5 ways to gamify your virtual event

Heather Nolan
March 31, 2021
5 ways to gamify your virtual event

Want your attendees to love your next virtual event? Make it fun! Gamification is a great way to make your event engaging and memorable. 

What is gamification?

Gamification is the process of integrating game elements into non-game environments (like virtual events!). Games are effective tactics for educating and engaging users. 

Engagement is a constant challenge in virtual event environments. Because attendees aren’t physically together, it’s a lot easier to zone out. Plus, distractions in our home environments and the persistent temptation to check social media notifications make it much harder to stay focused and alert.

Benefits of gamification in events

Gamification works because it teases out the participants’ competitive spirit, promotes motivations, and triggers positive emotions. Everyone likes to play, compete, and win. 

Gamifying your event amplifies the attendee experience and makes them feel more comfortable. It breaks the ice without venturing into “two truths and a lie” territory while facilitating bonding and camaraderie among attendees. 

Adding elements of gamification into your events (live, hybrid, and virtual) has tons of advantages, such as: 

  • Increased engagement
  • Memorable attendee experiences
  • More comfortable atmosphere
  • Better networking opportunities
  • Additional incentives for sponsors

Why wouldn’t you want to inject a little more fun into your next virtual event?

How to gamify virtual events

If you’re going to gamify, you need to approach it with a goal and a strategy. For example, if your goal is to increase attendee engagement during sessions, you might want to focus on gamification elements like in-session polling, bingo cards, and trivia questions. 

For successful event gamification, attendees need to understand the rules and prizes to drum up their interest in participating. Create content leading up to the event letting attendees know how it will work and how they will be rewarded. You’ll want to make it clear what attendees earn or win by participating to incentivize them to do so. (This is a great opportunity to engage sponsors for the prizes!) 

Event gamification ideas

  • Scavenger hunts: Participants must complete a list of actions throughout the course of the event to win a prize. 
  • Trivia: Ask questions during sessions that attendees can answer from their event apps. 
  • Exhibitor passports: Encourage engagement between attendees and exhibitors by creating a “stampable” digital passport that gets marked by every participating exhibitor an attendee interacts with.
  • Contests: Award points or prizes to participants who ask the best question, have the best virtual background, or get the most trivia questions correct. Get creative with your contests!
  • Award points for dedicated actions: Whether it’s networking with other attendees, posting on social media with the event hashtag, checking in at an exhibitor booth, or something else, rewarding attendees with points for event-related tasks serves as a welcome motivator to drive engagement.

Be sure to incorporate leaderboards into your event gamification strategy. Automated leaderboards — or, at least, occasional updates throughout a live event about top attendees — drum up competition by showing attendees where they stand in comparison to others, and help encourage more participation.

And of course, be sure to give a shout-out to the winner to celebrate their accomplishment! 

Learn more about how to create flawless virtual events that drive real engagement in our ultimate guide to virtual event production.

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Heather Nolan

Heather Nolan is a marketing specialist at Sidecar. A former journalist and social media manager, Heather lives in New Orleans with her husband, son, and grumpy rescue dog.

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