How Do Instant Win Games Work? [And How to Use Them to Your Advantage]


Today’s consumers are more advertising savvy than ever. They unconsciously ignore ads, click out of popup, and hesitate to give away personal information to brands even for personalized deals. This is where gamification marketing can make a difference. 

Gamification is the use of game mechanics to digitally engage and motivate consumers. Many different types of gamification mechanics exist and  pairing  gamification with an instant win to reward consumers is rapidly gaining popularity. 

But how do instant win games work and how can they make your marketing strategy successful? 

5 Ways to Use Instant Win Gamification to Amplify Promotions

Here are five ways to take your promotions to the next level using instant win gamification:

1. Combine Suspense with Instant Gratification

You would think these feelings would cancel each other out, but when used correctly (see the prize allocation section below), they can work together. The suspense comes from what kind of prize is won (or if they win a prize at all), and players are not left waiting to see if they’ve won a prize or not.

2. Create a More Robust Engagement Experience

Instant win promotions can create a more engaging experience for potential and current consumers. It doesn’t feel like advertising because the game is interactive, and there’s a chance the player will win something. 

3. Provide Branding Opportunities to Eager Audiences

People love to play games.. Using an instant win campaign can strategically elevate your brand with consumers through extrinsic motivation to engage with a value exchange that more intentionally grabs their attention.  

4. Make Interacting with Your Brand Fun

As mentioned, consumers are more intelligent and ignore a good percentage of traditional ads.

Tying in instant win gamification can grab consumers attention within a crowded marketplace by making the interaction more fun. People love playing games, and when playing the game provides the opportunity to win a real prize, it makes the engagement even more enticing. 

5. Create the Opportunity to Reach More People

Instant wins are the perfect marketing strategy to increase your customer base. Instant win games are very shareable. Consumers can become very excited about an instant win game, especially if they win. Tying in another chance to win by taking the action to share the game is a great way to expand the reach of your promotion.

Instant Win Prizing Best Practices

Follow these three best practices to make the most of your instant win campaign:

Pick Prizes that Matter to Your Audience

You can’t just seed a game to your audience and hope for the best.  The most effective way to make your instant gamification strategy more effective is to distribute instant win prizes with a curated eye.No one will want to play even with the instant factor unless you offer compelling prizes. 

Cinemark is a perfect example of choosing the right prizes for a targeted audience. Partnering with CataBoom, the movie theater chain created an instant win/sweepstakes campaign. Players could instantly win Marvel merch or movie tickets while being entered for a chance to win tickets to the grand premiere of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

This successful  campaign gave away 12,000 prizes and had 120,000 unique plays.

Remember Your ROI

There are many ways to enhance your instant win campaign to get the most significant ROI. One tactic is deploying  smaller instant win games that act as an entry to a larger sweepstakes prize. 

This creates instant gratification and the opportunity to build suspense for the bigger prize. Smart CTAs can also build buzz t, like “Over 100 prizes!” or “Only 50 prizes available!”  

Use Timing to Your Advantage

Whether seasonal or event-specific, you can build extra excitement for your instant win campaign by timing it with  tentpole moments..

For example, during the National Retail Federation's Big Show exploring tech in retail, Intel premiered a gamified blockchain game through CataBoom’s game engine platform. The game included a PepsiCo blockchain object transfer from video to mobile screens. This program was SO successful, Forbes called it one of the top five digital experiences at the event. 

2 Types of Instant Win Prize Allocation

Two ways to distribute instant win prizes are time-based and odds-based allocation.

1. Time-Based

A brand can offer time-based prizes to gather consumers at a specific moment of your choosing. For example, you tell your customers that at 2 PM, 100 instant win prizes will be available. 

You could also split up the distribution of prizes so the first 20 people get the biggest prize, the next 30 get the second prize, and the final 50 get the third —driving timely competition among your consumers. 

If you want to make suspense the focus, include a countdown timer that customers can watch as they tense up, preparing to be one of the first 100 people to click on the prize link. 

2. Odds-Based

Odds-based prize distribution includes random wins, so players understand everyone has the same chance. Deployment of odds-based prizes in instant win gamification includes spin-to-win and scratch-off games. 

Odds-based instant win prize distribution is based on probability ,offering both suspense and instant gratification. When there are different prizes to win, the player will be excited to know which prize they’ll walk away with—if they win at all.. 

Let CataBoom Help You with Your Instant Win Marketing!

Across all industries, CataBoom will help enhance your marketing strategies through gamification. Our robust, advanced prize engine has over 200 types of games any brand can string together in custom combinations to create a multi-game experience for your customers. 

Contact us today to learn more about the gamification marketing strategies that best fit your business—and your budget.