to explain, of course, is what gamification is when it comes to email. Obviously, attention spans in email are short; consumers largely want to look at an email, get an idea of an offer or a message, and then move onto the next one. Planning game-like aspects for email has to keep that in mind; you can’t expect even the best-designed email game to hold someone’s attention for an hour straight. The simplest gamification efforts in email can be something like a quick, 3-question quiz, or a wager on some minor event in exchange for a discount, or even something with lower stakes, like a virtual race using animated characters. The incorporation of rich media into email really makes this possibility come alive, since even for mobile--which people increasingly are using to get to their emails--there’s a possibility for participation. By holding a recipient’s interest for a longer period of time, and offering a value-add to the email, gamification pays off in a big way.

Increase engagement

The biggest area in which gamification can improve your email campaign is engagement, for a fairly obvious reason: people enjoy fun things, and playing a game for low stakes and the potential for a reward of some kind, is always fun. By associating your brand with a fun activity, you’re building a relationship on something other than promotional value--which studies show pays of in terms of brand loyalty as well as future spending.

Attract new subscribers

In an era where email promotions are shareable content, incorporating a game into your campaigns can be an excellent method of generating new leads, getting people to join your email list, and otherwise expanding the reach of your email efforts. Sending out an email-based game that includes the ability to direct other people to play as well means that people will share it--and that means that there will be tons of new subscribers interested in your brand, who you can then market to. Of course, there’s the strategy-based issue of making sure to retain those new potential customers, but a good email marketing agency can help you with that aspect easily.

Stand out from the crowd

The goal of standing out from the dozens--if not hundreds--of emails your customers receive every day is an arms race for brands. Every new facility and capability that email providers like Google add to the arsenal opens up a steep learning curve as brands look to use those functions to grab the limited attention of consumers. A well-planned email game with rewards for participation added in sets a brand apart from the competition, making them more likely to be remembered. In an era where the sales funnel is only getting longer--with people researching more heavily and delaying purchases until they’re really sure it’s what they want--that memory serves an excellent purpose.


While there obviously are situations where excessive game-playing can actually work to a brand’s detriment, gamification in emails is a strategy that can win a lot of benefits to a savvy company looking to increase their email lists, engage their customers, and spur people onto more purchases. It’s a relatively simple method, but a powerful tool when used the right way. Site Impact has experts that can help you find out if it’s the right tactic for you--and also help you to implement it and maintain the momentum after the first campaign is over. Contact us today to learn more.