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Gamification in Marketing Research

November 13, 2022

Marketing is a vital component of building brand identity and reaching target demographics. However, the marketing strategy’s success depends on the quality of market research.

The benefits of thorough marketing research are numerous. They range from maintaining a customer-centric approach to learning more about target demographics, connecting with the audience, identifying growth opportunities, and becoming more competitive.

Brands and businesses of all sizes have numerous options to choose from for analyzing their market, including gamification. Why choose gamification research, and how does it work? Read on to find out.

Common problems and challenges in marketing research

Market research faces several problems and challenges that make it difficult for marketers and business owners to learn as much as possible about their target demographics. The biggest problem is motivating respondents and retaining their attention long enough to complete the research.

Sometimes potential and current customers may feel reluctant to participate in the research. Surveys are often dull, and people lose the will to continue. In other words, they’re not motivated to start and even easier decide to quit.

Other common problems and challenges in market research include:

· Poor design of the survey, i.e., inadequate theoretical framework

· Insufficient and inadequate responses to the survey

· Survey bias

· Survey requiring too much effort from respondents

· Failing to give respondents a reason to fill out a survey or participate in research

· Lack of logical structuring of the survey

Purpose of gamification in market research

The term gamification refers to the practice of applying typical game elements and principles in non-game contexts. At first glance, it may seem like gamification has nothing to do with market research, but the reality is different. The key benefit of game design elements is that they can help you successfully conduct market research. 

The primary purpose of gamification strategies in market research is to make it more engaging, meaningful, and fun. Gamified market research encourages respondents to share accurate and detailed feedback on your products or services.

What makes gamification a viable strategy is that it tackles the biggest problem in marketing research – self-determination theory, i.e., lack of motivation. People are more likely to engage with a survey or research when they don’t find it boring. The whole market research gains quality and quantity by increasing intrinsic motivation thanks to gamification techniques.

You’re probably wondering, “what can gamification be used for in research?” Well, it has several uses and applications, but gamification techniques revolve around making it easier for respondents to express themselves. Through interactive surveys, respondents have more freedom to truly describe their opinions and provide honest feedback. Game design elements prevent respondents from feeling like they’re doing a chore. The whole survey experience becomes a lot better.

The practice of gamification provides a higher level of respondent interaction and user participation. As a result, gamification techniques yield more data that marketers, businesses, and brands can work with. The statistical analysis becomes more accurate due to differentiated results and more precise feedback.

In one research, just telling respondents to play a survey game, as opposed to doing a survey, led to a transformation in their attitude and approach to the survey. That happens because gamification is about thinking of a survey as a piece of creative communication. Game design elements aren’t just visual tools but also include the content itself. Everything matters in serious games. 

The importance of the purpose of gamified research goes beyond fun, engagement, and self-determination theory. Game mechanics influence the basic psychological functions of a person. You see, video games work in a way that they gratify our need for self-fulfillment. That’s basic human behavior. Players also feel fully immersed and involved in their video games. 

That’s precisely what happens with gamified marketing research (hence the term gamification). Gamified system in marketing research feeds into a person’s sense of developmental growth and accomplishment. All this contributes to the overall user experience.

It’s also useful to mention that gamified environment through marketing research increases customer loyalty and brand awareness.

Applications of gamification extend to higher education too. Gamification refers to using game design elements in non-game contexts in general, not just for marketing. It can simplify e-learning and virtual classroom environments. Also, it can engage students and make online learning a lot easier. Gamifying education and incorporating game design elements can significantly benefit university students and their learning environments.

How to use gamification in marketing research


As seen above, game design elements can take your marketing research efforts to a whole new level. The best thing is that you can use different gamification strategies and approaches in the process. Some of the best examples are listed below.


Every game has a leaderboard where you can see the ranking of all players. You can also use one of the most popular game elements in marketing research. Doing so adds a dash of personalization to the online survey mainly because respondents can take a look at performance levels and see their names there.

The key benefit of this strategy is that it adds an element of competition to an online survey because participants are motivated to get a higher score and do better than others. 

The logical conclusion is that the survey will have a higher completion rate. This is one of the easiest gamification techniques to add to your online survey. 


Everyone likes rewards, but you don’t have to reserve them for giveaways and other contests. As one of the basic game design elements, rewards are easy to integrate into other contexts too. 

You can opt for monetary or non-monetary rewards as one of the most effective gamification elements. Make sure the reward correlates with the effort and time respondents invest in the online survey.

Star ratings

The concept of star ratings gamification techniques is simple; it asks the respondents to rank the answer choices using a five-point scale. Basically, respondents give opinions about products and services using stars to depict how satisfied or dissatisfied they are. One star indicates dissatisfaction, whereas five stars indicate a person is highly satisfied.

This type of game design element is crucial for surveys that aim to solicit feedback and preferences among customers. The star rating system makes learning more about customer perceptions of products or services easier.

