gamification examples in everyday life

Top 10 Gamification Examples in Everyday Life

While many people are probably unable to define “gamification,” most have unknowingly experienced it – likely every single day. There’s a good reason for that; gamification can dramatically increase the engagement of most any initiative so organizations of all types are on the hunt for the most creative and effective tools.

Whether you realize it or not, a good portion of the apps on your phone use gamification as a technique to keep you hooked. Think notifications, points, rewards, and competition among friends.  But gamification reaches far beyond the phone. Does your local grocery store have a rewards program? How about your gym, budgeting tool, or coffee shop?

We’ve come up with a list of the Top 10 Gamification Examples in Everyday Life, according to our team:

Team Member: Colin Daymude, Director of Product Marketing

1. Acorns is an app that automatically rounds up transactions linked to your account and invests it for you. Although there are relatively few gamified aspects of the platform, I still love the concept. There are a lot of opportunities to incorporate social elements into Acorns, after all everyone likes to see how they stack up against the Joneses and the app lacks any of that functionality. Still, considering a dismal savings rate of just over 3% in September in the United States, I thought it was important to include Acorns.

At one point I got a message saying that I was one of their top customers. Sure that made me feel good but before you start sending me a friend request on FB, it had little to do with how much money I had and more how I engaged on the platform.Gamification Apps

Acorns has recently partnered with PayPal and you can also get reward money deposited into your account just by shopping with certain vendors. I like that immediate gratification aspect of this new feature.

2. Strava is probably the very best gamification example on the market so it’s no wonder that people say, “if it’s not on Strava then it didn’t happen.”It is THE social network for athletes. And by athlete, I mean pretty much anyone doing just about any kind of physical activity.

It would take me a week to describe every stat available on Strava but their favorite is the 1.3 Million “kudos” given in 2016. That amounts to 41 kudos every second! That’s a lot of encouragement to push users off the couch and move them towards achieving something that has never been done. Like the 4 athletes on Strava who attempted to run over 3,000 miles across the U.S. Pete Kostelnick set the world record with an average of 72 miles a day. Not bad.

If you finished your Netflix binge series you could always fill the time gap and track every inch of Pete’s journey (or your friend who got beat by him) on a detailed heat map that includes segment records, heart rate, pace, distance covered, cadence and even temperature.

Here’s a snapshot from my early morning Sunday activity: experimenting with a walk-run formula for Ironman Training.

Gamification App Strava


Team Member: Josh Gertz, Business Development Executive

3. Kroger’s rewards program has done wonders for my family and keeps us loyal. Of all the gamification examples on the list, this may be the most surprising – and one of the most used. Many don’t consider a grocery loyalty program as gamification, but with rewards and challenges, Kroger’s program definitely fits.

Kroger has gamified the shopping experience. They offer $.10 off gas for every $100 spent to rewards members which can get fun once you’ve accumulated a few hundred dollars in spending. It’s not hard to rack up at least $100 on groceries, so this really adds up.

Tons of products on shelves are less expensive to rewards members and they allow you to connect a charity (we use my kids school) to receive a donation per transaction. Keeps me loyal.

Gamification Example Kroger

Team Member: Jordan Fladell, CEO

4. LoseIt! is one of the most popular weight-loss apps available. With daily calorie tracking, goal setting, badges, and friendly competition, it’s no wonder LoseIt! has helped millions lose weight.

The app allows for complete nutrition and calorie counting throughout your day. If you stay within your caloric limits, you are rewarded with a “green” day (success!). Badges can be earned from any activity like simply logging in to losing 10 pounds, making everyone feel accomplished.

Keep up with your friends and community and gain support with the LoseIt! Challenge feature.

Gamification Example LoseIt!

5. Waze

You probably rely on Google Maps or Apple Maps to get you from point A to point B, but Waze is disrupting the map industry. Waze accomplishes most of what other map apps cover, plus real-time construction, accident, road blockage, and other updates to guarantee the best route possible.

Even more, Waze uses gamification by rewarding users as they contribute to road information. Users can earn points, titles, achievements, and mood options as they continue to use the app. Who doesn’t want mood options when they are sitting in traffic?

