How to Use Virtual Event Gamification to Boost Engagement


Ashley Levesque


Glazed eyes, disengaged attendees mindlessly checking email, tumbleweed rolling through the chat… we've all experienced the struggle of keeping virtual event audiences hooked. 

Virtual event fatigue became all too real after the pandemic drove events online. Too many video calls, webinars, and virtual events can make remote audiences tune out. Banzai’s research report data shows that it’s harder to get people to maintain focus rates during live virtual events compared with on-demand webinars.* When people attend live events during busy workdays, they're more prone to distractions.

Thankfully, a powerful new approach is keeping attendees focused and engaged no matter when they attend: virtual event gamification.

The desire to connect, compete, and be recognized is hard-wired into our psyches.  By injecting elements of community, competition, and achievement into virtual events, today's savviest marketers are boosting attendance, engagement, and ROI. 

Gamification transforms tedious online sessions into immersive, interactive experiences that build your audience. Whether it's a virtual scavenger hunt, a webinar quiz, or a live streamed leaderboard, gamified events spark that neurochemical rush of accomplishment. 

Keep reading to learn how gamification can turbocharge engagement for your virtual events. From gamified event promotion to live games and follow-up, we'll share creative ways to make your events unforgettable.

🎉 But first, snag our proven virtual event email templates to promote your fun, interactive events.

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What Is Virtual Event Gamification? 

Virtual event gamification refers to incorporating game-like elements, interactive experiences, and elements of play into your events — from webinars and virtual conferences to product demos, online training events, and more. 

At its core, gamification taps into the psychological drivers of motivation, friendly competition, and achievement. It's about finding ways to immerse your audience and make them active participants, not passive viewers.

Common ways to gamify a virtual event include quizzes, contests, leaderboards, point/badge systems, and interactive challenges with clear wins. The key is creating an experience that's inherently fun and engaging while still delivering value, educating your audience, and supporting your marketing goals.

For example, you could take a leaf out of Banzai’s book and turn a product demo into a game show webinar, with the audience winning freebies by correctly following scavenger hunt links and answering questions. 

Demio’s engagement features make it easy to create a fun, interactive, gamified virtual event.

Or attendees could collaborate to "escape" from a virtual escape room by exploring your digital assets (website, resources, demos, etc.) to find clues about your service offerings that unlock doors. Offer prize packs or exclusive discounts to the first team to escape. 

For conferences and trade shows, you could use gamification for booth activities (e.g. play to win branded merch), session check-ins, networking competitions, and more. 

The possibilities are virtually endless (pun intended) when you start thinking about creative ways to add games, teamwork, and rewards into your online events

Benefits of Gamifying Your Virtual Event

Gamification isn't just about making events fun — it delivers powerful business benefits for marketing and sales teams. When done right, it can help you avoid virtual event fatigue and boost your attendance, engagement, and overall results at all stages of the marketing funnel. 

Key benefits include:

Higher Attendance & Registration Rates

Let's face it — monotonous webinars with one-way presentations generally don’t grab attention. Framing your event as an entertaining, interactive experience instantly makes it more appealing for attendees. By gamifying your event with prizes, competition, and achievements, you can build buzz, anticipation, and FOMO that drives registrations.

Increased Audience Engagement

Gamification stops people from tuning out or multitasking by prompting them to take actions, collaborate, and stay focused to win prizes or take part in challenges. In fact, Banzai’s Webinar Statistics Report shows that the mere inclusion of engagement elements like polls and featured actions can significantly boost attendee focus rates, likely due to how our brain responds to unpredictability and anticipating rewards. Active chat participation, polls and surveys, games, and interactive conversations will all help your attendees engage.

Better Data 

With engagement data like poll responses, quiz scores, interactive submissions, comments, and focus times, you gain powerful behavioral signals for lead scoring and prioritization. Banzai’s virtual event tools help you segment your most engaged attendees for follow-up — and give you overall focus time and engagement metrics to understand where your audience drop off and keep improving future events.

Demio analytics dashboard showing webinar attendance, polling results and other key metrics
Demio’s virtual event analytics show you exactly how your audience engaged.

