Gamification refers to the use of game design principles to improve customer engagement in non-game businesses. The specific methods used range from the creation of reward schedules to creating levels of achievement via status and badges. Companies use gaming principles to increase interest in a product or service, or simply to deepen their customers' relationship with the brand.
Gamification has been around for a long time in the field of marketing. Many successful advertising campaigns use the treasure hunt (find the golden item) or gathering games (get all the pieces) to increase customer interest. With online businesses, however, gamification has grown to incorporate a higher level of game design, including giving message board and social media users a “trusted source” or “top contributor” badge, displaying points for activities, achievement-based discounts and so on. These tactics allow a business to add another level of incentive to customer engagement beyond simply delivering a product they wish to buy.