Gamification Examples Waze

Team Member: Ray Smith, Software Developer

6. Duolingo is a fun, quick, and effective way to learn a new language (or at least the basics). It’s the first thing that comes to mind for many when they want to pick up Spanish, French, or German.

Duolingo does a great job of using Microlearning techniques – learning is recommended for just 10 minutes a day and each activity takes just a few seconds to complete. The app makes learning fun with a variety of activities, completion streaks, and many levels to work through.

Duolingo may be one of the most well-rounded gamification examples on this list, as the creators of Duolingo use gamification, microlearning, and spaced reinforcement to help users learn better – all concepts that have been proven to work in training. Planning your next vacation? Try Duolingo to learn the native language. It will be worth it (and fun).

Gamification Apps Duolingo

7. BuzzyDoc brings popular rewards systems that we’ve seen in coffee shops, airlines, and casinos to the healthcare industry. BuzzyDoc works with Orthodontists, Optometrists, Dentists, and more to create a rewards system within their practice, ranging from rewarding patients for optimal behavior (being on time for appointments, following care instructions) to rewarding referring doctors. Patients can earn points with each visit and can eventually turn points into cash or other rewards.

BuzzyDoc’s main goals are to reduce overhead costs, create customer and referring doctor loyalty, and give an opportunity for doctors to give back to their patients while retaining them. As stated on their website, “BuzzyDoc is a pioneer for healthcare gamification.”

Team Member: Kim Stabenow, Marketing Coordinator

8. The Forest app has been a game-changer for me and could be for anyone who owns a phone. Distraction, meet your match. Something tells me that will be a long drawn out fight but any app that promises even a little relief without medication is a good thing.

Forest’s tagline is “Stay focused, be present.” You will grow a forest, one tree at a time. This app is perfect for when you feel distracted by all that happens on your phone – just select “plant” and you’re off.

The goal is to keep from unlocking your phone for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, your tree has been planted! Over time, you’ll accumulate trees and points to grow your forest. Check your phone before 25 minutes are up and oops, your tree has died.

It’s simple, but effective. Forest’s cheeky language and simple interface make focusing easy. Whether you’re trying to zero-in on work, studying, or meditation, Forest deserves a spot on your phone.

Gamification App Forest


Gamification App Forest

A look at what happens when you do “give up”…no one wants a dead tree.

9. Hidrate Spark has changed the way I look at hydration. Did you know dehydration leads to weight gain, loss of energy, poor complexion, headaches, and more? So…with 75% of Americans chronically dehydrated, why is it so hard to drink water?

Enter: Hidrate Spark. This smart water bottle pairs with an app to remind you to drink water. After inputting your settings (weight, goals, overall fitness levels, etc), the water bottle will glow – yes, it glows – to remind you to drink water.

Gamification is used on the app, including leaderboards to compete with your friends, daily goal marks, and push notifications. It’s addicting and makes you want to complete your hydration goal each day.

Gamification App Hidrate Spark


Team Member: Ashley Kiebach, Business Development Executive

10. Starbucks is probably one of the most successful gamification examples in the retail and restaurant space. Not only does the app use stars and status to engage users, but they also run menu challenges where you can collect bonus stars.

At certain levels you get free rewards, like a free menu item. It’s probably my favorite app that uses gamification.

gamification example starbucks

The 10 examples above prove gamification works in any industry and any setting. Give people a challenge, tracking abilities, and rewards, and they’ll come back for more. So when it comes to corporate training, why are so many L&D leaders resistant to adopting game-based techniques as part of a blended learning solution?

The rest of the world is far ahead of the education industry with proven success using gamification elements. Check out our platform to see how gamification can transform your corporate culture or schedule a walk-through with one of our learning architects today. It will be worth it. And if you have a favorite example of gamification I would love to hear about it. Drop me a line at or leave your comments below.

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Empowering learners Together

We’re excited to announce that we are now a part of the Axonify family. To all of those who have supported the MLevel journey, we thank you!  Here’s to the next chapter and to furthering data-driven learning.