Gamification in Digital Marketing: Benefits & Examples

Have you ever posted on your brand’s social media account, only to be met with a void? No engagement or reach. It turns out; this is the reality of many brands nowadays.


Well, there is just too much noise online. Let’s take things into perspective. On Instagram alone, according to Statista, there are over 1 billion active users! And approximately 500 million people use its stories feature. It shouldn’t then come as a surprise that it is hard to get adequate reach on organic posts on such platforms.

Does this mean that the days of leveraging the benefits of social media platforms are now over? Not really. It just means that you need to do more than post organic content. Instead, you need to create a proper ad strategy and use the ad feature of such platforms.

In the case of Instagram, its video ads are a sure-shot way to get noticed by your target audience. Not sure about the feature? Don’t worry! We are here to provide you with a comprehensive guide about it.

Instagram Video Ads Explained

The name of this ad is quite self-explanatory about what it entails. Compared to static or carousel sponsored ads, video ads allow you to create an eye-catching and immersive brand story or proposition. Unlike a static post, here, you have more space and time to attract your audience.

For instance, you can choose to show how your product is to be used, entice the audience by sharing your portfolio or create an aspirational ad to cater to the viewer’s imagination.

Additionally, suppose you compliment this with a gamification marketing strategy whereby you reward consumer engagement on your ad with a free coupon or discount. In that case, you can further improve the results of your ad campaign.

Video ads can be promoted both on the feed as well as on Instagram stories. However, the two placements may require different ad sizes.

The video ad specification of Instagram are as follows:

  • Resolution: It is recommended that you use 600 x 600 pixels or a square resolution. The maximum resolution can be 1080 x 1080 pixels.
  • The aspect ratio can either be 1:1 or 1.9:1, which refers to a square and landscape ratio, respectively.
  • The duration of the ad can range between three to sixty seconds.
  • The maximum size of the video can be 4 GB.

Why your brand needs Instagram video ads?

Apart from the fact that Instagram itself is pushing its video ads by altering the maximum video duration from 30 seconds to a minute, brands, regardless of how big or small they are, are likely to benefit from it.

This is because irrespective of who your target audience is, research by SingleBrain states that video content is most loved by the masses. This is because video content is easier to process mentally and is more engaging.

According to the below-mentioned study conducted in 2015, average US adults spend 38.5 hours every week watching videos! This is significantly more time than they spend working.

In short, people prefer videos over text. Considering the recent rise of YouTube influencers and TikTok, this isn’t a surprising insight.

Apart from the engagement factor, one key difference separating Instagram video ads from other formats is that such ads don’t feel as intrusive as an instream video advertisement. Nor are they as easy to scroll past as a static post.

The native, in-feed model can allow brands to naturally get noticed without making the audience feel that they are being compelled to watch an ad they don’t want to see.

How to create an impactful video ad

Here are ways to create an Instagram ad that is worth the money you invest in creating and circulating it.

1. Create a solid impression in the first three seconds

Do you know why gamification in digital marketing is held at a pedestal? It is because gamification allows brands to engage customers instantly. But what if you don’t want to use this strategy solely within your video ads?

Well, then the first few seconds of your video are the most crucial. Since Instagram users tend to scroll through their feeds very quickly, you need to compel users to stop at your video from the get-go.

Therefore, it is advised that you have moved within the first three seconds of the video. This allows users to register, even with the sounds off, that the post is a video and not a static picture. You must also ensure that you have a great hook, whether visually or through text.

2. Learn the art of providing adequate text

Since the audio of the Instagram video is muted by default, never rely too much on it when developing your ad. Neither should you rely solely on your captions.

Instead, use dynamic text effects to highlight the main points of your video. This will ensure that the target audience does not deviate from the crux of the content.

At the same time, you must excel at the art of balancing the amount of text you use. While too short a text makes a given point incomprehensible, too much text can lead to the audience losing interest in the ad.

Depending on the duration and visuals of your ad, decide how to be pithy with your words.

3. Identify a need and solve a problem

All impactful ads must successfully identify an unmet need in the lives of the target audience and show how the product of the brand meets the given need.

This helps in forming a functional and emotional bond with your potential customers. Rather than focusing on the value you provide, start with the problem customers have. Then introduce your product as a solution.

4. Have a single call to action

Do you wish to boost awareness of your brand? Or do you want to increase app downloads? Never try to ride on two boats at the same time. For a given campaign, stick to one goal and theme.

This is because an ad that maximizes brand awareness will have quite different content than what helps improve subscriptions and downloads. A video ad that tries to pack it all will end up looking like a sales pitch.

And the last thing customers need when scrolling through social media is feeling that they are being bombarded with brands trying to sell their items.

5. Try not to look like an ad

Consumers of today are very sceptical of ads. It is not surprising considering how intrusive ad campaigns can get. In a world of unskippable advertising, it is natural to feel weary. However, a brand must still take the road of advertising to get noticed.

So, the least you can do is try to disguise yourself. Whether it be a natural caption or a video that doesn’t try hard-sell items, take measures to avoid looking like an ad.

Instagram Video Ads to Take Inspiration From

Here are some clever video ad campaigns you can take inspiration from.


Swiggy, one of the largest food delivery services operating in India, used a fun video ad campaign to garner attention.

Their Instagram stories feature to create a video ad that starts off with rolling out mouthwatering food. This is enough to capture the attention of any foodie. The ad then uses captions to share the features of the Swiggy app and ends with an illustration of a mobile device – a call to action urging people to download the app.

Simple, yet genius!

Burger King

There are two campaigns of Burger king that are worthy of limelight.

1. Stories Ordering

Among gamification marketing examples, Burger King surely tops the list. This is because it succeeded in offering a unique incentive and employed different formats to do so.


While it is not a traditional video ad, the campaign still deserves a spot on this list. Burger king used Instagram stories, polls, and video-based backgrounds to create a viral campaign called “Stories Ordering.”

Here, Instagram users could customize their orders via polls embedded in stories. This would allow them to access a free customized voucher to enjoy the burger they just created. Using visually appealing backgrounds on the poll and via the unique idea, the campaign managed to be a success.

2. ASL Day Ad

Another campaign that tugged the heartstrings while ensuring interaction was a video ad circulated on American Sign Language (ASL) day. Here, they used their mascot to sign a message, along with captions. The use of Instagram for this campaign was a subtle nod to consumer behaviour using the social media platform without sound.

Ending Remarks

In 2021 and beyond, dynamic formats will rule the advertising front. After all, we are living in a world where billboards are being replaced by holographs.

As we enter into the next normal for the world of advertising, don’t be left behind. Begin by adopting Instagram video ads into your campaign. Be receptive to other new features that come your way. It is only going to get more interactive from here on!