BENGALURU: Brands in India are increasingly exploring the use of gamification in their advertising as a way of increasing consumer engagement by as much as 80%.

That figure is cited by ad tech companies creating games but brands have also reported click-through rates increasing fivefold when they have used gamified ads.

GSK Consumer Healthcare India, maker of Horlicks and Boost food drinks, devised an augmented reality-based game – Chote Sultan Hunt – to boost brand recall. "We saw the highest ever click-through rate of 2.5% plus, compared with an industry standard of 0.5%," reported Prashant Pandey, evp/marketing.

"Gamified ads are a great technique to deliver the brand message in a pre-conditioned and appealing format, making the message inseparably linked to the medium and experiential," he told Mint.

The use of such techniques is likely to grow as smartphone penetration increases and internet connection speeds get faster.

At mobile marketing platform Vserv, around 10% of campaigns are currently based on gamification.

Dippak Khurana, chief executive officer, recalled an early success in 2013, when the company had adapted a popular game, Break the Brick, to incorporate key features of the new Samsung Galaxy phone which was being launched. "This ad engaged 90% of audience it reached," he said.

One possible downside is the cost involved, which is rather higher than a standard banner ad. "Custom product-based games generally cost anything between Rs.20,000 and Rs.80,000 if done at a professional studio, depending on the length and complexity of the elements used," according to Roshan Kumar, general manager/media alliances at digital media platform Seventynine.

But they are faster to create than television or video ads and also have the crucial interactive element that encourages engagement.

"To have an ad that responds to touch, sounds, tilting, or even the current weather creates a personal relevance for the user that's unmatched by much more expensive media," said Arun Kumar Pattabhiraman, vp/global segment marketing at InMobi.

A recent article in the ANA Magazine noted that motivation, not entertainment, should be the main purpose of gamification. A basic form of gamification that most appeals to audiences is based on social sharing, achievements and getting status.

Data sourced from Mint; additional content by Warc staff