Blog Article

A Guide to Discord Advertising: Brand Strategies and Tips

Logan Jory

2 min read

Best Practice

14 Mar 2024

The continued rise of social media platforms, digital content creation and online community spaces has led many digital marketing professionals to rethink tired marketing strategies in recent years. While sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter may have been the go to places to host engaging content in the past, modern audiences are increasingly favouring a new approach to online community building efforts.

Originally designed as a competitor to popular Voice-over-IP (VoIP) solutions like Skype and FaceTime, the Discord platform has since become synonymous with engaging, audience-focused, conversational online communities, specifically those tangentially related to art forms such as video games and anime.

As of 2023, Discord had over 560 million registered users, an increase of 87% when compared to data published just 3 years prior. This impressive growth should act as a sign to digital marketers that much could be gained by engaging with Discord users in natural and meaningful ways. However, creating an effective Discord marketing strategy isn't quite as simple as making a profile and posting great content.

To help marketers best navigate the unique, vibrant and exciting communities currently thriving on Discord, this guide covers a variety of tips and best practices for Discord marketing success.

What is Discord?

To understand why specific Discord marketing strategies can be effective, it's first important to learn how Discord functions, and why this social media site can be a little different to other platforms. At its core, Discord is centred around various user-created servers, with each Discord community dedicated to discussions, content creation and live events relevant to server-specific topics and shared interests.

At present, there are two different versions of Discord available to the general public, those being the free version of the app and the site's premium Discord Nitro service. The Nitro service itself is divided into two versions, the slightly more affordable Nitro Classic and the marginally more expensive Nitro.

While marketers and brands can make do with the free version of the Discord app, there are some key features only accessible via the Nitro service. A comparison between the two Nitro options is provided below:

How do Discord servers work?

Discord allows its users to create servers based around specific topics, with these servers being either publicly accessible or private groups. Discord servers are more or less community-led chat rooms, with multiple channels dedicated to voice chats, text chats and other styles of peer-to-peer communication.

A Discord server will have a main server title that clearly defines the primary purpose of the group. For example, a community based on a video game or TV show would include the title of that property in the server name. When a user is accepted into a Discord server, they will then find multiple channels within the group dedicated to different sub-topics. This helps to ensure all chats remain focused and engaging.

When it comes to developing digital marketing strategies intended to capture audiences on Discord, it's important that marketers understand the rules and common practices of the platform. While brands can use Discord to spread awareness and generate a buzz about their services, unsolicited ads and blatant self-promotion are not permitted on the site, meaning organic forms of engagement must be prioritised.

Understanding Discord's target audience

Discord is expected to draw in almost 230 million active users per month during 2024, representing an attractive prospect for both new and established brands hoping to connect with a targeted audience.

While Discord can be a great platform for building a loyal community centred on live user engagement, brands must consider the target audiences and general demographics most likely to be active users on the Discord platform. As of 2022, the largest share of Discord users worldwide were aged between 25 - 34, with this demographic accounting for over 42% of the social media platform's active user base.

A whopping 93% of users played a game in the last 30 days, and over 60,000 game titles are played each month by Discord users!

Users aged 16 - 24 were the second most represented demographic in the same year, making up 22.2% of Discord's user base. This information suggests brands with a target audience that skews towards the younger demographics will likely find the development of a Discord marketing strategy to be beneficial.

It's also worth noting that as of 2023, 67% of Discord users were men, with as many as 70% of engaged users said to use the platform primarily for gaming-related purposes. This isn't too surprising as Discord has established itself as the go to platform for gamers and are doubling down on this core use with new features to entice developers to engage with gamers like Quests and the Embedded App SDK.

The benefits of marketing on Discord

Provided brands are confident that their target audience is likely to be active on Discord, developing a marketing strategy tailored to the platform can be incredibly effective. The structure and design of Discord servers make it simple for marketers to forge meaningful connections with users via targeted messaging efforts and the sharing of relevant content. Below are a few additional key benefits.

Organic awareness

While sending unsolicited marketing content to other members via instant messaging is prohibited on Discord, that's not to say the platform cannot be used to spread brand awareness. Provided content is relevant to the server in question and intended to add value to the community, marketers can harness the power of Discord to bring attention to different products, services and even off-platform websites.

