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2 Million Visits in 1 Month. This is How Nike Did It With Leaderboard Gamification.

Do you know the best thing about new friendships?

You’ve so much to connect over — interests, shows, food, places to travel and wait for my favourite part, games.

Many of my friendships have bloomed over online games that we could play together with Head Ball 2, an online football game, being one of them.

Last year, one of my friends asked me to install Head Ball 2 game and I did, not just because of the hype he created around the game but also because of my interest in Premier League.

Since I already liked Football and the game sounded fun, we together started playing Head Ball 2 wherein we could challenge players and play 1v1 football matches online.

Now here’s where things started taking an unexpected turn.

Initially, my friend and I would ask each other to come online and play together and soon, I realised that I didn’t need that nudge anymore.

I started ensuring every morning that I play at least one game, not just to give a refreshing start to my day but majorly because I liked winning.

The more I played, the better I got and I could soon see myself moving up the League leaderboard.

This was followed by wanting to top my League’s leaderboard, the spirit of which was ignited by an in-app message that piqued the competitive me further.

“1 rank(s) down. You still have a chance to promote! Play your best game!”


No one likes losing, including me.

Such nudges would motivate me to end up in the top 3 ranks, as being on top of the leaderboard would not only boost my self-esteem but also reward me with higher-valued prizes.

Now if we look at my Head Ball 2 journey, it’s quite evident that I may have started playing the game because of my friend but it was the leaderboard that helped me be consistent.

What does this imply? Leaderboards act as a crucial gamification element which can be used to retain users and Psychology hold this true.

Psychology Behind Leaderboards

The seeds of victory are sown within us right from childhood. Be it ranking 1st in academics, sports, or contests, or getting more likes on social media, we like being better than others.

And this is why leaderboards excite us as we love seeing our names shine in bold letters among the top ranks.


Ever thought about why? Turns out, this desire is related to a chemical in our brains called dopamine, which is linked to pleasure.

Winning produces more dopamine, which triggers a good feeling in the brain’s reward area and we want to experience such a feeling more frequently.

Moreover, leaderboard gamification works as a great means to retain customers because of the Self-Determination Theory.

As per this theory, we humans need to be part of activities that satisfy 3 psychological cores (Ryan and Deci 2002).

The need for

1. Competence: This is the fundamental principle of a leaderboard wherein we want to be perceived as skilled talented and efficient compared to others. My desire to stay on top of my League’s leaderboard in the case of the Head Ball 2 game reflects my competence.

2. Autonomy: Autonomy is when participants or users have the freedom to complete tasks corresponding to leaderboard scores, freely. It should be easy.

For instance, all I had to do is play and score more goals in order to move up the leaderboard.

3. Social relatedness: Since users are competing against each other, this brings in a feeling of belonging to social groups, online football game lovers in my case. We now understand that leaderboards work, given the psychology behind them but are the companies that are using leaderboard gamification to achieve business goals?


Nike’s Winter’s Angry Fight Back Game

Nike’s ‘Angry Winter’ campaign is one of the best gamification examples I’ve come across when it comes to making users engage with a product.

Training in winter is hard. With a goal to motivate people to beat winters and check out their winter collection, Nike created an interactive game in 2011.

Players could choose and control Nike athlete gears and start playing a simple game.

Here’s how it worked:

The game consisted of helping top athletes train out in winter by controlling keys. Each athlete represented a Nike winter collection.

1. Alex Morgan, Forward, US. National Team: Alex promoted Nike Pro Hyperwarm Crew. Players had to match the keys as they fell as she made her way to the goal.


2. Allyson Felix, 100M, 200M and 400M Medalist: Allyson promoted Nike Element Shield Max Jacket. Players have to press alternate keys as fast as they could and help her train out in the rain.


3. Greg Jennings, World Champion Wideout: Gred promoted Nike Pro Combat Hyperwarm Shield Mock. Players had to help him train by tapping arrow keys in a clockwise motion as fast as they could.


Nike’s angry winter, fight back campaign was such a success that it got over 2,100,000 visits in less than 1 month and the credit goes to its competitive element.

In this case, players were competing to get the highest score on a leaderboard and secure a position among the 100 top scorers.

This would make them eligible for the grand prize drawing through which the winner would get to meet a world-class Nike athlete.

Teleflora Points Leaderboard

Teleflora, a US-based online flower delivery Shopify brand, used gamification and improved conversion rate by 92% with loyalty points leaderboard being a part of it.

As simple as any e-commerce loyalty program sounds, theirs is also a Points-based rewards program wherein customers can avail points for completing tasks and redeem them for offers.


Based on the Points accumulated, Teleflora displays top performers on a Points leaderboard and provides them with level badges.

It’s evident, isn’t it? Leaderboard gamification is one of the simplest and most effective ways to retain customers, be it across e-commerce, sports or even fintech.

All businesses have to do is choose the right task that participants must perform and reward them if they make it to the top of a leaderboard.

Now how about we keep it just to this? By this, I mean you decided the tasks and rewards while the rest of the nitty-gritty of integrating a leaderboard is taken care of.

That’s right. With Flyy’s gamification tool, you can create a leaderboard campaign when you want your users to get ranks depending on a score for doing different actions.

Let’s see how.

Step 1: Upon logging into Flyy’s dashboard, go to ‘Leaderboard’ under ‘Retention’ and select ‘Create Leaderboard’.

Then decide the following parameters for your leaderboard campaign:

  • Interval: How frequently your leaderboard campaign will go live (Daily, Weekly, Monthly etc)

  • Score name: Whether you want to call leaderboard scores XP or Points

  • Event: Which action(s) your participating users will have to perform to get a score? You must also assign a score per event along with conditions if any.

  • Reward: Whether you want to offer cash or virtual currency


Step 2: After this, assign Rewards for Rank ranges and set Title, Description and Rules for your leaderboard campaign based on the same along with a banner.


Step 3: The last step is to select the user segment you want to run your leaderboard challenge for along with a Schedule and you’re all set to launch your campaign.


To help you understand how the leaderboard campaign will look within your app, I’m going to share Rigi’s leaderboard context which has close to 12K participants and counting.

Rigi is a platform for content creators and influencers to monetise, manage and grow their community and has created a leaderboard challenge using Flyy’s gamification tool.


Want to join brands like Rigi and boost your customer retention? Click here to learn more.



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