Customer Retention

8 Industries Where Gamification Thrives


Gamification has been growing exponentially for over a decade. And this trend is expected to continue as companies increasingly use gamification in different industries. The global gamification market is forecasted to reach $58.8 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 26.8%!

There’s no question about the positive impact of gamification in industry marketing channels. A recent study concluded that companies using gamification either with their employees or consumers were SEVEN times more profitable than companies that don’t incorporate gamification.  

What Are the 4 Major Elements of Gamification in Different Industries?

No matter what industry you’re in, gamification is the most effective when it includes the following four elements:

The Trigger

The trigger entices the user to draw them in. The experience must be quick to load, easy to run, and free to use. 

The Investment

When a person’s curiosity is piqued, they understand they’re investing time and effort to play along. A well-designed game communicates that moving forward is worth the user’s investment.

The Action

Time to deliver on a user’s curiosity! The action should keep them engaged so they will pursue a potential reward and willingly share their data when requested.

The Reward

The reward is the end goal. For the user, it's earning points, a potential prize, or other motivators. For advertisers, it's data they're aiming to gather.

Keeping these gamification elements in mind, let’s look at eight thriving industries that use these elements to boost engagement, increase sales, and encourage positive, desired behavior.

1. Travel & Hospitality

Whether it’s a tourist traveling the world to take in the sights and sounds, or someone looking for the best deal on a hotel stay, gamification is a powerful tool in travel and hospitality.

Gamification is also used on-location by museums and famous landmarks for interactive tours, QR codes to connect people to unique destinations—even Augmented Reality (AR) engagements.

Gamification makes it possible for cities, locations, and hotels to learn the most popular destinations and how long people stay when they travel.

Best Western

Best Western was looking to boost engagement with customers and employees, so CataBoom developed a travel-themed game to inspire engagement with business-to-customer (B2C) and business-to-employee (B2E).

Users played this customized instant-win slots game to win loyalty points, including a 150,000-point grand prize. The result was a 2X increase in engagement.

2. Restaurants

Gamification is used widely by restaurants when they want customers to know about new entrees, encourage more visits, and remain consistent with brand visibility.

KFC Japan

KFC Japan used its mobile game—Shrimp Attack—to promote its Ebi Shrimp. Its app got more than 854,000 plays, driving a 106% increase in sales over the previous year.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut is no stranger to the impact of gamification campaigns. For one campaign, CataBoom worked with the company to create a game for promoting their breadstick appetizers on the website. Visitors launched pizza boxes at the breadsticks to win a reward when they made contact.

For an email marketing campaign, Pizza Hut used a jackpot slot machine where subscribers could win a 10–50% discount on their next order.

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday’s gamification campaign was aimed at a younger demographic using sweepstakes, instant-win, and reel slots gaming components to collect data.

Players signed up with their name, zip code, and email to play ten levels of a birthday-themed slot machine, where they could win food and gift cards, plus a grand prize of $500,000. This highly successful experience resulted in 900,000 impressions and a 50% increase in website returns.

TGI Friday’s

CataBoom helped TGI Friday’s launch an ongoing mobile app to give loyalty members a chance to win points, prizes, and food, resulting in a 2X increase in campaign engagement.

3. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs)

Especially during challenging economic times, people turn to eCommerce to compare consumer packaged goods (CPGs) prices. Gamification for CPGs can include reducing shopping cart abandonment. This keeps users engaged while moving them through a funnel, converting sales, and inspiring loyalty. Using gamification also allows eCommerce customers to apply familiar gaming techniques to retail purchasing.

Suppose consumers are offered the right incentives and remain engaged throughout the process. In that case, gamification can encourage them to try new brands while shopping for cost-savings and features over loyalty. 


CataBoom helped Dewar's launch a campaign with three elements:

  • A scratch game where people could win Dewar's-featured cocktails.
  • A reimbursement to bars that served them.
  • A coupon or rebate for Dewar's purchases.

This resulted in a 2X increase in engagement.


Sony Pictures Entertainment and the candy maker Ferrara created an immersive Halloween game for kids and families. The campaign was designed to let children have a trick-or-treat experience in the safety of their own homes during COVID-19 restrictions.

An augmented reality (AR) ghost hunt, the game promoted Sony’s relaunch of the famous Ghostbusters franchise. The Haunted Candy Hunt allowed users to stun AR ghosts with a virtual proton pack, using a clock countdown to add excitement and engagement. Ferrara cleverly added their unique ghost character, Sweeter, seamlessly branding without breaking from the interaction. Users could enter sweepstakes as well.

This campaign resulted in more than 31,000 active users that spent an average of 2.5 minutes per session, compared to traditional marketing, which typically captures attention for 3-7 seconds.

