Marketers Should Get in Accord with Discord

Have you heard about Discord? It is a very versatile community management platform that is fast-growing in popularity. Once used only by gamers, Discord is crossing over and attracting other audiences—including brands. Yes, the marketing possibilities available from Discord are making news. What’s great about Discord? And what should you know before joining?

First, a bit about VoIP

You may not recognize the term “VoIP” (which stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol”) by name, but you’ve likely used it at home or in the office. (Or both, if you’ve been working remotely in this era of COVID-19.) The VoIP technology enables people to place telephone calls over an internet connection, and has become a widely used means of communication. Some claim to prefer using VoIP over speaking on the telephone. And VoIP technology is the basis for Discord.

The buzz about Discord

Discord is the platform of choice for self-described gamer, Navah Hopkins, who stated in Search Engine Journal that she prefers this over Slack, Skype, Teams, and Hangouts. As mentioned above, Discord is versatile. That’s because users have the options of voice, screen share, and texting as ways to communicate with others within their particular communities. And, with three tiers of membership—where the most expensive plan (Nitro) costs $9.99 per month—Discord is a very affordable community management platform. With perks like this, it is little wonder that there are currently 150 million active users per month. These users make up a variety of communities—from art enthusiasts to study groups, not to mention marketers and brands.

Disengaged engagement rates on social media and email

Discord’s rise in popularity among marketers contrasts with what’s become a noticeable drop in user engagement rates on social media and email marketing—two venues that were relied upon for gauging the effectiveness of campaigns.

The benefits of Discord to marketing

As with every other type of Discord community, those that are centered around marketing have access to a variety of collaborations, particularly in customer community groups and events and live streams

  • Where community groups are concerned, highly engaged prospects and customers can be easily identified by marketers through channels or threads. These users can then be tagged for VIP events or discounts on products as ways to keep them interested in a particular brand. Sounds like a lot happens, yes? And yet, one advantage (of many) that Discord provides over other platforms is that all of this activity and opportunity remains inside the branded experience of the community group.

  • It may be said that Discord was made for events and live streams, thanks to features that include pop-out screen share, user audio settings, and the capability to efficiently bring interested prospects into new servers or channels. Brands and marketers are able to receive feedback about a product—in real-time—from these prospects, as well have the chance to test messaging and grow specific target audiences and brand evangelists. The side benefit to this is going to help marketers, who have recently had to change the ways in which they connect brands to prospective customers. 

Another welcome benefit of Discord in marketing

The phrase, “timing is everything,” is certainly true where Discord’s help to marketing is concerned. The platform’s sophisticated technology of bots and integration features actually enable the tracking of first-party data. With Google’s notification last year that third-party tracking capabilities would be completely phased out by the end of 2023, marketers have been beside themselves of how to adapt their strategies to make brands visible to existing and potential customers. With Discord, and its nearly automatic first-party data capability, marketers can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

About advertising on Discord

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Discord does not have a native advertising platform, although Ms. Hopkins reports that a number of servers are being promoted as “Discord Growth Experts” with advertising channels for anyone interested. Additionally, Discord channels are being created and promoted by individual brands. Any brand that utilizes Discord for advertising purposes, however, must be prepared with the right information before joining the platform. 

What to be mindful of about Discord

In a recent article for Glossy, Zofia Zwieglinska points out that while Discord creates authentic engagement with an almost spontaneous give-and-take among members of a community, marketers need to be aware of other differentiators between this platform and familiar social media channels. Data acquisition, for example, is not so clear cut. Take the fashion industry…

Who can see what?

Brands like Gucci and Adidas can view the users who are interacting within their communities, but not know why they might make a particular purchase. That’s because most users operate under pseudonyms, along with pictures for proof and profiles. Considering the wide variety of apparel that most fashion designers sell, the reasons as to why some products sell over others are not readily evident on Discord. This is the parallel opposite of why users who seek honesty and transparency from the brands they engage with might join particular Discord communities. Such is the conundrum.

The endgame of brands moving to Discord

While brands that are represented on Discord can know—in real time—what users are saying and thinking about certain products and services, this seeming advantage is also a challenge. Brands that are used to promoting themselves on social media must adapt and align with the setup of Discord and brand identity. Ms. Zwieglinska suggests that dedicated teams should be put in place to keep users engaged. As Discord evolves and implements more features, the platform should become easier to oversee. 

The EGC Group continues to watch the shifting trends in every type of marketing, from traditional to digital. Along with a wide suite of services, we also provide consumer research to find out what prospective customers are looking for. Could your brand of interest to them? Contact us to learn more.