Need a guide through the world of games? Our newsletter shows you why play matters.
How Discord Can Boost Your Brand’s Marketing Strategy
We’ve often discussed the significance of influencer and social media marketing for gaming, and Discord’s platform only provides an even more incredible opportunity for brand marketers.
Discord is a popular chat app characterized as a voice-over IP (VoIP) software available on most mainstream operating systems. The app has over 350 million registered users, up from 300 million in 2020, and has gained a foothold as predominantly a game community space.
However, the platform recently changed its motto from “Chat for Gamers” to “Chat for Communities and Friends,” as its users increasingly come for non-gaming topics. Consider that to be a “Room for Rent” sign for marketers.
Where Does Discord “Fit?”
The functionality behind Discord is delightfully simple. You can meet with other users individually or as a group via a server. You can use it to send direct messages to friends, have video calls with them, voice chat, and even screen share.
Servers are typically organized around interests. That could be bird-watching, a sports team, or a particular person, such as a notable streamer. The size of the servers varies wildly from just a handful of people to the more than 9 million members of the AI image tool Midjourney’s server.
It’s important to remember that Discord is profoundly different from other social networks in one fundamental way: there is no native advertising. That means that all growth is 100% organic and community-driven.
Another key difference is the lack of viral mechanics that help push platforms like Reddit and Instagram into the mainstream. Instead of likes and follows, Discord Conversations on Discord typically stay on Discord which means you won’t see the type of spillover you see on other platforms.
That means Discord is best for people who are already fans. The work for getting people to want to join a server is generated on something other than Discord itself. It’s the reward for a healthy customer experience process.
It’s no secret that consumers are not looking to be marketed to. Instead, they’re looking for opportunities to socialize and learn from their peers with similar interests. They’re trained not to trust brands today but trust their communities. Over one-third of virtual community participants feel they have meaningful conversations, and over one-quarter feel respected by others.
However, one challenge is that only some brands have a natural fandom. Brands like Supreme or Apple may generate outsized customer loyalty, but many still need to. That means you’re stuck with either adding Discord as a customer service venue or approaching consumer interests from an angle.
If you’re a hamburger chain, you will unlikely have enough loyal fans who only want to discuss your products. Still, they might be interested in discussing burger culture or other commonalities.
Gucci took the NFT-interested customer community to the next level by also adding an element of exclusivity. Using Twitter to invite fans to their Discord, Gucci announced that the first 20,000 members would gain unique roles and the ability to access NFT-focused channels. In two days, it had more than 28,000 members. After such quick success, Gucci’s parent company, Kering, hired a dedicated Discord professional to monitor and manage the server.
You increase trust and brand awareness by creating that space for these groups to come together and ask for nothing in return. Then when it’s time to turn those community members into customers, the faith is already there.
Discord is a playful direct-to-consumer platform because users only join a brand’s Discord server when they’re already fans. So, brands have a unique opportunity to curate and customize individual consumer experiences through specific channel topics or live events.
Some examples of personalized Discord activities can include:
- Trivia channels
- Live Q&As
- Game nights
- Exclusive offers
- Live concerts
After Comic-Con was hosted virtually for the second time in 2021 due to the pandemic, some brands needed to think differently about how they interacted with comic, superhero, and gamer fans. Jack In The Box hosted a virtual Comic-Con after-party called “Jack’s Late Night Discord Server.” It consisted of a live concert from a superhero-themed band, The Aquabats, and interactive channels dedicated to Funko Pop figures, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the DC Universes. The brand saw 7,664 users interacting in just one weekend, with over 27,000 messages.
Get Started With Your Discord Marketing
Discord has become a key channel for harnessing the value of highly engaged fans, and brands are consistently trying new creative ways to utilize the platform. Discord reaches beyond only the gaming community — a robust community on its own — to a broader group of users invested in many interests.