Advergaming vs Gamification: Which One Should You Use for Your Campaign?


The number of active gamers worldwide is trending toward an estimated 3.07 billion people in 2023, with video game revenues reaching a new record of $97.67 billion in 2022 in the US alone. 

Companies of every size are learning how gamification can increase engagement with their target audience. But many aren’t as familiar with the differentiation between advergaming and gamification. 

CataBoom is here to demystify what advergaming is, how it differs from gamification, and which might be the best fit for your next campaign. 

What Is Advergaming?

Advergaming offers a unique way to expose users to a brand through an interactive gaming experience. Advergames tap into people’s love for video games while highlighting your brand positively. 

One of the most successful advergaming examples is Chex Quest, launched in 1996. Inspired by the popularity of the game DOOM, Chex Quest was so well-made, it caused a 248% increase in sales.

Over 20 years later, advertisers understand that interaction is essential to ramp up engagement and brand awareness. And advergaming does this by combining digital advertising with gaming.

Below, we explain what an advergame is and how it differs from gamification:

What Are Advergames’ Distinguishing Characteristics?

Advergaming is unique from traditional banner ads or video commercial spots in several fundamental ways:

  • They aren’t passive experiences—users become active participants.
  • They’re typically free to play.
  • Users can play games on multiple devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
  • The company can subtly weave its brand into the game’s art or surroundings.
  • The brand may be central to the game’s theme; you may even see a company mascot or movie character as the protagonist.

What Is Gamification?

Gamification brings game elements and methodologies to scenarios that do not otherwise involve gaming. It is a powerful way to build brand loyalty, reward behavior, and foster ongoing engagement. 

Gamification leverages the powerful, attention-grabbing qualities of interactive gaming experiences, using them instead of more traditional online marketing. For example, applying a rewards system to engage your audience with your content. 

Gamification is highly also effective for converting customers, generating leads, and engaging employees. With gamification, marketing and loyalty are incentivized by tapping into users’ emotions, turning interactive experiences into lasting relationships.

Here are a few examples of games used in gamification marketing:

  • Spin-to-win
  • Slot machine
  • Puzzle
  • Scratch off

These interactive elements are designed to exchange a fun experience for a conversion. This could mean the user downloads a resource or your game gathers complex data that is later used for deeper insights and metrics.

Look at CataBoom’s accomplishments using gamification for some of our satisfied clients. 

How Is Advergaming Different from Gamification?

While gamification and advergaming both allow users to be active participants, they do so in slightly different ways.


Gamification introduces game mechanics into traditional online advertising to make it more fun for users to follow through with desired actions. Popular examples of gamification include wheelspins, slot machines, and quizzes. Gamification rewards users for filling out a form, answering a poll, or performing other actions.


Advergaming isn’t borrowing from game mechanics—advergaming is an actual game. While gamification extends the fun of games into advertising, education, human resources, and countless other arenas, advergaming enthralls the user in a complete gaming experience.

Advergaming introduces elements of a company’s brand inside a game by using the immersive gaming experience to build brand awareness or convey the message of a campaign.

What Are the Benefits of Advergaming?

The entertainment value of a game can build a long-term, lasting connection with new customers. The following are several specific benefits of advergaming:

Large Demographic Reach

Gaming spans generations, allowing inclusive advertising to target multiple age groups with a single campaign. Here’s a breakdown of the percentage of gamers in each generation:

  • Gen Z: 81%
  • Millennials: 77%
  • Gen X: 60%
  • Baby Boomers: 42% 

Raise Brand Awareness

You can use advertising with video games as a powerful way to expose millions of users to your brand. With Chipotle Scarecrow Campaign , the brand used awareness and user engagement for their Food with Integrity campaign. The result was a highly popular game that ranked in the top 15 free iOS applications.


Advergames are highly customizable, communicating your brand’s voice, visuals, and campaign message. In the imaginative Doritos VR Battle virtual reality game, Doritos placed the product front and center through an immersive gaming experience. Players went head-to-head across changing terrain to collect Dorito chips; whoever collected the most won prizes.

What Are the Benefits of Gamification?

Gamification is ideal for encouraging your target audience to visit your service regularly, improving conversions based around their goals and motivations.

Customer Engagement and Co-Marketing

To boost customer engagement, T-Mobile offers awesome perks every other week via in-app games. Deployed each T-Mobile Tuesday, CataBoom’s T-Mobile Wack campaign was able to bring the brand: 

  • 3X more traffic
  • 3X more traffic to the sponsor’s site
  • 95,000 plays per minute
  • 50% engagement (double the average amount)

Awareness and Ticket Sales

CataBoom used gamification to boost ticket sales for the latest blockbuster, working with Cinemark to offer a collect-and-win co-marketing campaign for the launch of the film “Jumanji.” 

Players engaged in time-based award games that included:

  • Memory Game
  • Burrow Bust
  • Avoid Game
  • Puzzle
  • Match

Users could purchase tickets after their third card, with a chance to win prizes. This winning campaign resulted in 4.5-minute average playtime and doubled ticket sales.

Community Activation

Dell needed to increase interaction with their community, so CataBoom delivered—with daily engagement in the brand’s Alienware Arena community site. We developed trivia-based competitions, collect-and-wins, info slideshows, and sponsored experiences.

As a result, they saw an increase in sales, a 50% increase in website returns, and an 80% increase in community activity.

Improve Player Returns

CataBoom helped the Game Show Network (GSN) improve their daily player returns by developing a Scratch and Win game for their Wheel of Fortune app.

Every day, players had two chances to earn virtual coins, eGift cards, and up to $5,000. We helped them secure a 30% increase in their daily traffic and an 80% return rate on the Scratch and Win.

Which Option Is Right for My Brand?

Advergaming is effective when done right, leaving a lasting impression to connect your brand with a fun experience. If you’re not sure whether an advergame is suitable for your brand, ask yourself the following:

  • Do you have the substantial budget required to support unique game development?
  • Is your marketing focused on brand familiarity?
  • Are your marketing efforts primarily targeting long-term retention?

Meanwhile, gamification’s broad range of interactive games goes beyond branding to unlock analytics, drive behavior, and generate results with rewards. Gamification can also be used for loyalty, email acquisition, mobile app adoption, return visits, purchase intent creation, or subscriber onboarding. The following are reasons to move forward with gamification for your campaigns:

  • If you are seeking conversions, insights, or rewarding positive behavior changes.
  • If you need more than brand retention for specific campaign results.
  • If you are looking for game-changing strategies to boost your marketing (pun intended).

CataBoom Is Here to Help

At CataBoom, we love helping businesses make meaningful connections and gain valuable insights from their target audience. Are you interested in learning how gamification can take user engagement to the next level? Get in touch and schedule a demo with us today!

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