Discord differs from other social media sites in that the platform doesn't host traditional ads, however, brands are able to bring attention to their businesses via organic community engagement. For example, Wildfire sponsors channels over a long period of time to run sequential messaging campaigns, recently this has proved successful in promoting weekly drops of the Halo TV series on relevant Discord servers.

Customisable channels

If marketers choose to build their own Discord servers as part of a wider Discord marketing strategy (a task we will cover a little later on), teams have almost limitless abilities to create channels dedicated to different aspects of their businesses. For example, channels can enable two-way conversation between brand and customer, or create different services like customer support and FAQs, allowing users to find relevant content and engage with admins easily.

Discord's sub-channel system is much more versatile than comparable groups and community building services offered by rival social media sites, with multiple smaller communities able to be created within the same larger server, with different roles and permissions for users to allow for personalised experiences. Brands can also develop member tiers spread across different sub-channels to reward active users with unique perks, helping to build an engaged community focused on brand loyalty.

Great customer service

Studies consistently show that excellent customer service can lead to increased sales, with research suggesting 75% of consumers will spend more with companies that offer a great customer experience. Thanks to the previously mentioned sub-channels that can be easily created in any dedicated Discord server, customer support teams can ensure fast responses to customer queries of almost all varieties.

Dedicated channels can be created for common requests such as technical support, FAQs and product updates, with direct messages and video chat features to help customers gather helpful information at any time. It's even possible to perform automated tasks like answering FAQs with aid from Discord bots.

5 effective Discord marketing strategies

With the basics of Discord covered, alongside the potential benefits of developing a Discord marketing strategy, businesses should be prepared to start crafting effective campaigns. By working with a dedicated community marketing partner like Wildfire, businesses can create authentic branded content tailored to resonate with like minded communities, helping to drive traffic off-platform to other sites and apps.

From developing data-backed strategies to target audiences most receptive to specific services, to crafting engaging content and measuring the impact of marketing efforts to optimise future campaigns, Wildfire helps brands reach superfans where they spend the most of their time.

For some examples of how this is achieved, below are a few trusted Discord marketing strategies and tailored techniques that prospective Discord marketers should consider.

1. Develop a dedicated Discord server

While it's not always necessary to set up a branded public Discord server to run a successful Discord marketing campaign, especially when services like Wildfire can identify your target audience and drive engagement to your own platforms, there are some benefits to knowing how to set up bespoke servers where relevant.

Creating a dedicated space for fans to communicate and share content naturally can act as an effective community building tool, with fans able to join servers freely and contribute to live organic discussions.

Setting up a new server is as simple as opening the Discord app/webpage and selecting the "create my own" prompt after creating an account. From here, select the "club or community" option rather than "for me and my friends" and a new Discord server will be registered and primed for customisation.

Below are some tips for assembling a successful server:

  • Choosing a name - Just like on other social media sites, Discord users can find new servers by entering keywords into the app's search function, make sure to choose a server name that's easy to remember and reflective of your brand identity whilst also being distinct from similar servers.

  • Creating channels - Create dedicated channels for different content types to help new members navigate your server with ease, popular examples include announcements, general discussions, customer support and user submissions, with almost limitless options to create unique chat rooms.

  • Server guidelines - Set clear community guidelines to promote user engagement while ensuring all members act respectfully and appropriately in chats, it's wise to appoint server administrators and moderation teams to ensure rules are respected, with perks offered to these community members.

  • Community management - Brands should make a point to remain active in their communities, regularly engaging in discussions and hosting events to boost audience engagement metrics, try creating channels for user generated content to encourage members to participate in community building efforts with exclusive content and brand-oriented prizes offered to frequent contributors. 

2. Sponsor gaming tournaments on Discord

Amongst Wildfire's network of over 200 communities, there are servers dedicated to organising and hosting tournaments for popular games like Fortnite, Rocket League and much more.

Sponsoring tournaments is an excellent way of integrating within the pre-existing behaviours of a community on Discord, which leads to much better performance than anything that looks and feels like an ad!