More Effective Education

Embedding your messaging into interactive polls, puzzles, or roleplays means attendees will absorb insights through active participation versus passive consumption. This is a great strategy as learnings stick better — in fact, the latest academic research shows that challenge-based gamification strongly boosts educational achievement.

This can help inform your TOFU educational content, online training, and courses, but also sales-focused events and demos where you want to bring the audience to a deeper understanding of your Product/Service.

Stronger Brand Affinity

Adding elements of play, rewards, and fun memories creates positive associations with your brand. Virtual event gamification helps forge an emotional connection so your attendees see you as innovative and customer-centric.

Clear Competitive Differentiation

Stale webinars are a dime a dozen. But interactive, creatively gamified events provide a truly enjoyable audience experience that will set your brand apart and leave lasting positive impressions.

👀 Ready to start delivering virtual events that drive real engagement and business impact? Download Banzai’s Ultimate Guide to Virtual Events today.

7 Creative Ideas to Gamify Your Event & Engage Your Attendees

1. Interactive Quizzes and Polls

Interactive quizzes and polls are a simple yet powerful way to gamify webinars, online training, conferences, and more, transforming passive audiences into active participants.

Polls keep attendees interested as they wonder whether others will share their responses. Quizzes create a game-like atmosphere of friendly competition and achievement that promotes engagement and reinforces learnings.

How you can use quizzes and polls in your virtual event: 

  • Frame quizzes as games to win prizes.
  • Incorporate frequent polls to check understanding and opinions.
  • Run live polls to crowdsource feedback and ideas or vote on decisions.
  • Share answers and give shout-outs to top scorers.
  • Use formats like "Truth or Lie?" and themed trivia for extra engagement.
  • Remember that with the right webinar tools, you can use polls, downloads, and games in non-live on-demand events, too!

A Demio webinar showing a slideshow presentation alongside polling, resource sharing, and live chat
Banzai’s webinar tool Demio lets you embed interactive polls seamlessly into your virtual events

2. Leaderboards and Points Systems 

Leaderboards and point systems introduce gamification by allowing attendees to compete and gain visual recognition on the board based on their participation and knowledge. Public leaderboards build buzz and excitement as people try to move up the ranks — and adding points-based prizes like free tickets or discounts really amps up the competition.

How you can use leaderboards and points systems in your virtual events: 

  • Award points for completing activities like polls, quizzes, sharing, etc.using platforms for virtual events that automatically track engagement.
  • Give top finishers prize packs or discounts to increase the competitive drive.
  • Update leaderboards live during the event.
  • Add an element of time pressure with countdown leaderboards.
  • Announce and celebrate top point earners at intervals.
  • Go big with a leaderboard across multiple event sessions for conferences or webinar series.

3. Gamified Event Promotion 

Gamification isn’t limited to the event itself —  you can bake it into your promotion and pre-event nurturing too. Gamifying your pre-event promotions builds anticipation and FOMO from the start, getting people invested in your event experience before it even happens.

How you can use gamified event promotion in your virtual events: 

  • Use Banzai's Boost to incentivize registrants to share your event with rewards.
  • Give points and prizes for social media post shares and/or referrals.
  • Run contests and giveaways for user-generated content submissions.
  • Create interactive teaser games/puzzles that unlock exclusive content.
  • Set up global or regional competition leaderboards across registrants.

Screenshot showing Banzai and Demio Boost add-on promoting social sharing and virtual event promotion
You can give your attendees a chance to win prizes before your webinar’s even started with Demio’s Boost 

4. Virtual Escape rooms 

One of the most engaging and memorable gamification options is creating a virtual escape room experience centered around your event topic. 

Escape rooms inspire teamwork, creative thinking, and build an atmosphere of friendly competition as groups race to “escape” first. They create powerful brand associations based on positive experiences.

How you can use virtual escape rooms in your events: 

  • Design a themed escape room storyline connected to your product, service, or industry.
  • Get playful — an infosec company could create a heist-themed data security challenge, while an enterprise webinar might theme a jokey escape room around getting out of a boring meeting.
  • Create multimedia puzzles and challenges including following links around the web.
  • Appoint live hosts/facilitators to provide hints and build suspense.
  • Set a countdown timer and keep displayed leaderboards of team rankings.
  • Award prizes to teams that escape the fastest or get top scores.

