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Gamification: How to Increase Engagement at Your Virtual Event

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We live in a world with various versions of the ‘new normal,’ especially when it comes to events.

More than ever, event planners are getting requests to create memorable virtual experiences. They are also competing against mediums like YouTube, email, and Netflix that are just a click away. Not to mention, the rise of screen fatigue sweeping the net.

At Hopin, we get asked all the time — how do I make my virtual event more engaging, more memorable, more participatory?

From virtual scavenger hunts to sponsor bingo, we've got you covered.

Enter gamification.

5 virtual event gamification ideas to inspire your next event

Concept 1: Design a virtual scavenger hunt

A virtual scavenger hunt aims to guide your attendees into all your event areas to find hidden “tokens.”

These tokens or challenges can take many forms. For example, if a certain phrase gets said during a keynote presentation. Or, a keyword is hiding in the session chat. The possibilities are endless. 

You can tailor these tokens to reflect the theme of your event or key company values. You could even offer free giveaways as part of your sponsorship packages (more below).

To get started, I'd recommend you draft a list of 10-20 things your attendees will have to do to complete the hunt. Be sure to include details on how the event area works and the requirements of completing the task. 

Here are virtual scavenger hunt "gems" to get you thinking:

  • Snap a photo of you participating in an evening cocktail making class.

  • Grab a photo of you participating in the yoga and meditation break (make sure we can see you and the screen!)

  • Schedule a 1:1 meeting with an exhibitor (Provide the name of the exhibitor, company, and a screenshot of the calendar hold).
  • Identify the keyword mentioned in the opening Keynote.
  • List all of the event sponsors.
  • Visit the platinum sponsor booth and speak with the rep on audio and video to retrieve the hidden keyword.
  • Snap a photo of you participating in the virtual Happy Hour (make sure we can see you and the content on Hopin)
  • Attend three breakout sessions (identify the names, and we will confirm your attendance post-event).
  • Introduce yourself in the general event chat.
  • Answer a poll question.

Once you have built your offering, you’ll need to establish ground rules for the competition. 

How many tokens does the attendee need to collect? When do the results need to be submitted? What email do they send the results to? Do they need to include photo attachments? 

The more detail, the better. But remember, keep it simple and easy — and fun!

To make the scavenger hunt run smoothly, communicate the rules in advance. 

Give attendees time to prepare, get excited, and put their game faces on. The race begins the moment the virtual doors open after all!

Concept 2: Launch a sponsor ‘Register Interest’ raffle

In virtual events, the traditional expo incentives like stenciled lattes, free popcorn, and trinkets are no longer a thing (yet). 

So without these on-the-ground lures, how do we encourage attendees to visit all the exhibitor booths? With virtual prizes, of course!

One of the most defining features of expo halls on Hopin is the 'register interest button.'

When an attendee is viewing an expo booth, they can click this button to connect with the sponsor. It triggers an email to the sponsor rep in real-time, giving them the ability to follow up with the lead right in the event. 

To incentivize the number of booths attendees visit and register interest with, you can create a 'register interest' raffle. The attendee will receive one raffle entry for every register interest button they click. 

This option is simple yet effective. More leads are generated for sponsors and who doesn't love free things?! 


With this gamification concept, event organizers can incentivize attendees to visit all the booths to fill out their bingo cards and qualify for a prize.

Concept 3: Kick off a round of sponsor bingo

To start gamifying your expo hall, you'll first need to set up your bingo card. If you are using a standard bingo card, this means there are 25 spaces up for grabs. 

Depending on your number of sponsors or the size of your event, you can also alter this; 4x4 for 12 sponsors/spaces or 3x3 for nine sponsors/spaces. 

The goal is to have attendees fill up their cards. Unlike traditional bingo, attendees start with a blank card and fill in the info as they visit different booths.

To make this a little more challenging, each booth should have a 'keyword' to be entered into the card under the corresponding sponsor name. As attendees check out the various booths, they will fill up their cards. Keywords can be displayed in the booth chat, or communicated by the sponsor verbally. 

Tip: You can also tweak the level of interaction required to retrieve the sponsor package's keyword. Platinum requires a conversation with the rep, gold, silver, and bronze will be posted in the booth chat.

Once attendees fill their card, they can submit it via email to a designated email alias for verification. All winners can receive a small prize, or all qualifying individuals can be entered into a draw for a grand prize!

Concept 4: Integrate gamification using third-parties

When developing a gamification strategy for your event on Hopin, you can also consider third-party integrations to enhance the experience. Here are a few examples of complimentary services that event teams have used to make their events a smashing success. 

Create a 3D gallery or product showcase using Zappar Augmented Reality:

Using the free Zappar app, attendees can watch content come to life in real-time using a mobile device. The app automatically opens the camera on a mobile phone, and when a Zappar code is detected, the content pieces form together into an AR experience right on your device.

Once you have created your content for the experience, Zappar codes can be posted within your expo hall booths using Google Slides or YouTube. From here, attendees can move about the expo hall discovering the unique AR experiences within your featured booths. 

Tip: Enhance your sponsor package by building the AR content powered by Zappar on behalf of your sponsors.

Bring some energy to your keynote by giving speakers a round of applause using XEO:

One of the biggest hurdles for speakers in virtual events is not being able to gauge the audience's reaction. Telling jokes or essential announcements to a non-responsive computer screen just doesn't land the same. BUT!

By integrating XEO audio into your main stage RTMP stream, you can recreate the in-person applause many speakers are missing. By downloading the app to a mobile device, attendees can 'tap' the center of their screen to clap. The faster you tap, the louder the clap! 

Don't feel limited to just these; countless apps can be paired with Hopin to enhance your event. 

Concept 5: Send some 💙 with a virtual giveaway

A giveaway is a proverbial cherry on top of each of these gamification concepts. With something to work towards, you can up the ante and create hype surrounding your event and game. 

The best part? No shipping required. 

By choosing a virtual giveaway such as an Amazon gift card, an Uber eats credit, an e-book, or a discount on a product or services, all you need to deliver the gift is an email address. 

With large scale events, there may be instances where many people complete the challenge, so for these situations, you can have all victors be entered for a chance to win a more enticing grand prize. 

In the end, the possibilities for adding gamification experiences to your virtual event are endless. I hope you found some inspiration from this short list of ideas for your next event. 

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Up next: download our latest whitepaper -- How to Generate 6-Figure Value for Virtual Event Sponsors