6 steps only to make your competition go viral with gamification

How to make a competition viral with gamification in 6 steps

Thanks to their viral qualities, competitions are powerful marketing tools so it is important to master setting them up. It is a simple and effective way to grow your community and, by extension, your reputation and even your sales. Viral marketing campaigns are often used as part of larger publicity strategies, to spread the word about products or services to new markets or consumers. They can also be used to encourage people who have already bought products or services from a company to continue to do so in the future.

The 6 steps to make your competition go viral:

  1. Identify the type of participants and the right time to launch it

The main idea of viral marketing is to reach a large audience. The idea underpinning this is that if someone shares your content, it will be shared among their friends, who will share it with their friends and so on, so you can be sure that your information will be shared quickly and effectively. If you are trying to increase awareness of your brand or deal, then it’s a great tool to integrate into your campaign. And to reap the benefits of such a marketing campaign, it is essential that you follow a few basic rules.

1. Identify the type of participants and the right time to launch it

The first step in creating a viral competition is to identify your audience and your target audience. Ask yourself the right questions: Who are you targetting? What are the demographics of your target audience? Where do they spend the majority of their time online? When are they most likely to engage in your brand’s content or your line of business? Also consider the community that you have already established and the target that you want to attract.

To make your competition go viral, you must also choose a launch date that makes sense and will not seem out of place for the message or offer you are trying to convey when integrating it into your communication strategy. There are numerous options available to you when finding the right time to launch. For example, you can create a game based around a special international day or popular celebration, such as Halloween or Valentine’s Day. Another date which makes sense may be in conjunction with your market, linked to your activity, such as seasonal sales for a ready-made clothing brand or the Olympic Games for a sports brand. The final option is to find a date that makes sense for your own business, such as the anniversary of its creation or the release of flagship products.

2. Determine the suitable type of competition and gamification to use

Now you need to choose the type of game you are going to create. Quizzes, tests, competitions…there are so many choices! The type of competition that you organise will depend partly on your audience and partly on the objectives you have set. For example, if you are trying to reach a large number of people, a photo contest would be ideal. If you want to increase sales or encourage people to subscribe to a newsletter, why not think about organising an interactive quiz? However, if your goal is simply to create a buzz around a new release or a product that is about to be launched in your company, an instant-winner competition might be the best option for you.

Gaming mechanisms vary considerably depending on the desired objectives. Nevertheless, the most important thing is to promote interactions and generate engagement with your content to make it go viral. Creating your own competition, therefore, requires ingenuity and originality to encourage participation. You can use any format: something short with small gifts or a longer campaign, requiring a greater investment to win the best prize. The goal is to stand out from your competitors. Even if you manage to launch a competition with an original idea, that doesn’t mean that it will be guaranteed to go viral. Offering a simple gaming mechanism allows as many people as possible to take part, and will entice them every time, such as a scratch card game or a wheel of fortune. It is important to make participation as simple as possible.

3. Select the prizes to be won and offer an appropriate reward

Whether you are aiming to boost your reputation or your sales, your competition should attract prospective clients who will be interested in your offer. To do so, you must ask the right questions when choosing the prizes to entice your target clients as well as your already loyal customers. The reward system should be adapted to your audience and be fitting with your brand.

It is extremely important to decide what type of prize you wish to offer to the winner because it is one of the defining factors in the success of your competition. Make sure that the rewards are attractive to make people want to participate. For wide-ranging competitions, you may consider offering multiple prizes, for example by offering a large prize for first place and adding smaller prizes for second and third place etc.

Expert advice!

  • Offer a consolation prize to all participants, such as discount codes or free delivery on their next order. This is an excellent way to keep everyone happy and not deceive those who don’t win. Your brand is therefore put in the spotlight and this boosts your sales.

4. Boost the visibility of and access to the competition to make it go viral

First of all, think about setting up a countdown. One of the main advantages of using a countdown is the professional appearance and the fact that it clearly shows your audience when the competition begins and when it will end so they don’t miss out. And specify how long it will last: if the competition lasts too long, there is a risk of participants petering out because they will get bored. If it doesn’t last long enough, the number of participants will be too low and you will not achieve your objectives. In addition, a short-term competition will be more intense and will potentially go more viral.

Keep in mind the visibility that you give to your competition when creating it. It should be accessible on all devices, displays and appliances by using a format that is preferably versatile and easy to control with a touchscreen. Also think about sharing a hashtag, which is a relatively short word or group of words that defines and categorises your content. Creating a unique and personalised hashtag is great for creating a loyal community around your brand and your products or services. By adding one to your posts, you can help your audience to find you more easily and connect with you.

5. Promote the competition and encourage participants to take part

Now that your competition is ready, it is time to share it and promote it. Promoting your competition on your website and social media accounts is obviously essential. Analyse the different media platforms where you have a large following to generate more engagement with people who are active on those platforms. Remember, members of your community do not necessarily follow you on all platforms, so it is a good opportunity to invite them to other platforms and grow your community. In your content, encourage participants to tag friends or share the post. It can only improve the chances of your games going viral!

Expert advice!

  • Use gamification in your email marketing campaigns to directly reach clients and prospective clients and make them want to participate in your competition.

6. Don’t underestimate the closure of gamified competitions for an even greater viral reach

The time has come to announce the results and the main winners! To ensure your followers are left with positive memories of your event, even if they don’t win, you should create a friendly atmosphere surrounding your game and leave a good impression. Create a sense of belonging by sharing highlights, thinking carefully about the prize draw and announcing the winners. This will be so much more gratifying for the person chosen or randomly selected because this approach helps to build and reward their engagement with your brand.

For the other participants, it is a way to make them want to try their luck again when you organise the next competition. Thank all the participants for playing and taking part in your competition, and encourage them to subscribe to your newsletter and follow you on various platforms to keep in touch and be kept up to date with your latest offers.

Find out how to effectively promote your marketing game with our guide to Drimify’s promotion and get advice from the gamification experts. We will support you throughout your competition project to help you create interactive experiences with no hassle.

Photos by deemakdaksinas and GranzCreative on Envato Elements



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

Gamification platform. Engage your audience. Reach your goals. Customise experiences and games in minutes. #GamificationSuperpowers