Is Gamification a Winning Marketing Strategy for Fintech Businesses?

gamification marketing strategy

The idea of “gamification” has had a meteoric rise in marketing and product development over the past few years.

With gamification, you use rewards, competitions, and games to get a potential customer or current user to perform a certain action.

Spin a wheel and get a certain percentage off your purchase. Buy a Big Mac and get a Monopoly game piece. Drop your business card into the bowl at the trade show for a chance to win a huge prize. All of these are examples of gamification.

But in the fintech world, gamification can be tricky.

Finance is a serious business. Kitschy in-app games, leaderboards and virtual badges of honor can make your firm come off as unreliable, unprofessional or downright suspect.

Done right, however, gamification has two major benefits your business should consider:

  1. Increased Customer Engagement: For a lot of people, banking, investing, or checking your insurance policy simply isn’t “fun.” No wonder, then, that people in the industry have a difficult time keeping their customers engaged. By gamifying acquisition or part of the product, you’re turning a would-be chore into an activity that your customers actually get something out of — even if that “something” is just virtual points that can be spent on virtual rewards. People will spend longer on your app or website and visit it more frequently.
  2. Increased Customer Retention: It’s widely noted that it costs more money to acquire a new client than it does to keep the ones you have. Well, because of that engagement factor, gamification is fantastic for customer retention. When you reward your clients for something (logging into your app, making a transaction, leaving a review, etc.), they’re more likely to stick with your business.

Where Can Fintech Firms Use Gamification?

If you’re thinking about introducing gamification into your overall marketing strategy, here are a few fintech-centric areas to consider.

Financial Management and Literacy

A big part of a fintech company’s job is to educate their clientele, and gamification is a great way to manage that. Reward users for reading blog posts or watching short videos on financial matters.

Motivate Savings

Saving money is a struggle for many people, especially in the current economy. Encourage your clients to set a goal and use a savings tracker to show their progress. Set rewards that increase at each milestone.

Referral Bonuses

Why spend time and money recruiting customers to your firm when your existing customers can do it for you? By providing a referral bonus, you’re encouraging people to spread the word about your business. You can even use a live leaderboard to show who’s made the most successful referrals, which encourages people to work even harder for you.

When Gamification Goes Wrong

It’s all fun and games … until it isn’t. Which is why any firm considering gamification needs to hear a cautionary tale.

In June 2020, 20-year-old Alex Kearns took his own life after he saw a negative $730,000 account balance in Robinhood — a trading and investing app — and was unable to find out why after trying to contact customer support.

For Kearns, who knew little about investing, the platform was incredibly simple to use. He was even approved to trade options on margin, despite failing to meet Robinhood’s own qualifications to do so. And he likely didn’t owe any money at all — according to a lawsuit filed by his family, the number likely only reflected part of his outstanding trades. (Robinhood eventually settled with the family for an undisclosed amount.)

After news of the suicide came out, Robinhood faced intense scrutiny for the level of gamification in the app. Features such as a confetti effect while placing trades appeared to downplay the serious financial decisions its users were making.

The Bottom Line

Gamification can work for the fintech industry, but it must be done responsibly.

You can attract customers, and engage with consumers, in a more entertaining way. But ultimately, you’re dealing with people’s hard-earned money — a fact that must always be kept front and center.

Are you interested in more ways to increase engagement, retain existing customers and attract new ones? Mischa Communications can help. Let’s get started.