Banks Europe Fintech

InvestCloud: How Gamification Boosts Digital Engagement for Financial Institutions

Due to the global pandemic, the world has seen a huge push to digitalisation. Whether it’s our social lives, work lives or our financial ones, everything is now available online.

Mark Trousdale, EVP, serves as InvestCloud’s Chief Growth Officer (CGO). In this role, Mark is responsible for growing InvestCloud’s adoption and revenue in a consistent fashion, currently focused on the UK and broader EMEA, and headquartered in London.

Here Mark shares his view on how gamification boosts digital engagement for financial institutions.

Mark Trousdale, Chief Growth Officer, InvestCloud

In 2020, so much of our lives are lived online and thanks to prolific digitisation, it’s our attention that so many businesses are competing for. But how do some businesses manage to capture user attention while others see so much bounce? To compete effectively, businesses must create platforms that make holding a consumer’s attention easy and intuitive, increasing engagement and retention. This seems simple to do for social media and online shopping, but Financial Institutions (FIs) need to invest and be deliberate in doing this as well. For FIs it’s not just about providing the right services online – it’s also about ensuring their services and experiences are engaging.

Within the realm of FIs, new ways of improving the digital customer experience have been developed, such as hyper-personalisation of content and more intuitive and accessible digital experiences. But now that most institutions can offer at least some of these digital experiences, they need something more to make them ‘sticky’ – regardless of whether the customer is a private client or an individual representing an institution.

The key here is to develop empathetic and engaging digital offerings. For potential and existing clients alike, digital needs to be multi-channel and offer the user multiple ways to engage with the FI on their own terms. It is also vital to engage at multiple points along the digital continuum as a user travels from the public website to a pre-client portal, and on to a client portal.

To do this empathetically, many FIs are turning to gamified digital experiences to keep customers engaged as their relationship progresses.

Changing the game

Gamification is not a new concept. In recent years, social media companies have harnessed it to great effect – making their platforms indispensable by imbuing them with genuinely compelling features as well as instilling empathetic incentive and reward systems into the experiences. Think of push notifications to encourage a sense of urgency or how they develop a sense of community amongst the millions of people who log in daily.

These same principles can be effectively translated onto an FI’s own digital offerings. For individual clients, it makes it more worthwhile and encourages them to engage with the institution. For organisations, it makes the experience more compelling compared to the other applications they must use day-in and day-out. The net result is the same, regardless of the type of end-user: greater loyalty and higher satisfaction.

There are other less obvious business benefits to implementing these techniques. Gamification is also a powerful tool for data collection – the heart of any financial firm.

A good example is how LinkedIn harnesses data to obtain as much information as possible from its users. The platform displays what InvestCloud terms a visual Progression Dynamic when you log in – it tells you what is missing and why missing data is limiting. It shows you what you can achieve by entering all your information, including persuasive statistics regarding the engagement you could achieve with employers or employees on the platform, depending on how up to date and thorough their profile is. This can trigger the competitive urge to complete, resulting in increased data input by the platform user.

This sort of digital experience trope is ripe for the plucking when it comes to onboarding clients. Imagine getting and persuading the client to enter as much information as possible without having to manually prompt. Then imagine what an FI can achieve and the value they can add when armed with that kind of data.

Informing decisions

Ensuring engagement and data collection is only one side. If gamification is about staying close to the client and encouraging them to engage with the platform, then decision theory is another behavioural science strategy that ensures they remain on-side and understand the points you are making.

Understanding how and why clients make certain decisions means financial institutions can tailor the information they receive and when they receive it. This is particularly true in investment management, as each investor will take a different approach. Some are risk-averse and make decisions based on a herd mentality and will therefore benefit from information about the decisions their peer group are making.

Others are ambitious and willing to weather more volatility in exchange for potentially higher returns. In either case, understanding the investor’s approach helps advisers present them with the right information at the right time.

This is also known as availability bias. Customers will make decisions based on the information available to them, so it is important to frame that information in a context that encourages them to make decisions that benefit them.

A good example might be when an investor’s portfolio takes an unexpected downturn. Approaching this both empathetically and in the context of the potential volatility of long-term investments will encourage them to stay on track with their investment plan.

This ties into gamification because the investor can be rewarded for staying on track and for actively making decisions that expand their relationship with the firm. Framing the relationship as a gamified journey makes the digital experience more engaging while ensuring that clients see the value of the relationship.

Behavioural science is for everyone

It is not just retail banks, private banks and financial advisers that can use these tools. Any financial institution that relies on customers, or even employees, engaging with its digital channels can create scalable, gamified features that make the digital experience stickier.

For example, a firm dedicated to increasing its employees’ financial wellness can use these principles to increase financial literacy via content and educational tools – all without having to “talk down” to employees. Robo advisers have harnessed this principle well.

The combination of a smart digital experience enhanced with the behavioural science dynamics of gamification and decision theory is a winning strategy. It keeps clients close, more informed and engaged – from onboarding and right through the client lifecycle. It also ensures a greater degree of digital empathy, meaning every experience is unique to and resonates with the individual.

In a world where financial institutions are competing for attention – whether that is with the dozens of other applications used by corporate clients, or even social and entertainment media with private clients, these dynamics are crucial to ensuring you remain at the forefront. If deployed successfully, digitally empathetic experiences will help drive loyalty, engagement, and profitability – and ensure you stand out in a very crowded field.


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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