25NOV2020

Create an Online Escape Room to Boost Brand Engagement

Posted in: Ideas for your website

Everything’s online this year… even escape rooms! Here’s how to create an online escape room for customers, employees, social media followers or suppliers. Our virtual escape room app has a built-in reward system, with no coding needed. Read on to find out more!

Have you ever tried an escape room? The challenge is to work with a team and solve a series of puzzles. When you’ve found all the answers, you’ve found the way out of the room. While most classic escape rooms are played in person, 2020 has inspired us to create an online escape room for virtual games.

We used the Easypromos Multi-Game promotion tool to create two virtual escape rooms. Each one includes several puzzles, mini-games, and riddles conundrums to solve. Try them out – we’ll wait:

Online escape rooms are great for team-building, online events, fun with friends, and virtual Christmas parties. Whether you decide to use one of our templates or build your own online escape room, here’s everything you need to know.

The difference between an in-person and online escape room

What’s the big difference between an online escape room and an IRL game? Well, obviously, one is digital and the other isn’t.

But there are other important differences, too. An online escape room has to be more structured than an in-person version. Why? Because, as the organizer, you won’t be able to stay with the players throughout the game, see exactly what they’re doing, or give them extra hints and clues.

So you have to make the path clearer: provide a clear structure to help players find the clues and “escape” the “room”.

Screenshot of the first stage of the classic escape room. Users are invited to open 4 safes - the office safe, the wife's safe, the loft safe and the bank safe. Each safe contains a puzzle which contributes to the solution of the game.

What’s more, it helps the players to understand how many stages or challenges are involved in the game. As a general rule, three or four stages are enough for one online escape room.

In some of the stages, there might be timed challenges that step up the pressure. The rest of the game will take more or less time… depending on the players, their luck, and the length of the story in the game.

If you’re looking for a little extra help in structuring your online escape room, try using our templates! All you have to do is update the design to suit your brand, and pick which games or quizzes you want to include.

Plan your online escape room story

To make your virtual escape room fun and achievable, it’s important to have a clear, structured story behind the game. You’ll also need a clear idea of when and how players get clues to advance through the game.

For each step in the game, think about:

  1. How players get there.
  2. How they find the clue.
  3. What the clue will be.
  4. Where the clue will lead.

One of the most characteristic aspects of escape rooms is the use of codes and keys. Players use these to access new game levels, find clues, open sealed boxes or even escape the room.

Online escape rooms with Easypromos use our Multi-Game system to “win” codes, clues and keys. This means that you can play several different types of game or quiz within one challenge.

You also have access to the following features:

  • Ask players to enter a code to access a new stage of the game.
  • Ask players to watch a video before moving on in the game.
  • Reveal a code when players solve a puzzle or reach a specific step.
  • Show instructions for players to use codes at different stages of the game.
  • Send emails with clues or reminders to players who solve a puzzle or reach a specific step.

Three screenshots from the Scientific Escape Room, showing the welcome screen, a sample of the puzzles involved (such as breaking a password), and a screen where users are invited to guess the access code to the solution.

The best part of the Multi-Game system is that players only have to register once to access every stage of the game. This way of organizing the game gets more engagement and interaction from your audience.

Games, puzzles and challenges to include in an online escape room

We’ve already talked about using keys and codes to move through the stages of your virtual escape room. Now let’s look at which types of game, challenge, puzzle or quiz you can use to build the escape room.

With a Multi-Game promotion, it’s easy to create a single app with multiple stages. Each stage or challenge is shown on the same microsite, so it’s easy for players to review the different stages and see which ones they’ve already completed.

Plus, it makes the escape room easy to share: you just have to share the URL of the main site.

Here’s a breakdown of the different stages you can include in an online escape room:

  • Games such as Puzzles, Memory games, matching pairs, and Word Searches.
  • Quizzes, either against the clock or without time limits.
  • Extra features, such as coupon rewards.

More tips for creating an online escape room

There’s one more element that’s essential to an escape room: clues. Here are some fun, creative, and original ways to share clues and hints with your players.

  • Use the points system to show clues to players who reach a certain score.
  • Use the prize system to display pictures and videos when players conquer a stage of the game. You can also share clues as a PDF download or email attachment.
  • Use the email platform to send messages to your players at each stage of the game, including PDF attachments and images.

Screenshot of a puzzle from the classic escape room, where users have to figure out a code from a shelf full of books. The screenshot shows the email sent once users have found the code, giving them another clue to the overall puzzle.

Marketing objectives for your online escape room

Why do people join escape rooms? For fun, of course! The mix of challenges, time pressure, and skill encourage high engagement levels from your players. That engagement can be very valuable as a marketing objective.

But before you launch a virtual escape room, you’ll want to make sure that you’re really getting the highest engagement levels possible. It’s a good idea to share the game with colleagues or friends first, to get their feedback. You’ll soon see if you need to adjust any of the challenges or game structure.

Online escape rooms can help with other marketing objectives, too. For example, if you personalize the escape room with your brand livery and logos, you’ll create lots of brand exposure. When players register to join the escape room, you have the chance to collect contact details. And – most importantly of all – you’ll build connections and brand affinity with your target audience.

You can help max out all of the objectives by adding an incentive. If you have a prize on offer, as well as the satisfaction of winning, your player numbers should go through the roof.

Planning your own online escape room? Chat live with our support team for ideas, advice, and help!

Corinna Keefe

Content marketer at Easypromos

Publication date: 2020-11-25