Game mechanics for onboarding? Is it really worth it?

There are significant amount of proof and and killing facts for importance of user onboarding. There is no doubt that user onboarding is essential to grow your business and bring a lot of benefits. But why to use onboarding gamification for it?

O‍nboarding gamification - is a system of rewards and challenges that are meant to help new users from feeling overwhelmed with the app and increase their engagement.

Gamified user onboarding is a process of using game design elements to improve the user experience and increase engagement with a product or service.

Gamification is the use of game elements in non-game contexts. For example, adding points, badges, and leaderboards to an app or website.

User onboarding gamification- onboarding gamification focused on engagement of users.

Employee onboarding gamification-onboarding gamification focused on engagement of new hires and making smooth transition to the new company.

The Problem solved by onboarding gamification: Low User Engagement

The problem with many user onboarding solutions is that they fail to engage users. As a result, users often abandon the onboarding process before they can fully learn how to use the product. This is a major problem, as it can lead to low adoption rates and high churn rates.

Onboarding in gamification is designed to solve this problem by engaging users and keeping them engaged throughout the onboarding process. By using game mechanics, such as points, leaderboards, and badges, these solutions motivate users to complete the onboarding process and learn how to use the product.

Gamified onboarding strategies have been shown to be effective at increasing user engagement and adoption rates. They are also popular with users, as they make the onboarding process more fun and enjoyable.

Users are different and their onboarding experience is different. It can differ based on country, type of business age and many other factors described here for example for Finnish SaaS companies However one thing is always the same, we love playing games, and we love gamification.

There are many different ways to gamify the onboarding process.

When to implement gamification in onboarding?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when to use gamification in onboarding. The decision depends on factors such as the industry, sector, and specific needs of the organization.

However, gamification can be an effective tool for onboarding in a number of situations. For example, it can help new employees learn about the company's culture and values, or it can be used to teach them specific skills that they need to perform their job.

Gamification can also be used to engage and motivate employees during the onboarding process.

How does User Onboarding Gamification Works?

  1. User onboarding gamification is a process where new users are given a set of tasks or challenges to complete in order to learn how to use a product or service.
  2. Gamified onboarding can be used in any type of product or service, but it is particularly effective for digital products and services.
  3. Gamification in onboarding helps new users learn quickly and efficiently by providing them with a fun and interactive experience.
  4. There are many different types of onboarding gamification solutions, so businesses can choose the one that best fits their needs.

Let's look at the particular onboarding gamification examples used by different SaaS companies out there. There are 19 Gamified User Onboarding Solutions for you. Some of them could be quite familiar to you and some can really surprise you!

#1 Tokens

Tokens are in my top list of user onboarding gamification examples, the most advanced and fascinating how they can work for user engagement. Tokens can be used to incentivize user engagement on a platform or within an app.

For example, a platform may issue tokens to users who complete certain tasks, such as writing reviews or taking surveys, or taking some missions. These tokens can then be redeemed for rewards like discounts or exclusive content or even company shares. Issuing tokens can be an effective gamified onboarding way to increase user activity and loyalty.

On Twitter Hunter user receives TH tokens for every day being a Tweet Hunter user. From the day you start your free trial, to the day Tweet Hunter possibly gets acquired. As long as you're a Tweet Hunter user, you earn TH Tokens daily. The amount of tokens depends on the plain user subscribed. The amount of tokens you earn depends on the plan you are subscribed to.

#2 Virtual currency

Make use of virtual currency or rewards that can be earned by completing certain actions during the onboarding process. Reddit for example uses this type of user onboarding gamification, which gives coins in your karma for leaving a comment.

#3 Timed quiz

You most probably familiar with quizzes and questions as an instrument to onboard your users. But did you ever make them timed and create a feeling of urgency and missing out?  The timed quiz is one more  gamification onboarding way to engage users and get them excited about using the product.

It works by giving users a set amount of time to answer each question. If users don't answer the question in the allocated time, they lose points. This type of quiz is a great way to get users engaged with your product and make sure that they understand how it works

Timed quiz created with MarbleFlows

#4 Badges

If you ever accomplished any online courses you are probably familiar with how badges work. Inside the product, the badges are used to engage users and help them understand the product. The badge system is an onboarding gamification way of giving feedback to users.

When a user completes a task, they are awarded a badge. The badges are also a way of letting other users know about the progress of the peers. So badges work as social instruments. They can be used to show the progress or completion of a task. The badges can also be used to motivate users to complete more tasks.

