Jmango360 states that mobile apps can provide twice as many customer retention opportunities and 3 times more conversions than mobile-optimized websites. That is a reason why mobile application conversion is so important. To encourage users to download your application, companies have to prepare strong strategies, create an engaging design and make sure that there are no bugs that may discourage users from the start. When you have your beautifully polished application ready it is time to win users’ loyalty. How can you encourage customers from the very beginning of their journey with your brand to get your mobile app? Let’s see!

The reward for interacting with your mobile app

Imagine that a user got your mobile app, starts to interact with it, but what then? By including a gamification mechanism that incorporates rewards for certain interactions, users get something. 

For example, customers can earn points in your mobile app which then can be exchanged for some additional features, in-app purchases, personalized rewards, or badges. This mechanism drives greater engagement and loyalty. Sounds a bit theoretical but let’s see some examples and explore how points, leaderboards, and badges (when introduced rightly) increase users’ motivation.


Points serve as pointers of achievement and users’ progress. They can reward users with status (if used to rank users against each other) or they can offer tangible rewards (for example, when converted to in-app currency or free items as part of a loyalty scheme).

What applications use points?

Have you ever used Duolingo? Every user has some assigned points, when you invite friends to learn with you, you are able to observe their progress and how many days in a row they have used Duolingo (user’s X-day streak). It is highly competitive – I can tell you that from my own experience. When my family race on learning with Duolingo got so tight that my dad called me when he noticed that I lost my streak to ask what happened and if everything is ok. And I was just having a really busy day. 😉 

Another great example of a mobile app making use of points is This application actually consists of 3 main features: Points, Referrals, VIP. But let’s focus on points for now. A point-based system serves to motivate customers to keep coming back and spend more money. Users can get points for creating an account, for writing a product review, on their birthdays, for social sharing, and of course, for the purchase. 

Let’s look into another example – Starbucks. This brand uses stars as a point reward system. When users collect enough stars, they can get a free drink. To earn stars, users have to pay with a registered Starbucks card (physical or digital in a mobile app). Obviously, frequent customers get more, and they are able to send eGifts to their friends via email. If this doesn’t convince you to points, maybe the numbers will. In the second quarter of 2019, Starbucks grew its active member base by 500 000 (13% increase rate), which resulted in 16.8 million active users in total. Moreover, same-store sales rose by 4% in Q2 2019 in the United States, and Starbucks Rewards members accounted for 41% of the revenue growth. 

Steppie application also rewards users with points for their healthy behaviors and lifestyle choices, like walking, running, etc. Users then can exchange points for discounts and prizes. Another introduced gamification mechanism in this insurtech mobile app is 4 levels of ranges for users which encourage them to stay healthy and benefit from what Steppie can offer to the most active. After downloading an app user is named a “Hobbyist”, after some time and gaining points, the user moves to higher ranges and can be a “Novice”, then “Specialist”, and “Master” accordingly.


Badges principally serve as a recognition of a user’s achievements. Badge systems in various applications align users to shared goals while serving as virtual status representations, recognizing badge-holders from others.

Again, I will mention the Duolingo app. It uses badges awarded for achievements such as completion of a certain number of skills, following a certain number of friends, spending a certain amount of lingots, etc. It is a great way for users to feel accomplished. They want to use the application even more, especially if they are able to see how little effort they need to gain another badge

Another mobile app that uses badges to motivate and engage users is Codecademy. This is an online platform that teaches software development skills and programming. In 2018, the company released a mobile app called Codecademy Go and it uses badges to award users for mastering certain stages of particular skills. At the moment, there are 4 types of badges – you get one when you complete all of the exercises, courses, specific highlighted courses, and finally promotion badges. 
A great example of a mobile app from the healthcare industry that uses badges is Fitbit. It is a wearable fitness tracker that is connected to a mobile app. When the user completes a certain activity, e.g. walks a specific number of steps throughout the use of the app, they get a badge in the form of measurable achievement. For instance, a user gets the Serengeti badge for 500 miles walked, which corresponds to the distance of the Serengeti National park.

Even Hubstaff web and mobile apps have badges to motivate employees to track time and work more efficiently. At Applover, we use this tool and we can say it works pretty well!


Leaderboards show progress against others, framing application engagement as a competitive chase. Leaderboards, as well as badges, can motivate customers when they work as visible indicators of status among other users.

Duolingo of course provides a leaderboard to motivate users to score more points, learn more, and eventually spend more time using an application. 

Vevox is an app for online meetings and classes. It also shows users’ results on the leaderboard. In-app quizzes allow users to verify the knowledge of others (educational purpose mostly), and the leaderboard provides a clear understanding of users’ knowledge levels and benchmarks them against other users. It is mostly useful for educators but when the leaderboard is displayed it can boost motivation

Strava, a popular mobile application among runners, also motivates users through a leaderboard. Each Strava Segment has a leaderboard that ranks all Strava athletes who match the GPS trace between the defined start and finish. Leaderboards are specific to a single activity type, meaning that a run segment only shows runs on the leaderboard and a cycling segment only shows rides. Moreover, an app allows filtering the results by age and by weight to be more accurate while comparing sports efforts with others.


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How can you implement rewards into your mobile application?

The rewards strategy is easy to implement. All you have to do is to choose a reward system that suits your business model best. Most successful reward programs chose one or a few from the categories we discussed above. When you define that, then you have to focus on what you will reward users for. Let’s outline precise activities you might reward your customers for doing:

  • Reaching purchase targets – When customers spend a determined amount of money, they might get 5 percent off their next purchase of $100 or more. Limited-time offers are likely to encourage prompt purchases and it is worth remembering about that. 
  • Reaching a purchase target number – When a user makes a particular number of purchases in the determined time, they can get a free product, gift card, discounted membership, or just a discount for their next purchase, possibilities are endless. 
  • Review after the free trial period – Asking users for their feedback should be obvious, but giving them something in return is not. When customers review a new product before its launch, this gives them a great sense of ownership which can really boost a number of downloads/sales and lead to a great number of word-of-mouth recommendations which are priceless nowadays. 
  • Recommendations to others – When you offer users a discount or gift in return for every new customer they bring you, you can expect a great number of downloads of your app. Uber does it all the time. 😉 
  • Other activities – Let users earn points for various actions. These can be viewing an advertisement video, following and sharing content on social networks, subscribing to the blog, they can even get something small for their birthdays. Rewarding any action that proves that the user is engaged with your app, brings you more loyal customers.