👀 Check out our 2024 guide for even more ways of keeping up with virtual event trends.

5. Attendee Spotlights and Audience Participation

Directly involving attendees and putting them in the spotlight can turn a passive viewing experience into a gamified, collaborative event, overcoming common virtual event challenges like boredom or distractions.

Being acknowledged and applauded by peers taps into strong psychological motivators around status, achievement, and even friendly competition. 

How you can use audience spotlights and participation in your events: 

  • Identify opportunities to bring attendees onto the virtual “stage”.
  • Let select guests be live co-hosts, panel participants, or interviewees.
  • Give virtual awards like "Valued Contributor" or "Top Influencer" badges that guests can brag about on social media.
  • Bring attendees on stage to share their creative examples or experiences.

6. Surprise Rewards and Celebrations

Adding in spontaneous celebrations, giveaways, and unexpected treats creates audience delight and buzzworthy virtual event moments.

Unpredictability and the surprise factor trigger psychological responses like excitement, happiness, and social motivation, keeping attendees continuously engaged in anticipation of the next reward.

How you can use surprise rewards and celebrations in your events: 

  • Trigger virtual confetti and music when a points milestone is reached in your event games.
  • Randomly select attendees live for spotlighted giveaways and prizes.
  • Include dynamic surprise guests or surprise performances.
  • Use a spin-the-wheel game for unexpected giveaways that keep energy high.

7. Fun Follow Up

The gamification doesn't have to end when your live virtual event wraps up. 

Fun, interactive follow-ups nurture attendees along the funnel and prevent drop-off after the initial event hype. They also provide opportunities to re-engage people who missed the live session and pull them into your gamified experience.

How you can use fun follow-up after your virtual events: 

  • Send emails “unlocking” bonus materials for highly engaged participants and quiz winners.
  • Let attendees win discounts and further freebies by sending them a prize wheel game afterward.
  • Offer prizes/discounts for the best social media posts about your virtual event.
  • Send no-shows an on-demand version of your event with added interactive "live" games and activities using a platform like Demio.

👀 We go into depth on tons of other online engagement ideas in our comprehensive guide to virtual event activities.

The Future of Virtual Events: Banzai's Vision for Gamified Engagement

Successful event marketing today means interactive, gamified experiences that captivate your audience's attention and leave lasting impressions.

You don't even need complex technology or gaming expertise to get in on the engagement revolution. 

Banzai’s audience engagement tools empower marketers of all levels to transform monotonous virtual events into immersive, engaging webinar adventures. 

Our all-in-one webinar platform Demio makes it easy to run polls and quizzes, direct attendees to freebie downloads and call-to-action links, and spotlight audience members.

But we don't stop at just making virtual events fun. Demio gives you all the rich engagement and webinar data you need to demonstrate ROI and identify your most interested prospects for targeted follow-up. 

Banzai also offers Reach tools that ensure you pack your events by doing targeted outreach for you and a Boost feature that gamifies event promotion by incentivizing registrations with rewards and social sharing contests.

We envision a world where marketers can tailor compelling virtual event experiences to each unique audience. Banzai is leading the way toward the future of events that inspire people to show up, stay engaged, absorb your messaging, and forge lasting emotional connections with your brand.

Personalized communications are at the heart of any effective gamified virtual events strategy. Download our free customizable event email pack to get started! 

Frequently asked questions about gamifying virtual events

How much extra work is required to gamify a virtual event?

Gamifying your virtual events doesn't have to require a lot of extra work and time, especially with solutions like Demio that make it easy to incorporate engagement features like polls and quizzes into your webinar. Simple games, collaborative challenges, and freebies can go a long way.

More advanced options like custom-built games or full virtual escape room environments will involve more upfront effort but can pay dividends in wow-factor engagement.

How can I measure the ROI of gamifying virtual events?

Gamified virtual events provide a wealth of valuable engagement data that helps you measure your ROI. Solutions like Demio track metrics like poll responses, downloads, chat engagement, and focus time, as well as webinar KPIs like registrations, attendance, and drop-offs. 

This gives you powerful data on the effectiveness of your virtual event as well as behavioral signals to score leads and segment your hottest prospects.

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