As marketers, we have all designed and launched a conversion funnel for either ourselves or for our clients. The 6 key stages that we are accustomed to seeing are:

  1. Planning
  2. Awareness,
  3. Consideration
  4. Purchase,
  5. Loyalty
  6. Advocacy

I wanted to introduce you to our version of the funnel in the language users would understand, it also feels a little like a lesson in dating


Stage 1 – Friendship

Users want to build relationships with brands they follow. In the world we live in we have so much access to brands and can see so much more ‘behind the scenes’ content thanks to social media. It means users feel a real connection to the brands they choose to follow and choose to buy from.

This friendship stage is more than awareness, it is helping deliver your brand’s purpose to the user so that the user can choose whether your values align with theirs. More than ever, values mean something and users will buy or not buy based on these.

With this in mind – how does a game come into this? Well firstly, there are many different types of games. We conducted research in 2018 where we spoke to 2,000 consumers across North America and we found that knowledge-based or puzzle games were the most popular types to build friendship.

In addition to this from a brand perspective, a game could be just for fun, or it could educational – it is really important this is not sales led though. Just think, when you first meet someone in a bar, you don’t want to feel like they’re coming onto you, instead you want to build a friendship, albeit you are aware of the underlying opportunity for both of you.

Besides, games make GDPR compliant data capture simpler when there is a fair exchange. 

For example, you cannot just start by asking for their details, this is like asking for a phone number before you have built rapport with someone. Instead, once they have started playing your game, if the game takes time to complete an option to save their progress is often welcomed by the user and therefore they are happy to part with their data. Alternatively, if the game is quite short, but there is a prize worth winning, then following the completion of the game the user is often happy to pass on their details for a chance to win.

All of the above allows a brand to create an online experience for the user, a moment that will be remembered. Our research showed that online games were ranked as the most memorable activity, ahead of online and traditional advertising, live games and even live experiences! Wouldn’t you agree if you get the game right that this truly is the start of an awesome friendship?



Stage 2 – Offering advice and support

Friends are often best at this, so now you have positioned your brand as a friend to the user, their trust in you will grow. This trust can be fueled by creating content that offers advice and helps educate the user. To bring a game in at this stage is to create a game that either helps the user learn something relevant to your brand and values or that helps the user learn something new about themselves. Coming back to our dating analogy, this is when you venture out for dates more than just dinner, maybe an activity or escape room – you both get to learn more about each other.


Stage 3 – Sealing the deal

This is the only stage of the conversion funnel where a game should not be placed. At the point of sale, we want to make it as easy as possible for the user to purchase and there should be no barriers in place.



Stage 4 – Keeping in touch

After a customer has bought that should never be the end of the relationship, we are not looking for a one night stand! Therefore offering a game to a user at this stage of the funnel is a perfect conversation starter, a chance to keep the user engaged with your brand.

When building a bespoke game, as opposed to an off the shelf game, it is possible to architect the game to offer further insight into your audience, which could be perfect for a stage 4 user. For example, a fashion brand could create a quiz with questions planted to help ascertain if a user is motivated to buy because of influencers or not, this data can then be used to determine future email marketing campaigns.



Stage 5 – Telling their friends about you

This is the natural reaction if you get your game right, so games fit perfectly into this stage of the funnel. We all know that when we get introduced to friends of our new interest that things are going well.

Building social interaction into your game can benefit in many ways, not only to bring new users in, but to help generate new follows. For games that might require clues, a fair trade-off is a clue for a follow, users often buy into this.

Gamified funnels really does help users through the different stages of the conversion funnel. This is not to say you need a game specifically for each stage, instead that your game can satisfy users at all stages, their interaction may just vary based on their trust in your brand.

Games need to be user first, you need to consider why would your users or desired users play them? It is important not to lose sight of your KPIs though, so often say to start planning a game you should start with your desired outcome. 

If you can clearly define what you are looking for, is it links and PR? Data? Social engagement and follows? Something else? Once you know this, you can work your idea back from here and ensure it achieves the user motivation as well as your own marketing KPIs.

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