Updated: Jun 30
“Dude, you won’t believe what happened today”, said a colleague of mine as we sipped our morning coffee in our office cafeteria.
“What?”, I asked, assuming that it’d be one of his usual “I met someone” or “I found this amazing show on Netflix” kind of a conversation.
But I was wrong.
Because it was none of the aforementioned thoughts that I had. He was excited because that very morning, he’d found a 50 rupees note in his jeans pocket.
He felt as if he’d travelled back to childhood. I smiled as I was happy to see how pleased he was, calling it a reward-to-self kind of a situation.
Now we know that such good things happen once in a blue moon but guess what? This wasn’t going to be the case with my colleague.
Yes, he came to me the next day and said, “Here’s a thought! Wouldn’t it be nice if I start keeping money in random places at my home? This way, money would surprise me out of nowhere and I’d even end up saving some!”
This time, I could see he wasn’t kidding. He literally wanted to go for this idea of his because honestly, he’d been miserably failing at saving for the past few months.
And oh, it wasn’t like he’d not tried to save. From new year resolutions to savings accounts, he’d tried it all but could never be consistent in saving. Do you know why?
Because he didn’t find any motivation or fun in doing so.
So I sat there, let him finish his apparently great idea to save money, and when he was done, I said, “You like games, right?”.
“Of course, I do!”, he replied. “But what’s this got anything to do with saving, man?”, he asked.
I didn’t answer his question. In fact, I threw another one. “Would you like it if you could track your expenses, build a building out of every penny you spend and eventually build a town?”
“Are you serious?” and that’s when I told him about Fortune City.
One of the best examples of how fintech companies are leveraging gamification to improve user retention and acquisition.
So how about we dive into understanding how Fortune city aced 5M app downloads with gamification?
Let’s get started.
How Fortune City aced 5 million users with gamification
Most of you might have played or heard of simulation games like The Sims. Well, Fortune City is quite similar to such games. Herein, you can build and manage your own virtual town.
Sounds interesting, right? But wait, there’s more. The app’s most unique feature is being able to record expenses or income like a budget app and construct buildings.
User engagement 101
Tapping into users’ emotions and experiences is an art and Fortune City seems to have mastered it with gamification. It provides a way to generate various building types by creating different expense categories.
For instance, every time you log a food expense, a food stall will be created. This way, users would want to record every expense only to see their town grow and thrive.
You can also generate coins by hiring citizens to work on your buildings. What may excite you further is being able to merge identical buildings into bigger ones, doing town upgrades, and more.
Motivation is the key to user retention
❝ Studies have shown that achievements improve customer motivation.
Remember when I said my colleague couldn’t really stick to saving money? Well, that problem is also solved by this app because it also encourages users to stick to expense recording with a feedback and ranking system to compete with peers.
So that’s how this financial app helps people track expenses and save. But why would you think my colleague decided to go for this app despite having other options?
If you do, you’ll realise because the app didn’t make saving a pressure for him, rather fun.
And all of it became possible because of gamification!
Next, let’s try to understand across which areas gamification can help in fintech:
Gamification - A Boost for Fintech
Encouraging savings: Savings is one of the easiest things to gamify. You can allow users to set savings goals and reward users for reaching them, or provide an option for rounding up or capping every transaction and sending the difference to a savings account.
Boosting financial literacy: Easy-to-implement gamification ideas include games and short videos that explain complex financial concepts in a fun and engaging way.
Promoting sustainability: Businesses that aim to present themselves as more sustainable and ethical can do this with the help of gamification: for example, by giving a donation to charity when a user meets a certain goal or completes a certain action.
Building community: Gamified software can help create a community feeling and unite people who are users of the same financial service. For example, users can be rewarded for referring to a friend.
Seeing how my colleague could actually get into a habit of saving just because he found it fun and engaging with the gamified budgeting app, it’s clear that gamification attracts and engages users better.
But of course, truth be told, choosing the right game practice for your product calls for a good understanding of what results you want to achieve with gamification.
Otherwise, how matter how creative the game is, it may not help achieve KPIs and rather distract users.