4. Retail

Retail encompasses a wide range of business models, but they all share unique benefits from gamification.


Since 1995, eBay has had its finger on the pulse of gamification. Bidding on auctions with the potential of winning that unique item embodies everything about the effectiveness of this tactic.

Users are captivated as the initial price rises with each new bid and competition builds. Who will win, and at what price? All of the excitement is enhanced even more with an auction countdown.

Shoe Carnival

Shoe Carnival wanted to drive interaction and registrations with new and existing customers, so CataBoom developed an instant-win game. Users could take a ride on a “Yeti Railroad,” where four stops could lead to gift cards, discounts, and a grand prize.

This resulted in 250,000 plays and 120,000 registrations.

5. Education

Gamification involves interaction and engagement that drives desired behavioral outcomes, but it’s only sometimes about marketing and sales. In education, gamification is used for multiple purposes, including supporting teachers with interactive materials, providing affordable curricula, facilitating original lessons, and reinforcing students’ efforts with rewards. 


A great example is the popular learning software Kahoot! This platform helps teachers create gamified lessons using polls, quizzes, and reviews. For example, players can create multiple-choice quizzes and get real-time results. The system tracks all interactions, rewarding students based on desired criteria.

6. FinTech & Telecom

Businesses in these two sectors rely on gaining new customers and driving sales, but often that begins with educating users as much as engaging them. In FinTech, gamification boosts customer loyalty, increases engagement, gathers data, trains employees, and reinforces financial literacy and responsibility with rewards. 


Robinhood lets users invest in speculative assets like stocks and cryptocurrencies. The company used gamification to reward customers for referring their friends. Robinhood would reward the customer with a share of a random stock for each friend who signed up.


A personal financial app, Qapital uses gamification throughout every function of its service to help users learn about saving and investing.

Customers can embark on Money Mission games to set financial goals—for instance, micro-investing by “rounding up” purchases from the app. Using gamification, users learn to budget. When they spend in different categories, like groceries or buying coffee, the app automatically saves or invests what’s left over.

Gamification has helped Qapital gain over 2 million users while maintaining a 5-star rating.


There aren’t many names in telecom more widely known than T-Mobile. So, when they came to CataBoom to boost engagement and co-sponsor web traffic, we helped develop T-Mobile Whack to accomplish those goals. 

T-Mobile Whack deploys bi-weekly games inside the T-Mobile app as part of their highly successful “T-Mobile Tuesdays,” featuring different brand partners through various games customized for each partner’s goals and features.

This campaign generated the following:

  • Three times the amount of regular traffic to partner websites
  • 95,000 plays per minute
  • Engagement from 50% of all subscribers
  • Two times the average level of campaign engagement

7. Health & Wellness

Gamified fitness apps allow you to track, share, and optimize your workouts. The following are three ways companies are driving fitness with technology:


The SWEAT app, for example, used gamification for customer motivation, scoring more downloads than Nike+ and MyFitnessPal in 2021. SWEAT incorporates a virtual trainer and community challenges among its successful strategies to engage users and reinforce their goals.

Whoop Strap

Viewed as a professional athlete’s FitBit, Whoop Strap tracks your heart rate, which sounds simple enough. But—remarkably—it connects numerous data points to a player’s heart rate to infer what activities they’re participating in every minute of the day. 

The companion app takes data for every activity (including sleep quality), provides ratings, and helps you optimize behaviors for maximum fitness and wellness.

Apple Watch Rings

Apple watch rings use gamification to engage users to act on their fitness with three straightforward goals: moving, exercising, and standing. Reaching each daily goal will complete each of the three rings. For those who use a wheelchair, standing is replaced with rolling to complete that ring task.

8. Healthcare

Technology, specifically the Internet of Things (IoT), revolutionizes healthcare. The following are two great examples of how gamification is pushing the future of healthcare forward:


Most apps that assist people with diabetes provide a place for users to track their sugar levels, insulin dosages, and other recordkeeping traditionally done manually. But these still require much data entry, time, and bookkeeping.

mySugr gamifies good habits for people with diabetes by rewarding good behavior and rooting users on by providing fun challenges to help them better manage their health.

Mango Health

Mango Health uses gamification to remind patients when to take their pills, rewarding them with gift cards and even charity donations.

Let CataBoom Bring Gamification to Your Brand

Organizations use gamification in different industries to encourage positive behavior, improve health and fitness, and increase brand recognition and sales. How do you envision gamification can transform your user engagements?

We love helping clients find the perfect way to gamify their products and services. From hospitality to healthcare—it’s time to put gamification to work for your business.

Get in touch with us to schedule a demo and talk to our gamification experts today!