Instant Win Gamification: The Psychology Behind It & How It Influences Consumers


A brand name alone is no longer a pillar of consumer loyalty. Instead, businesses must actively engage with consumers to grab their attention and keep them loyal. 

To do so, brands must understand that the craving for instant gratification among consumers is stronger than ever—everyone wants the latest news, entertainment, and products now. This desire affects behaviors, prompting loyalties to shift: In 2020, 36% of consumers tried a new brand, with 73% continuing to do so to get the product they need. 

The need for instant gratification ties  into the “pleasure principle,”  a powerful force that assures people will always do what they can to satisfy their wants and needs. 

Through the use of Instant win games,  brands can motivate extrinsic behavior and directly appeal to this principle. A consumer plays the game and instantly wins—or not. There’s no waiting. No what-ifs. No concern for the unknown.

How Does Instant Win Gamification Influence Consumers?

Instant win gamification gives consumers a dopamine rush by instantly rewarding them when they perform a brand’s desired behavior. This differs from other gamification strategies that may require a customer to wait before learning the results.  

Instant win gamification can influence consumers in very specific ways, increasing clicks, purchases, and engagement. 

People Are Loss-Averse

Nobody likes to lose, but waiting around only to find out you lost is even worse. Instant win games create an opportunity to know right away, making it more likely that a consumer is going to play. 

CataBoom's instant win campaign for Shoe Carnival is a perfect example. The promotion featured a “Yeti Railroad” for Shoe Carnival’s consumers to “ride”. Returning daily to play, consumers were engaged to instantly win gift cards, discount codes, or a grand prize. 

This successful campaign had 250,000 unique plays and drove 120,000 registrations. 

Immediacy is Key

There’s no instant win without instant answers. This type of gamification satisfies consumers’ need to know NOW if they won to create an atmosphere of immediacy. 

By making consumers feel they might miss out without playing, instant win games can drive them to behave as a brand prefers. 

CataBoom used immediacy to Ruby Tuesday’s advantage to help celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Through the use of a slot-machine mechanic, consumers experienced a rush to see where the wheels landed for a chance to win a mix of instant win and sweepstakes prizes. This promotion gained Ruby Tuesday 900,000 impressions throughout the campaign while earning a 50% increase in website returns.

Low Commitment Culture 

One of the best aspects of instant win gamification is there’s no extended time commitment for players-no forms to fill out, timeline to keep track of, or email to look for. All they have to do is take one action, and they’re done.

Value Equation

The value equation is how much effort is needed to play a game versus a player’s chance of winning. Instant win gamification solves this issue by requiring minimal effort. 

Players don’t need to know trivia or show off their fantastic gameplay skills. They just have to do the one action a brand requires to learn whether they won. 

Using CataBoom’s Catapult platform, Southwest Airlines gained 1.07 million unique players in a simple scratch-off instant win game, motivating consumers to play for a chance to win round-trip  airfare, companion passes and bonus loyalty points. 

Benefits of Instant Win Games for Brands

Increases Engagement

Since it’s obvious that people love to win prizes, instant win gamification can create more engagement for your brand and traffic for your site. Allowing multiple entries into your game increases the likelihood that people will keep coming back for more chances to win. 

Creates More Loyalty

More engagement creates a more robust brand connection, increasing loyalty. As this connection continues to grow, your customers see you as more than just a preferred brand—they see you as part of their lives. 

Increases Brand Awareness and Advocacy

Increasing your brand presence online means constantly getting your name out. Utilizing instant win games to engage your customers keeps your top of mind and can encourage your most loyal customers to share more about your brand. 

Creates the Potential for Virality

Who doesn’t want to go viral? Deploying an accessible game that offers instant prizes gives any brand an excellent  chance to get millions of eyes on their product.

Who wouldn't want to share an opportunity to win prizes with their friends and family?

Uses a Fixed Budget Productively

When a campaign has a small budget, instant win games are a great resource. The enticing factor is its speed, so a prize as simple as a discount code can take a single campaign far.

CataBoom’s Catapult Platform Includes the Most Powerful and Dynamic Instant Win Prizing Engine on the Market

With CataBoom’s Catapult platform, not only can you create an instant win experience uniquely branded for your campaign, you will have the flexibility to allocate prizes in a way that will be most meaningful to your audience. So, no matter your marketing goals, CataBoom can help  you create instant gratification opportunities for your customers more accessible and impactful than ever before.

Contact us today to get started!