An Introduction to Gamification: Is It Worth It For Virtual Events?

You’re here because you are struggling to keep your audience engaged.

You work hard to create an informative program and invite people to attend. Yet, once your audience takes their “seats”, keeping them engaged is your single greatest challenge.

Can gamification help? Yes. More than you might realize.

Maybe you’ve heard this trending buzzword, “gamification”. Is it just a gimmick? And if not, is it really worth the time and effort it’ll take to get it right?

We’re here to show that gamification is worth it because it creates a strong, positive experience that leads to higher engagement, loyalty, and sales.

What is Gamification

Gamification is the process of using game-like systems in business and marketing strategies.

Gamification is about more than just having fun. Gamification creates truly enjoyable learning experiences and helps participants retain information far better than trainings or meetings alone.

Game-like elements such as leaderboards, progress bars, loyalty points, storytelling, problem-solving, and rewards break the monotony of hearing lectures by stirring up powerful emotions such as competition and curiosity.

Does it work? ABSOLUTELY. In fact, you probably come across it every day without even realizing it. See if any of these ring a bell:

Starbucks: Buy ten cups of coffee and get a free drink  – it’s like a reward for completing a level.

Instagram: “Play the game” of who can get more hearts, more followers, more “points” for doing well.

Nike+, Duolingo, Kickstarter: All use various forms of gamification such as milestone markers, rewards, and “high score” boards to keep us coming back for more.

What does this mean for virtual events?

  • Higher audience engagement
  • Maximizes learning
  • Promotes networking
  • Fosters more return on sponsor investment
  • Creates more brand exposure on social media
  • Increases audience satisfaction

3 Reasons Gamification is so Powerful

Simply put, gamification rewards good behavior. It’s an incredibly clever use of psychology that motivates people to keep coming back (or in the case of a virtual event, staying to the end without falling asleep).


As attendees earn points, unlock new challenges, and beat their own (or someone else’s) high score, their brain’s reward center releases a wave of dopamine. They’ll get excited and work harder to get to the next level.

A sense of accomplishment is one of the most powerful motivators of human behavior. Creating milestones act as a simple progress bar for attendees. They know how far they’ve come and how far they have to go.

Duolingo is a master at using this. They turn a normally frustrating task (language learning) into something exciting. They regularly update your “fluency percentage” and let you set goals, pick up badges, and even earn points.

 What this means for your event: People join your virtual event for a specific reason. If you can make your attendee feel like they have accomplished something, they will feel like they are seeing results from their hard work, going in the right direction, and be motivated to continue.

Keeping your audience engaged can be difficult to do. Rewarding attendees when they do what you want keeps them focused and paying attention.


None of us like to be forced into a decision. Gamification is centered around making us feel like we’re in control. Even though you’re playing someone else’s game, we feel in control by picking which level to play.

What this means for your event: Apply this during your next business lecture style event by letting users click ‘next lecture’ (like they are choosing the next level). It may seem simple. But we LOVE making our own decisions.

When you give your attendees room to “choose their own adventure”, it encourages curiosity and excitement. Letting people feel like they might ‘stumble’ across something new is compelling.

Lead your clients where you want them to go by making sure they feel like the choice was theirs. People don’t want to feel like ‘just another face’. By letting users choose their own destiny, you are making them feel like their attendance is meaningful and that they are contributing to something bigger.


Humans love to reach goals and we are very competitive by nature. Adding elements like ‘personal best’ and ‘previous record’ makes us push ourselves a little further, a little harder.

The Nike+ app, for example, tracks your workout statistics and progress towards goals. Why? Because we are naturally competitive and we are DRIVEN to beat our own record. More than that, it connects to social media so we try to beat other’s records.

All this competition, both with ourselves and with others, keeps us coming back to the app again and again.

Another key factor in putting the ‘human element’ in virtual events is encouraging cooperation. found out that “Employees who acted collaboratively stuck at their tasks 64% longer than their solitary peers, whilst also reporting higher engagement levels, lower fatigue levels and higher success rates.

What this means for your event: We are social animals who love multiplayer games. By making attendees feel like they are part of a team, you foster loyalty, communication, and lasting relationships.

Gamification Really Works

Gamification isn’t just a trendy keyword. It’s a real way to trigger powerful human emotions.

People will come to your next virtual event to hear what you have to say. Gamification will make them pay attention.

True, it requires hard work. You’ll have to invest time, creativity, and funds to gamify a virtual event correctly. But the payoffs are worth it:

  • Communal Purpose – Instead of being observers, having goals gets attendees involved and feeling excited to be a part of the program.
  • Higher Engagement – Gamification keeps attendees participating. When your attendees personal scores go up, your event engagement score will match.
  • Longer Session Time – When people are having fun and can see their progress, they will be there because they WANT to, not because they have to.
  • Stronger Networking – Gamify sessions to help people see that they are part of a bigger picture and have something to offer. Greater attendee activity can also mean increased interaction with your brand and sponsors.

There’s a reason the top brands that use gamification retain users. It works to create positive user experiences, increased engagement, and loyalty.

Adding gaming elements to your virtual event can make difficult tasks easier to complete, and boring seminars more fun to attend.

Curious how Virtual Velocity uses games to drastically improve learning experiences?

Schedule a free appointment with us today to see how gamification can change the way you put on events.