Using Gamification in Online Surveys

Gamification is the use of game techniques to enhance things that are not games. In the context of online surveys, it could mean:

  • Leader boards
  • Achievement badges or levels
  • A progress bar to show how close respondents are to completion
  • Avatars
  • Virtual currency
  • Respondent challenges
  • Unique rewards


From the SurveyGizmo Benchmark Guide Survey, we found that only 33 percent of surveyors were aware of Gamification and only 20 percent have used this technique in the last 12 months.1

Besides not being aware of Gamification, other reason for not using Gamification in their online surveys include:

  • Do not feel like it is appropriate for their product, brand or target audience
  • Uncertain of the added benefit that they would provide
  • Not a good match for online surveys, in general
  • Not sure how to use the Gamificaton technique


All of these are valid concerns, but there are some great reasons to use Gamification. Not only can it engage your respondent, but also it has been shown to increase the amount of time respondents spend per questions as well as increase response rates! Here are some examples that might help spark some ideas of how you can use Gamification:

Badges of achievement – A coffee retailer wants to get feedback on each transaction with their customers. On their receipt, there is a link to a survey. After taking the survey, the respondent gets a badge that is worth 1 percent off their next purchase. At the time of their next purchase, they can show the badge on their mobile device to receive their discount. They are then encouraged to take the survey again, in regards to their most recent interaction. With each survey they take, they are eligible for a new badge that provides a higher discount.

Avatars – A hat company is looking for ideas for which new style they should produce for the upcoming season. Instead of asking, “What hats would you like to see in stores?” respondents can be asked to create an avatar, a digital representation of themselves, and then select which hat they like best for the avatar. They will be able to change some of the aspects of the hats, including color, size and material.

Respondent challenges – A chocolatier is interested in which of a set of images goes best with three groups of five different flavors of chocolate bars. They want respondents to provide answers quickly and to not spend too much time contemplating their responses. This will be indicated in the question details. After assigning the first set of images to flavors the respondent will receive instant feedback on how quickly they were able to assign the images, and then be encouraged to be quicker with the second set.

If your target audience, product or brand is right, try a Gamification technique and let us know how it goes!

Happy Surveying!

1Source: SurveyGizmo Market Research Benchmark Guide: 2012, Comparative Analysis on Survey Metrics, Techniques and Trends, Have you heard of the term Gamification?, n=871, Have you used Gamification in your market research surveys in the last 12 months?, n=871 Total Sample, Four percent respondents were not sure.

Join the Conversation
  • uma maheswari

    Hi, Good ideas, Could you suggest how I can use this for a feedback survey from employees on a recent training conducted?

    • sgizmo

      A fun online quiz on the training great way to engage. You can reward them based on the number of points they earn.

  • uma maheswari

    Hi, Good ideas, Could you suggest how I can use this for a feedback survey from employees on a recent training conducted?

    • sgizmo

      A fun online quiz around the training subject is great way to engage these. You can reward them based on the number of points they earn.

  • John Spady

    I recently found out about the use of open digital badging… the concept helps me reward people for participating in my survey… which is itself part of a larger civic commitment from the participant. More information about badging is available at: http://openbadges.org/about — and I wrote a LinkedIn article in August 2014 about my future intentions: http://linkd.in/1tOe4vz

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