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5 Marketing Games That Score Big Customer Engagement Points [+9 Examples]

Discover the power of marketing games to engage customers, collect leads, and promote your brand. Learn about different types of games and see examples.

By Jane Vance ・11 min read
Business & Marketing Strategy
Campaign & Contest Ideas

I’m sure you’ve read the headlines that humans have 8-second attention spans – shorter than a goldfish! While the BBC proved the attention span myth was bogus, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get and keep your customers' attention due to all the competition out there for it. 

It’s believed that the average person sees 4,000 to 10,000 marketing messages daily. That might seem like a lot, but think about all of the digital ads, emails, social media posts, and TV commercials you come in contact with, and it starts to add up. 

It’s clear that your customers can pay attention when they want to. After all, 70% of streaming-service customers binge-watch shows on platforms like Netflix, and the average gamer spends 8.6 hours a week playing video games. But how do you make your brand stand out? 

Think about what is getting and keeping the attention of your target market – exciting content and interactive experiences. Why not create interactive content for your brand? Marketing games are the perfect interactive content solution to both engage your customers and capture their attention.

Marketing games are a form of interactive content marketing. Games allow you to engage your customers, increase the time they spend with your brand and collect leads.

Five Types of Marketing Games + Examples

There are more than five kinds of marketing games. For example, you could invest in a full-blown video game featuring your brand. However, this level of gamification (and the big bucks you’d need to spend to achieve it) is likely unnecessary to reach your target audience and achieve your marketing goals. Instead, a simple game like those listed below is all it takes to engage your customers. 

Instant Win Games

Do you ever wonder why slot machines are so appealing? It’s the instant gratification folks experience each time they spin the reel. Instant win marketing games offer that same feeling of instant gratification by revealing if the entrant won immediately upon submission.

Instant win games are an effective option for driving brand awareness, collecting leads, and driving sales. The lead collection aspect is probably pretty obvious, but let’s dive into the other two advantages of using instant win games.

Unlike traditional sweepstakes, instant win giveaways are incredibly shareable, which helps promote brand awareness. In a traditional sweepstakes, participants wait until the end of an entry period before a winner is drawn, so it makes less sense to encourage friends and family to enter when they’re “competition.” However, instant win giveaways reveal winners and losers immediately, so there isn’t the same sense of competition for prizes. 

Similarly, an interactive component, like scratching an image, spinning a wheel, or pulling the lever on a slot machine, allows you to add branded content your customer must engage with to determine if they won. This additional time of exposure customers have to your brand can help your products and services stay top of mind.

Finally, instant win games are an excellent opportunity to drive sales. The most obvious way to do this is by awarding discount codes or freebies as prizes. Saving money with a BOGO for lunch with a friend, free shipping, or 30% off a purchase can make someone smile just as much as a physical prize. 

Instant Win Example: Evergreens Restaurants 12 Day of Giveaways

Evergreens, a fast-casual restaurant chain in the Pacific Northwest, hosted a 12 Days of Giveaways campaign to drive engagement and sales during what is typically their slowest period. Over 12 days, they revealed a truly an epic lineup of instant win games, discounts, and giveaways that scored them a 15% sales bump with 400% ROI. 

On day two of their campaign, Evergreens featured a Scratch & Win giveaway, where participants submitted a form, then received a digital scratch card that revealed if they had won. Two hundred fifty lucky winners received discounts on their Evergreens order – 15%, 25%, 50%, or even 75% off. 

Learn more about Evergreen’s success in our blog post, How Evergreens Restaurants Saw a 15% Sales Bump & 400% ROI with ShortStack Contests.

USE SCRATCH & WIN TEMPLATE

Instant Win Example: Rogue Ales and Spirit’s Spin to Win Contest

To help promote the rebranding of their popular line of canned cocktails, Rogue Ales and Spirits ran their #MixedOpportunities Instant Win giveaway.  The contest spread the word about their high-quality canned cocktails, raised awareness of their cans’ new look, and collected new customer email addresses. The Rogue team used a Spin the Reels contest where entrants filled out a form to reveal a virtual slot machine graphic, then clicked a button to spin the reel. If the reel landed on three matching symbols, then the entrant was an instant winner.

