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How Ikano Bank Got 1 Million User Engagement by Gamifying Savings

Updated: May 25, 2023

“Eat well, work hard, and save” — This is what I hear every time my parents call me and I’m sure I’m not the only one who sticks to the financial mantra of ‘Earn-Save-Spend’.

But truth be told, it’s easier said than done, right?

After all, we’re not kids anymore where we could save some of the money we’d get from parents or relatives into cute piggy banks.

I still remember putting those 10 rupee notes and 1 rupee coin into my mud piggy bank with the excitement of breaking it a year after.

The thrill of imagining the day I’d get to throw it onto the ground and see how many notes and coins spread on the floor, can’t be sufficed in words.

Now fast forward to adulthood, it’s a whole different story. Saving our very hard-earned money along with clearing all those bills and let’s not forget maintaining our lifestyle is tough.

I mean think of all that tasty food, those nice dresses, travel places, gadgets etc out there. It’s hard to not give into spending money, isn’t it?


The bottom line — it’s not easy saving money.

But something difficult doesn’t mean impossible, right? With the right knowledge, some motivation and lots of willpower, one can save money.

Now while the last part is completely up to us, we can get help when it comes to the first two and that’s what companies like Ikano Bank do.

But before we tap into how the bank encourages younger folks to save money, let’s first understand why saving money is so difficult for the younger generation.

Saving Money - All Lectures, No Relevance

If you ask one of the many things youngsters are tired of hearing, it’s following the older generations' path when it comes to saving money.

However, saving money on top of the housing, food, travel and living costs isn’t taking a walk in the park. And if that’s accompanied by student loans? It’s real pressure.

This is the kind of worry that young people in Sweden face too. As one of the world's most indebted people, Swedes are good at borrowing money and bad at saving it.

In fact, a survey reported that 2 out of 10 households with an income of 55,000 kronor per month before tax said they wouldn’t manage for more than a month with their savings.

To nip this in the bud, Ikano Bank decided to inculcate money-saving habits amongst those who’d shape the future of the country, youngsters by using gamification.

Let’s see how that did it, what benefit it produced and why it worked.

Ikano Bank Flappy Saver: Play, Save and Win

A web-based bank that operates across Europe, Ikano Bank provides many financial services and banking products such as loans, savings and credit cards.


In June 2014, Ikano Bank decided to make savings fun so that they can encourage young people to feel motivated to start thinking of saving rather than feel obligated to do it.

So they picked the most downloaded game of that time, Flappy Bird, tweaked it to call it Flappy Saver and ran a 3-week engagement campaign.

In the case of the Flappy Saver game, Ikano Bank replaced the

  1. Bird with a flying piggy bank

  2. Pipe obstacles with saving obstacles like shoes, ice cream, jewellery, fast food etc


So players had to tap on the screen and fly forward while avoiding these obstacles. The player with the highest score at the campaign end would get €10,000 worth of savings deposited into their Ikano Bank savings account.

Now who wouldn’t want that right? This is why during this 21 days campaign, the Ikano Bank Flappy Saver game got over 1.5 million plays.

Why did it work?

Does it make you curious as to why the Flappy Saver game got Ikano Bank such good user engagement? It sure did pique my curiosity. So I did a little more research and came across 3 motivation components for play in online games by Nick Yee, a researcher, co-founder and analytics lead of a consulting practice around game analytics.


For more than a decade, Nick studied gamers using a wide range of social science methods and came up with 3 components:

1. Achievement component: This component includes makes a user want to advance in the game based on its rule, system, and competence. In Flappy Saver's case, players wanted to overcome various saving hurdles and compete towards scoring the highest in order to win the €10,000 savings reward.

2. Social component: Under this component, players want to be part of a group effort or connect with other players via chat and help them.

Flappy Saver game connected the players via their common interest towards both savings and the most played, Flappy Bird mobile game.

3. Immersion component: This brings a personal connection by customizing a character to play in and seeing it as an escape from real life. In Ikano Bank’s gamification, players controlled their own piggy banks, dodging through savings obstacles.

Since the bank map such game motivation components to their savings gamification strategy, they could see 14% of the Sweden population playing their game.

Additionally, since winners would get the monetary reward directly to their savings account, this also encouraged players to open savings accounts with Ikano Bank. What a win-win, right?

Gamify Your Finance App with Flyy’s Flappy Bird

Did you find Ikano Bank’s gamification cool? Did it make you want to improve your finance app engagement as well and meet goals like increasing savings account openings?

Then you can launch your own Flappy Bird-like game campaign or other games with Flyy’s engagement module.

Under this, you can engage users via casual games which thanks to Flyy’s gamification tool come with a built-in system for points, a leaderboard, and rewards via scratch cards.

Would you like to take a quick look at how you can launch a game campaign within your finance app using Flyy’s dashboard?

And oh yes, I say a quick one because it’s one of the easiest gamification campaigns to customize and launch.

Let’s see why I said that.

1. Create a Tournament

This is where you create a game tournament based on your choice of game, rewards, budget, rules, schedule, etc.

Step 1a: Post logging into your Flyy dashboard, select the ‘Engagement’ module on the top left corner and go to ‘Create Tournament’ under ‘Games’.

Step 1b: Under ‘Create Tournament’, choose a ‘Game’ from a variety of games you want your users to play and select ‘Reward Type’ from the cash or virtual currency options.


Step 1c: After this, you can set campaign ‘Schedule’, ‘Budget’, ‘Rankings’, and ‘Rewards’. You can also set ‘Rules’ based on player and play counts and choose the ‘User Segment’ based on demographics, interest, etc.


2. Create a Game Zone

This defines the entry point within your offer screen from where your users will be redirected to the game tournament(s) that you create. This game zone can be both text or banner-based.

Step 2a: First, let’s pick a text-based design theme wherein you can choose a title and description based on the tournament you created. Make sure you ‘Enable’ the ‘Game Zone’ and click on Save.


Step 2b: If you’d like to add a banner for your ‘Game Zone’ instead of a text, you can simply upload one and save it.


3. Schedule Tournament

Say you’d like your users to play your game tournament every Friday or twice a day or daily. You can enable this by scheduling your tournament.


4. Launch the Game and Track

That’s it! Yes, it’s that simple to launch a game to engage your users within your finance app. In order to track the stats of your tournament, you can do the same under ‘Game Analytics’.


Here’s how the game will look within your app.


Cool, right? So what are you waiting for? Join the League of fintech apps that are leveraging gamification to boost their user engagement. Click here for a free demo and start flyying today.