Gamification and the future of content marketing

Gamification and content marketing is not an easy match. Gamification as a term was first introduced by Nick Pelling, a games programmer, in the early 2000s. It was intended to describe how elements of video gaming could be applied elsewhere.

It wasn’t until 10 years later that the term took off. By then, its use had been refined to the point where it  referred solely to bringing the reward element of games into other products and activities.

Who is doing it?

Nike is a good example of a brand that has gamified its content marketing with its Nike Fuel app. Essentially, this is a fitness tracking app offering rewards and virtual trophies for completing various workouts.

It also offers content in the form of access to new products, reviews, entry to events and interviews with designers and athletes. As well as a large number of workouts.

Another example is Starbucks Rewards. The coffee-shop chain started a trend when it launched its rewards card offering points towards a free drink – something it went on to push in terms of content marketing. Using data generated by sales, Starbucks has been able to channel localised content marketing towards individual users. Personalisation of this kind is only going to get bigger.


Is it content marketing or a rewards system with content bolted on the side? It doesn’t matter. A rewards scheme on its own gives you points for buying stuff. Great! Adding content encourages people to interact with it more. Even better is to add a rewards element to the content, giving users points in return for writing a review.

Without doubt gamification still has some time to run. Used in conjunction with content it could go even further.

Gamification and the future of content marketing is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.