Read our blog post, Rogue Ales & Spirits’ Spin to Win Contest Raked in 22K+ Leads & Raised Product Redesign Awareness, to learn more about Rogue’s campaign. 

USE SPIN TO WIN TEMPLATE

Puzzles

Have you ever spent an entire weekend working on a jigsaw puzzle or challenged yourself with a daily dose of Wordle? Puzzles require focus and give the solver a sense of accomplishment (and a little dose of dopamine) when completed. Capture the power of puzzles for your brand with interactive puzzle games.  

Marketing puzzles ask your audience to solve problems like an interactive jigsaw puzzle, crossword, word scrambles, or other brain teasers. Puzzles capture your customers’ attention and increase the amount of time they spend with your brand. Spending a sustainable amount of time staring at branded content, like images of your products, your logo, or the name of your service, will increase the likelihood that a person will purchase from your company in the future.

Interactive Puzzle Example: SeaComm Federal Credit Union’s Pic-to-Plunky Giveaway

SeaComm Federal Credit Union is a regional credit union in New York and Vermont. Each March, they hold a St. Patrick’s campaign featuring their mascot Plunky, a leprechaun, to increase customer engagement and promote brand awareness. In 2022, the SeaComm team used daily digital jigsaw puzzles to meet these goals. 

During the Pic-to-Plunky contest, a new jigsaw puzzle was revealed each day at noon.  Puzzles had between nine and 25 pieces. Depending on its complexity, participants had 45 seconds to three minutes to solve the daily puzzle. Folks who completed the puzzle could enter to win the $500 grand prize.

Read about SeaComm Federal Credit Union’s successful campaign in our blog post, A Branded Jigsaw Puzzle Contest Helped One Financial Institution Collect 15K Entries Fast.

USE PUZZLE TEMPLATE

Knowledge Games

Have you ever noticed how competitive folks get at trivia night? Harness that energy for your next marketing campaign with a knowledge quiz or trivia game. Ask people a series of questions related to your brand, product, industry, or something else you know they love, then watch the magic happen.

Knowledge quizzes and trivia can be used to collect leads and promote. You can generate leads by asking participants to enter their email addresses, as well as other information you’d like to collect, in order to reveal their results. As a bonus, quiz takers love sharing their results to show off their knowledge, which promotes brand awareness. 

Knowledge Quiz Example: Netflix’s “You” Trivia

Netflix created a quiz to test fans' knowledge of the hit drama “You,” which fans could take before watching the new season. After answering 20 questions about the series, quiz-takers receive a score. This quiz engages fans and piques the interest of folks who haven’t started binge-ing the series, making it a fun way to promote the new season.

USE KNOWLEDGE QUIZ TEMPLATE

Knowledge Quiz Example: Ikon Pass’s “Celebrating an Icon” Fan Sweepstakes

Mikaela Shiffrin is a skiing legend and Ikon Pass ambassador. To celebrate Shiffrin becoming the winningest all-time womens skier, Ikon Pass created a giveaway based on Shiffrin trivia. To participate, people answered several questions about Shiffrin’s career and then filled out a form to see their results. Quiz-takers with a score of 83% and over were eligible to win a prize package filled with Ikon Pass goodies, including ski passes and lodging at Ikon Pass resorts.  

USE KNOWLEDGE QUIZ TEMPLATE

Personality Quizzes

Quizzes are a clear winner for any marketer hoping to engage customers and collect leads. Buzzfeed-style personality quizzes are not only fun, but they’re also a wonderful opportunity to expose people to your brand. Quiz-takers enjoy sharing and comparing their results with friends, which leads to more eyes on your brand. Furthermore, studies have shown that the conversion rate for quizzes is over 30%, much higher than the average of 3 to 6% for most lead-capture pages. 