At the same time, star ratings tackle a common problem with marketing research – too much effort. Respondents don’t like open-ended questions. This is a close-ended question, which they don’t mind answering.

A key benefit of the star rating gamification strategy is the ease of use. But other benefits are:

· Helps engage respondents

· Fast execution 

· Helps calculate effective insights seamlessly, i.e., simplifies data collection and statistical analysis 

· High response rate

· Offers greater differentiation in responses because each star has a different meaning

Progress bar

Progress bars are an easy and convenient way to ensure respondents know how quickly they progress through the online survey. Before respondents even start with the survey, they should be informed regarding the estimated amount of time necessary for completion.

You’ve probably noticed progress bars are common game design elements. As you’re playing a game, you see how much you have left every time you complete a quest to get to the next level.

As they’re going through the online survey from one question to another, respondents should be able to understand how much they have left at all times. That’s what the progress bar is for.

Progress bars as gaming elements are handy in longer surveys. The reason is simple; respondents usually get anxious and frustrated when it takes a long time to complete a survey. They have been answering questions for a while and wonder if they’re near the end. Progress bars help fix that.

Additionally, these gamification elements promote honesty, which adds to the transparent image of your business or brand.

The key benefit of progress bars is that they encourage online survey completion and minimize drop-out rates.

Drag & drop

Drag & drop gamification elements are quite simple. All questions in the online survey have several options. The respondent must drag each answer and drop it to a specific category representing their opinion about a product, service, feature, or something else. For example, they may be asked to rate offered answers according to importance from high to low.

This gamified system is ideal for interactive surveys because it yields many high-quality responses.

The key benefit of this technique is fun because it’s exciting to arrange items in different categories. Other benefits of the drag & drop method are: 

· Appealing and engaging

· Clean responses

· Easy to create

· Easy to understand

· Minimizes straight-lining, i.e., automatic, repetitive answers

· Higher accuracy of responses and easier data analysis

· More precise differentiation

Slider bars

Slider bar as a gamification strategy allows a respondent to drag and select a value that corresponds to their opinion about a product, service, feature, or something else. 

In a nutshell, slider bars as gamification techniques capture the intensity of the response and show just how someone is satisfied with something or whether they agree with the statement from the online survey question.

Both ends of the slider bar have numbers, icons, or labels representing the sliding scale’s opposite ends.

The key benefit of slider bars for your future research includes more precise answers, an interactive format, and a greater difference in response. You can get answers that fixed rating scales wouldn’t be able to capture.

Interactive question wording

Gamified research isn’t just about practical tools you can add to the survey. It’s also about how words you use and how you set the tone matter greatly.

The best way to motivate and keep respondents engaged is to use a friendly, approachable, and conversational style.

That way, you will obtain greater efficacy of response. It’s also helpful to mention you’re more likely to retain respondents and reduce drop-out rates. Respondents prefer to avoid boring questions with dull style. Avoid using difficult-to-understand words and phrases.

Virtual currency

This gamification research strategy allows you to create purchase decision scenarios with constraints on accessibility or availability of virtual funds.

This strategy’s key benefit is putting a survey respondent into a real-world mindset where funds and prices influence the purchase decision.

That way, you can get more honest feedback and detailed insight into the purchase intent of every respondent. Respondents complete the survey from a specific perspective and use potential scenario that explores their motivations and interaction with the social environment. 

The choices they make in the survey and the answers they provide are clear indicators of what it’s necessary to attract them as customers or clients or retain them.


The badge is similar to a reward, but it is entirely virtual. This gamification strategy shows a person’s achievement level. To get the badge, respondents need to complete the online survey.

Another option is to use points, one of the most popular game features. Respondents receive points at the end of the survey. This also includes a ranking system and shows someone’s achievement.

The key benefit of this technique is that respondents are more inclined to keep doing the survey or participate in other types of research so that they can get more points or collect different badges.

The Bottom Line

While marketing research is essential to every marketing strategy and brand promotion, people don’t respond well to standard surveys. They are not motivated to engage or complete the survey or provide detailed feedback.

Gamification research fixes these problems. The key benefit of this approach is that it relies on gamification techniques that make surveys more interactive, engaging, and motivational. Game design elements in non-game contexts, such as marketing research, lead to a higher completion rate and better quality of answers. 

Current research shows respondents are more likely to have a positive approach and perspective regarding a survey when gaming elements are involved. Further research is necessary to elucidate all the mechanisms through which gamification research works, mainly because it involves other aspects such as social interaction, psychological theories, personality traits, and more.As the top company for sales gamification, Spinify offers solutions to help you understand your customers’ behaviors through your sales team. Book a demo today to learn more about gamification techniques and what we can do to help.

Put those insights into practice.

Set your team up for success by improving their performance through gamification.

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