What is Discord and how can you use it for marketing?


Discord is an underrated gem of a community management and communication platform.

This VoIP-based chat platform allows users to communicate via voice, screen sharing, and text.

As a gamer, I’m Discord’s biggest fan and use it more than Slack, Skype, TeamsWhere Hangouts.

And from a marketing perspective, I’m thrilled that it’s becoming mainstream and that more and more brands are incorporating it into their communication plans.

Not convinced? Let’s take a look at the following:

  • What is Discord?
  • Who is using it ?
  • Strategic points of differentiation (or what makes Discord great).
  • Where Discord fits into your digital marketing strategy.
  • Using Discord for Advertising.

What is Discord?

Discord is a community-powered voice over IP (VoIP) app on iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows.

Users can create their own public or private Discord server. These private servers have unique invite links that expire in seven days. Servers can have public and private channels (indicated by the # sign) and threads within those channels.

As with several other communication platforms, users can send alerts with @here or @everyone.

Where Discord shines (and we’ll go into that in more detail in the next section) is in its user roles, which can grant users access to certain channels, as well as alert only people with that role.

Discord allows users to upload stickers, emojis and gifs, and use those the community has already shared.

Who uses Discord?

Since February 2022, discord says he has:

  • 150 million monthly active users
  • 19 million active servers per week
  • 4 billion minutes of server conversation per day

Discord CEO Jason Citron told NPR in 2021:

“We surveyed 20,000 of our users and asked them questions like, ‘What’s the biggest misconception people have about Discord?’

The resounding answer was that the biggest misconception is that Discord is only used for gaming.

Citron and co-founder Stan Vishnevskiy created Discord in 2015 to encourage a sense of unity among gamers and a better way for them to communicate.

Today, Discord says it’s “used by everyone from local hiking clubs to arts communities to study groups. Discord has millions of people creating places for their friends and communities, talking up to 4 hours a day on the platform.

How much does Discord cost?

Users can choose to use the free version or one of the Nitro upgrades.

The plans include the following:

Free

  • 30 FPS screen split (low video quality).
  • One server boost per server (paid extension allowing you to unlock additional emoji slots and perks like animated server icons).
  • Access to video chat, private servers, public servers and voice chat.
  • Access to Discord Bots for your servers (AI that can monitor new members on your server and send automated messages).
  • Image sharing and file downloads with limited bandwidth
  • Can belong to up to 100 servers.

Nitro Classic ($4.99 per month)

  • More customization options for profiles (animated avatar, custom tag and Nitro badge).
  • 30% off Server Boosts ($4.99 per month).
  • Custom/animated emoji can be used outside of their origin server.
  • 60 FPS screen sharing.

Nitro ($9.99 per month)

  • Multiple profiles, allowing you to separate personal and professional identities.
  • Customizable backgrounds for videos.
  • Unique stickers and emojis.
  • Two free server boosters ($119.76 value per year).
  • Downloads can be up to 100MB.
  • Higher quality streaming and longer messages (4000 character count).
  • Be part of more communities (up to 200).

Strategic points of differentiation (or what makes Discord great)

User roles are one of the main reasons I love Discord.

These roles allow you to alert only people who have that role about important messages, as well as determine channel access.

One of the biggest reasons for friction in Slack or Skype is the overuse of channel or server-wide pings.

By setting up roles in Discord, you can empower brand advocates, moderators, or any other expert members, without bombarding everyone with alerts.

users and roles in DiscordScreenshot from Discord, February 2022

In this case, my user profile indicates that I am an officer of the guild I belong to, as well as a clan leader (subgroup).

I also have the “Judge Chat Pass” which gives me access to the secret channel for events where we run contests.

Discord’s video and audio settings are quite fantastic compared to other communication platforms.

Although some settings can only be used by server administrators, users can adjust:

  • Individual user volume.
  • Move users to different voice channels.
  • Mute (either to help someone who left a mic on or through the server).
  • Invite users to other servers you have access to.
  • Define roles and grades.
  • Make the user deaf to the server (meaning they can’t hear the content).

Animated backgrounds, gifs and profile pictures are another big plus.

While this is mostly a paid feature (you need to have server boosters or be a Nitro subscriber), these add a lot more flexibility for users to define their online personality.

Where Discord Fits Into Your Digital Marketing

Discord’s community ethos is key to unleashing its full potential.

Your community — through streams, events, crowdsourced content, and other collaboration opportunities — can give you real-time product feedback, provide insight into ideal messaging, and help create brand new evangelists.

While there are plenty of marketing apps for Discord, these represent some of the easiest ways to reach your target audience with minimal infrastructure effort:

Customer Community Groups

Whether you’re launching a new product or keeping track of your customers’/prospects’ feelings towards your service, Discord’s channels, threads, and roles provide great mechanisms for managing great customer marketing in a branded hub.

Unlike Facebook groups, LinkedIn communities, or Slack/Skype offerings, Discord allows for a lot of flexibility and organization while staying within a branded experience.

Brands can identify highly engaged leads/customers among Discord users and tag them for VIP events like product reviews, discounts, etc.

One of the main reasons brands may want to adapt to this is diminishing reporting for email marketing, as well as fluctuating social media tagging.

Discord allows brands to create bespoke experiences with real-time pings, which is a big step up from Facebook or LinkedIn. And you can do it while avoiding the reporting issues that can arise from using open rates.

Powered by Twitter Spaces, Discord Events is great because it allows users to collaborate and share without being limited on device, as users can take the stage and share without needing to be on a mobile device.

Finally, the bots and integrations are first class. They allow for first-party data tracking as well as many handy features like time zone standardization, content moderation, and other automations.

Events and Live Streams

Discord event functionality is a gold mine for live events.

Between pop-up screen sharing, user audio settings, and the ability to drag people to a new server or move channels on the fly, Discord outperforms many webinar platforms.

While the resolution is only perfect if the server is boosted to Tier Three (or if you’re a full Nitro user), the amount of control in the moderator’s hands is far greater than virtual event technology.

Channels can act as sponsor hubs and networking zones, and attendees can each get roles associated with their passes.

Live streams can be integrated into events or daily communications.

Can you advertise on Discord?

Discord does not currently offer a native advertising platform such as Facebook or Twitter.

However, there are already all kinds of servers that present themselves as Discord growing experts and advertising channels for your server.

Carry

Discord is a powerful social community tool and a no-brainer to play in your marketing efforts.

Not every campaign or brand will need the paid version, as you get most of the features of the free version.

Put Discord on your list to test and enjoy the control you’ll have over community management. See where this can fit into your own marketing strategy.

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Featured Image: Urbanscape/Shutterstock

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