3. Drive organic traffic to external platforms

For brands running user-oriented services like gaming platforms, Discord can be an invaluable tool in terms of driving targeted traffic from established communities to game stores and external platforms. Working with Wildfire, game developers and publishers can reliably source new players across multiple targeted Discord communities to reach receptive audiences and boost engagement.

Bespoke sponsored content can be created for specific servers to speak directly with audiences who already show an interest in similar services, driving traffic to game stores and off-site platforms. This has proved successful for World of Warships, who with Wildfire's help sponsor Fortnite tournaments, amongst other strategies, to drive user acquisition by engaging with established like minded audiences who haven’t yet tried the game.

4. Harness UGC to spread brand awareness

Leveraging a Discord server to encourage user-generated content (UGC) for a game represents a powerful and innovative strategy for driving user acquisition. By creating an engaging community platform where players are motivated to play and share their unique game experiences, developers can significantly boost visibility and interest in their game.

This approach not only fosters a sense of community and belonging among current players but also attracts potential new players intrigued by the shared content. Offering incentives, such as the chance to win exclusive rewards, further amplifies participation and content creation.

As players share their in-game achievements, funny moments, or creative strategies, they essentially become brand ambassadors, promoting the game within their networks and beyond. This organic form of promotion is highly effective in capturing attention and encouraging new players to join in on the fun, thereby accelerating user acquisition and contributing to the game's overall success.

The potential of this technique can be seen in Wildfire's Hideout Hero campaign for PUBG Mobile, where members of targeted FPS and mobile gaming servers were challenged to try the game and send a user-created image of their favourite in-game location to a centralised gallery. Users were then asked to vote for a winner by commenting on image posts, boosting engagement and spreading awareness in unison.

5. Collaborate with established Discord communities

Just like on many other platforms, influential figures on Discord can have a big impact on the popularity of different servers and accounts. While brands can choose to leverage influencer marketing to promote their services, this can be costly. However, on Discord entire communities can act as social influencers.

By partnering with established communities relevant to your industry, marketers can capture a larger audience and increase brand loyalty through association with popular servers. Data suggests that the more a brand commits to influencer marketing, the more engagement they'll receive online, potentially contributing to a 16% increase in user activity. Community partnerships function analogously on Discord.

By partnering with a creative strategist like Wildfire, brands can identify active communities on relevant servers to build strong relationships with established audiences. These community members can then help to boost engagement on a brand's own server using community-generated content and targeted awareness campaigns, helping to establish a strong identity on Discord and funnel traffic to other sites.

Is Discord marketing right for your brand?

With almost 5 billion people thought to be active on social media platforms in 2023, there's no doubt that social media marketing can be an incredibly effective way for brands to reach modern consumers. However, not all social platforms are necessarily the best fit for all types of brands and businesses.

For marketing strategies to have a measurable impact on brand performance, leaders must ensure the platforms they choose are frequented by audiences most likely to respond well to their content. When it comes to Discord marketing, this means finding ways to promote natural engagement with established communities without pursuing traditional marketing strategies like sponsored adverts or self-promotion.

By choosing to work with experienced Discord marketing strategists that also rely on campaign data from our Spark platform, brands can identify and access active communities frequented by their target audience, engaging with fans naturally to drive organic traffic to their own servers and off-site platforms. Interacting with Discord communities in this way can be a great way for brands to form meaningful relationships with active, engaged and loyal fanbases.

Captivating an audience is rarely an easy task, let alone doing so in a meaningful way. If your brand could benefit from professional insights into creating authentic social media content and leveraging the power of Discord to boost engagement on external platforms, why not see what Wildfire can do for you?

Click here to brief us today

Logan Jory

About the Author

Driving action from Discord for gaming & entertainment brands through organic or paid solutions.

As featured in

Copyright 2023 Certainly Stuff Ltd.

All rights reserved.

Driving action from Discord for gaming & entertainment brands through organic or paid solutions.

As featured in

Copyright 2023 Certainly Stuff Ltd.

All rights reserved.

Driving action from Discord for gaming & entertainment brands through organic or paid solutions.

As featured in

Copyright 2023 Certainly Stuff Ltd.

All rights reserved.