HEWeb #DPC10: Level up: Boost engagement with online games

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 2:45 PM – 3:30 PM EDT 
Lin Xue – Cornell University

What’s your favorite phone or computer game? If you have ever played or watched someone else play, then you know how engaging a game can be. Using gamification to boost engagement is part of the Cornell alumni marketing team strategy. But, we are a higher ed institution, not a gaming agency! We are challenged to develop online games that are engaging and sustainable and do not exhaust all our resources. After successfully launching three online games, we’ve found a formula that works, and the increase in user engagement is rewarding. In this session, you will see our three games and the engagement data tracked by Google Analytics. You will learn about the whole process and the tech stack, team resources and the developer hours it took to launch each game. The session does not require working knowledge of web development. Whether you are a content creator or web developer, as long as you enjoy a fun little game, you will get some inspiration.


  • Games are fun and a great way to boost engagement
  • “When you hang a donut on a string people want it more”
  • Games
    • Sliding puzzle (winning shows: leaderboard, next level, and reward digital swag)
    • Cornerdo (based on wordle) rewards with badges
    • Coloring book (4 drawings based on grateful dead concert) to share on social
  • Enguagement?
    • Sliding – initial spike but quickly declined. More releases, but enguagement decreased each time.
    • Cornado – less traffic but more time on page. Also better retention for multiple visits.
    • Coloring book – similar performance, but better publicity (sharing).
  • Formula
    • Fun, unique to brand, reusable, classic challenging.
  • Process
    • Large team (30-40 people) brainstorming
    • Developers work on prototype
    • Small group to continue development
    • Large team advises
    • Work on public launch
  • Development time:
    • Sliding – 6 months
    • Cornerdle – 4 months
    • Coloring book – 3 months

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