Personality Quiz Example: Rebel Girls Boundless “What Kind of Rebel Girl are you?” quiz

Timbuktu Labs, Inc is an indie publisher of books and digital media that empowers young girls through books such as Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls and the online digital magazine Rebel Girls Boundless. They created a personality quiz to promote the magazine and drive lead generation and engagement. 

Visitors to the campaign took the quiz to learn which of the five Rebel Girls Boundless categories fit them best: the Pioneer, the Warrior, the Leader, the Creator, and the Champion. Quiz takers filled out a form to reveal their personality, which they could share with friends. The quiz was so successful that the Timbuktu Labs team added interactive elements to each campaign they launched to increase engagement and brand awareness and continue growing their subscriber list. 

Learn more about Timbuktu Labs and their quiz in our blog post, How a digital magazine used a personality quiz to drive engagement and lead generation.

USE PERSONALITY QUIZ TEMPLATE

Personality Quiz Example: Stemcell Technologies’ “Which Immune Cell Are You?” quiz

Stemcell Technologies is a leading biotechnology firm specializing in cell culture media and separation products for laboratory research. The company works with scientists to better understand their needs and provide products that maximize their research results. 

During the pandemic, the scientific community stopped in-person conferences. However, during the height of the COVID pandemic, many conferences were held remotely, making it harder for companies like Stemcell Technologies to get their audiences’ attention and continue to share knowledge. 

The Stemcell Technologies team created a personality quiz called “Which Immune Cell Are You?”  to help raise awareness of their submissions to a virtual immunology conference. Participants answer questions to reveal which immune cell fits their personality. The quiz turned so many heads that NPR even featured it in a story! 

USE PERSONALITY QUIZ TEMPLATE

Hidden Objects Games

Hidden objects games are simple but addictive. People of all ages love challenging their minds with finding something hidden within a busy image. They also provide an excellent opportunity to promote your brand.

Hidden objects games are powerful tools for reinforcing branding, boosting product and brand awareness, and increasing time on site. Asking people to search images featuring your brand, logo, or products can introduce them to your brand or provide visual cues reinforcing your positioning. Furthermore, the more time your customers spend with your brand, the more likely your products and services will be on the top of their minds when they go to make a purchase.

Hidden Objects Example: Tootsie Roll’s “Mr. Owl’s Valentine’s Day Candy Search”

Everyone knows Tootsie Roll, Tootsie Pops, and the iconic Mr. Owl. The Tootsie Roll team created a love-filled hidden object search as a Valentine’s Day treat to engage old customers and attract new ones.

To participate, searchers clicked a button to unlock the first clue. A new clue showed after eachcorrect object was located. Once all five objects were found, a form was displayed giving the searcher the option to enter their information for a chance to win Tootsie Roll treats. 

USE HIDDEN OBJECTS TEMPLATE

Hidden Objects Example: Regatta’s “The Great Regatta Easter Egg Hunt”

Regatta is an outdoor clothing retailer based in the U.K. For Easter, they created an egg hunt with a twist. Folks read clues on their contest landing page, then visited the Regatta website to find the products that matched the clues. The correct products showed eggs to indicate the searcher had found the correct object. Once searchers located all three eggs, they could enter to win Regatta gear! 

Hosting an egg (or another object) hunt on a website is a great way to familiarize customers with your products and boost their time on your site. They might even start shopping right away, so it’s also an excellent opportunity to send along a discount code to encourage them to click “BUY NOW.”

READ GUIDE

Try a Marketing Game of Your Own! 

Excited about the benefits of adding gamification to your content marketing strategy? You should be! Marketing games tick so many boxes: customer engagement, lead generation, brand awareness… the list goes on. 

ShortStack offers a wide range of games to help you meet your marketing goals. Get started today or chat with our sales team to learn more about using ShortStack games for your next online marketing campaign.

About the author

By Jane Vance ・11 min read
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Jane has over a decade of martech experience, with an emphasis in content marketing, UX, and customer success. Her combined skillset and years of hands-on experience make her a valuable player in the industry. In her free time, Jane loves quiet family dinners at home and a good book.


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