Gamification is when you add elements commonly found in games to other areas of life. A typical example is point scoring and prizes. The idea is that these elements can be powerful motivators.

In a customer community, gamification can encourage interaction by rewarding members for their efforts. You could let users vote on posts they like or assign tags or roles to active users.

Community engagement is key for organizations looking to lean on a community-led growth strategy for their products or services. To achieve a level of engagement with community members that produce enough referrals to impact your bottom line, you need to be creative. For many companies, this means incorporating items such as gamification.

With gamification, community members are incentivized to participate in discussions and interact with the brand. It’s also a great way to draw more members into your platform. 

Let’s dive in and see how your online community can benefit from implementing gamification into your current strategies. 

What is gamification?

Gamification has been around for a while and consistently helps organizations engage with their communities. So what is gamification?

Simply put, gamification is when an organization utilizes elements commonly found in games in non-gaming environments. For example, online communities will often incorporate a ranking system for members. The more you engage with the platform and comment on discussions, the higher your rank is. 

How does gamification increase community engagement?

Gamification can increase community engagement in several ways. For instance, adding gamification elements to your community gives members an incentive to participate in your platform. It also creates a sense of contest amongst community members where everyone is competing to have the highest rank or most points. 

Humans have a natural tendency to want to show off their achievements, and what better way to do so than to showcase the number of followers they have or tout their position on a leaderboard

5 ways you can add gamification to your online community

If you haven’t added gamification to your online community, here are five ways you can work different gaming elements into your platform. 


Nearly every one of your members will be familiar with the concept of ranking up or leveling up. Throughout most people’s lives, the goal is to level up, whether getting a promotion at work or buying a bigger home. The same concept applies to your online community. 

Members who engage with your community can receive points for different actions or events. Once an individual hits a certain amount of points, they automatically level up and receive a new rank in the community. The added status of being a higher-ranking member is often enough to get members to engage more frequently.


Badges are another great way to incorporate gamification into your online community. People love to show off their accomplishments, and badges give them the perfect opportunity to do so. For instance, you can encourage community members to perform certain tasks in exchange for a badge they can display on their profile.

Badge functionality of Tribe Platform
Badges Created with Tribe Platform


Another idea for introducing gamification to your platform is using leaderboards. Leaderboards do a great job of encouraging your community members’ competitive side. 

Depending on how your community platform is set up, you might find that having multiple leaderboards for categories such as most posts, most followers, and most likes can create even further engagement. 

powered by Tribe


If you notice that members aren’t engaging with your platform as much as you would like, offering rewards can be a great way to incentivize them to take action.

Many companies offer spots on the leaderboard or special badges as rewards. However, if you want your community to stand out from others, try thinking outside of the box. For instance, running a monthly competition where the person in the top spot on the leaderboard gets a branded merchandise reward.

Custom usernames and avatars

A fun way to bring gamification to your community is using usernames and avatars. Allowing members to customize their experience by showcasing their uniqueness on the profile will help them feel like they belong to the community.

Why does gamification work?

Gamification works for a few reasons, but primarily because of our human psychology. Generally, there are three main motivators for humans. These motivators include—the need for power, the need for achievement, and the need for affiliation. With gamification, it’s easy to activate these needs. 

Along with motivating community members, gamification can also evoke other primal emotions and feelings such as:

  • – Sense of belonging
  • – Feeling of accomplishment
  • – Recognition through status
  • – Achievement
  • – Self-expression
  • – Collaboration
  • – Competition

The three pillars of gamification

As your team begins planning how to incorporate items such as leaderboards and rewards into your online community, it’s a good idea to consider the three building blocks of gamification. These main pillars consist of participation, loyalty, and engagement, establishing the foundation for success. 

Let’s look at what makes each component an essential part of the gamification puzzle.


The participation pillar is the portion of gamification that focuses on the need for achievement. By offering community members specific goals they need to hit and rewarding them with a new rank or badge, you’re more likely to have higher engagement levels throughout the platform. 


The loyalty pillar focuses on catering to an individual’s need for affiliation. Humans naturally want to belong to a group where they can discuss ideas and express themselves. Offering different sub-groups in your community is a great way to allow members to meet like-minded people. 


The engagement pillar is often one of the easiest gamification elements. Since this pillar involves enacting people’s need for power, working items such as weekly member shoutouts and monthly competitions in your community can work perfectly for improving engagement.