Streaks & Offline Puzzles: The Power of Gamification in News Apps

News media companies have always understood the power of games and gamification to drive recurring behaviour. In order to become a true partner in the life of subscribers publishers must address the different user cravings. Games and entertainment play a great role in that spectrum as we have seen reported in the recent research on user needs. Today we dive into a few cases of bringing puzzles and games to the next level, including:

Gamification as a key driver for habit creation

One of the most recent experiments in gamification for news is probably the streaks and levels that Artifact introduced in the app. In an interview with Sratchery earlier this year, founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger explain how key this is for habit formation.

“News is only useful if you create a habit where [people] actually engage with it…unless we create that habit early, it’ll be useless for the long term.”

Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder Artifact

In their early product design the two former Instagram founders tested streaks with the beta group. “Okay, how do we get people to come back? Well, streaks is kind of funny.” This proved quite sticky even for the Artifact team themselves who would manually intervene to adapt streaks when a day was missed.

Streaks and Levels – Gamification tactics in the Artifact App

💡 Gamification is the process of incorporating game mechanics and design into non-game contexts. It has been proven that usage of entertaining content and games show a strong correlation with increased app and content engagement.

Publishers continue to experiment with puzzles and quizzes in digital world

Traditional media have long understood the engagement power of games. Since the early days of print, puzzles and quizzes have played a significant role in the lives of readers.

Today many publishers are betting on interactive puzzles in their apps or web platforms. From the 7 figures acquisition of Wordle by New York Times to the recent introduction of weekly quizzes in the FT Edit App, innovations in the space of puzzles are only becoming more valuable throughout the reader journey. Some of our favourite cases covered in previous posts include:

But one publisher that has taken great advantage of this trend is the Daily Mail. In order to deliver a complete offering to their readers, the Daily Mail bring news and entertainment to their audience in a single platform, through their unified app.

Puzzles module in Mail Plus’s Unified App – built on Twipe‘s All-In-One News Apps Platform

The Daily Mail‘s use of gamification techniques has made their puzzles even more engaging and addictive. By providing incentives for readers to complete puzzles and beat high scores, the Daily Mail has created a sense of competition and community among their readers, encouraging them to return to the app again and again. This has been met with success as half of their direct subscribers play puzzles daily, playing an average of 6.5 puzzles per day with an average of 30 minutes spent playing daily.

Leaderboards – Gamification tactics in The Mail Plus App

💡 With the latest version of the Twipe platform, news publishers can easily build Hybrid, All-In-One subscriber apps. To give your readers a premium and complete experience, upgrade to the Twipe Apps.

The Mail Plus invests in making digital puzzles offline available

Earlier this year Daily Mail has partnered with our team at Twipe to address an important customer need. Making puzzles playable offline in The Mail Plus. The Daily Mail‘s reader-centric approach serves as a prime example of listening carefully to reader’s needs and understanding readers’ cravings.

 “I work away a lot and I would like to save some of the puzzles for on the plane.” | “If l were flying on holiday l would save two or three days puzzles to help pass the time during a flight.

– Reader feedback from Mail Plus subscribers

This move eliminates the frustration of being interrupted in the middle of a puzzle due to a bad internet connection or the inconvenience of not being able to access puzzles during long flights without an internet connection.

This newly introduced feature offers a strong competitive advantage for digital publishers in the news industry, as providing a fun and engaging experience that can be enjoyed without an internet connection can keep readers coming back to their app even when they’re offline.

A steppingstone towards a companion app

As we move forward, the use of gamification and puzzles in the news industry is only going to become more prevalent. Publishers who can provide a seamless experience that combines high-quality entertaining content and offline serving will be well-positioned to attract and retain readers in a crowded digital landscape.

Innovation is key to staying ahead of the curve. Publishers who are willing to take risks and invest in new technologies will be the ones who thrive in the long run. The Daily Mail has grasped this need for constant innovation and customer satisfaction, and the launch of offline puzzles is another steppingstone in this constant race. In a world of fast consumption and constant connectivity, serving offline content may be the future area to bet on. Only time will tell.


Team Twipe

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