Beyond Push Notifications: Gamifying User Experience

Kanishka Thakur
April 18, 2023
5min read


User experience plays a significant role in influencing the retention and growth of consumer companies. While retaining a user helps in getting repeat purchases, higher use time, and essentially an increase in transaction value, it has now become a problem for a majority of these companies which leads to a drop in retention rates. 

This article will talk you through why you need to move beyond the traditional retention strategies and take a more interactive approach toward achieving customer stickiness.

Why push notifications just don’t work anymore

Push notifications, once considered an effective tool for retaining users, have now become a commodity. Their overuse often leads to users disabling notifications or uninstalling the app altogether. 

Recognizing the need for a more efficient solution, product managers are constantly trying alternate methods to stop their users from churning. A promising alternative to push notifications is gamification—the integration of game mechanics into non-gaming environments, to increase engagement and user retention.

Why gamification?

Gamification engages users and taps into their innate motivations pushing them to perform core activities inside the app. This approach leads to higher retention rates compared to traditional push notifications, which can be intrusive and irritating. 

Numerous successful mobile apps have adopted gamification to increase user engagement and retention. Cred, for example, hosted a 24-hour tournament for a game called Super Blaster. One of the users continuously played for 22 hours just to rank #1 and win the reward of Rs. 10,000. 

Thus, by tapping into users' inherent motivations and providing personalized experiences, gamification can create a sense of investment and commitment that keeps users coming back for more, making it a great addition to an otherwise typical user experience, which also acts as a great differentiator.

An effective way to understand and implement gamification is through the Octalysis Framework, developed by Yu-kai Chou.

The framework includes eight core drivers that resonate with the user’s behavior and foster long-term engagement. Implementing gamification inside user journeys is crucial where companies must understand their target audience and design game elements that resonate with them. Moreover, striking the right balance between fun and functionality is crucial to ensure that the core value proposition of the app remains intact.

Here’s why gamification works:

  • Intrinsically motivating: Unlike push notifications, which rely on external prompts, gamification taps into intrinsic motivation by appealing to users' natural drives for accomplishment, mastery, and social connection.
  • Creates personalized experiences: Gamification enables product teams to create tailored experiences that cater to individual users' preferences and behaviors. This fosters a deeper sense of investment and commitment, as users feel that the app understands and values their unique interests and goals.
  • Offers positive reinforcement: Gamification can reinforce desired behaviors and outcomes through rewards, feedback, and progress tracking. This creates a sense of achievement and encourages users to continue engaging with the app.
  • Enhances social engagement: Many gamification strategies incorporate social elements, such as leaderboards, challenges, and challenges, which tap into users' desires for recognition and competition. This can create a sense of community and belonging that drives engagement and retention.

Elevate your user experience

The attention span of a user is lower than ever because of an overstimulated internet environment and a constant fight for attention. This requires companies to move beyond push notifications and create more personalized and interactive experiences for their customers that not just capture their attention but also successfully convert and retain them as a user.

Customer stickiness is a huge challenge, given the overcrowded market space, but you can integrate a differentiator by tapping into gamification that allows you to take the reins and guide the users with touchpoints that are not just important for you, but fun for them to engage in as well. 

If you’re looking to get started with gamification, but don’t want the trouble of spending hours coding and integrating game-like features within your platform, let us help. Check out Nudge and give your users the last push they need!

Kanishka Thakur
April 18, 2023