One example of badges is from IBM Coursera.

#5 Levels

Give users the opportunity to “level up” as they complete different tasks or goals during the onboarding process. For example, Linkedin provides the opportunity to level up your profile strength.

This gamified onboarding instrument motivates users to fill in the details and increase the stickness to the platform.

Linkedin Levels.

#6 Roulette & Spin the wheel

SaaStr has an interesting feature where you can spin the wheel and try for a prize, this is a great way to interact with your users. The spin the wheel feature on SaaStr festival website is a great way to play with your users and convert more attendants.

It increases engagement and converts more users by giving them discounts for signing up for the festival. This onboarding gamification instrument works best as a lead generation instrument. Spin the wheel on SaaStr

#7 Leaderboards

Make use of leaderboards to encourage competition and motivation.

Another type of gamification for onboarding is leaderboard-based gamification. This involves ranking users based on their performance.

Users can compete against each other to try to get the highest score. Leaderboards can provide a sense of competition and motivation for users to perform well.

Leaderboards track who has earned the most badges and give top performers recognition on the company website and social media.

#8 Avatars

Allow users to customize their own avatar or character as they progress through the onboarding process.

User avatars or characters to represent users as they go through the user onboarding process. This is the onboarding gamification element which allow users to be anonymous or create any character they would like to be.

#9 Money rewards & Referrals

Many companies start using referral systems and money rewards. Referral itself has strong gamification as a part of it.

The main example is paypal which gave away money for referring the users to their system. It is one of onboarding gamification examples which bring also financial benefit to the users.

Currently, the food delivery services like Gorrilas, present users extra money to spend on product for invitation of your friends in the app. One more onboarding gamification example is AppSumo, marketplace that also refers users.

#10 Checklists

Probably much more familiar and widely adopted by SaaS companies approach to gamified onboarding is a checklist. There is now a variety of different engaging and powerful checklists which worth having a look at.

The checklist works in a very simple way. As soon as the user accomplishes some action it is completed in the checklist. Normally, the software companies add checklist directly in their product.

As soon as account is created, the user see the steps inside the checklist You see it the onboarding process the steps you need to accomplish and which are already accomplished.

If you already did some action it automatically ticks the box for you. There are some checklists that are not automatic still.

Here is an example of a checklist from Intercom.

#11 Progress bar

The other element of gamification used in user onboarding process is progress bar. It often comes together with checklist.

The progress bar is a great way to engage users and keep them coming back to the product. It works by showing the user how far they have progressed in the onboarding process.

This encourages them to keep going so that they can see their progress and complete the process. The progress bar also allows users to see how close they are to completing the onboarding process. This gives them a sense of accomplishment and encourages them to keep going.

Product Hunt Progress bar

#12 Rewards & Pushes

Use rewards and prizes to incentivize users to complete the onboarding process.

For example, linkedin constantly pushes every user and give different hints on how to find a job or upgrade their skills to improve skills.

There are less amazing and interesting onboarding gamification strategies that also can be used. Among them are:

Onboarding gamification 13. Points-based gamification

Onboarding gamification 14. Micro-courses

It is only one example, but there are 100 ways to educate your customers to increase product engagement

Onboarding gamification strategy 15. Tutorials and guides

Onboarding gamification strategy 16. Competitions

Onboarding gamification strategy 17 "Help Call" Feature

Onboarding gamification strategy 18. Personalized messages

Onboarding gamification strategy 19. Surveys and feedback tools

Tips on how to set up onboarding gamification

  1. Use familiar, easy-to-understand metaphors and visuals to improve the onboarding process via gamification experience for new users.
  2. Test different approaches with a small number of users before rolling out your onboarding across your whole user base. It will allow to select the most effective onboarding gamification strategy for you.
  3. Use diverse game-like elements in your onboarding process. You can combine different onboarding gamification startegies like badges, levels, points, and progress bars.
  4. Make use of leaderboards to encourage competition and motivation.
  5. Each one of the customer onboarding ideas presented here has been used by major brands in a variety of industries so you can be sure that they will help you increase customer engagement and conversion rates immediately.

By the way, these strategies will also help you to create a powerful user experience that will reduce churn rates and increase customer lifetime get onboard with customer engagement now!


Onboarding gamification is a great way to improve user engagement and retention. By adding elements of gaming into the onboarding process, users are more likely to stick around and continue using your product or service. If you're looking for ways to improve user engagement, consider implementing a gamified onboarding solution for your users.

Thank you for reading!