Discord server vs Telegram group: Which is right for you?

Written by Aidan Wilson

Messaging apps are the place to be. The question is: which one is right for you?

More than 850 million people are on Discord and Telegram. Young people in particular seek out these intimate and safe spaces - 35% of Gen Z are on Discord, more than Reddit or Twitch. They love these 'digital campfires' where they can share their passions with like-minded fans, away from the noise of social media. And unlike social media, these dedicated channels are specifically designed for people to talk, so fans can make friends with each other - and even better, experience a genuine two-way conversation that deepens the emotional connection between fan and brand.

That connection turns fans into superfans, superfans into enthusiastic evangelists, and engagement into tangible value.

Among the leading community messaging apps are Discord and Telegram. They’re both free, cross-platform apps that give you real-time communication among large groups of people, all of whom are there to engage with your brand.

Let's take a look at Discord and Telegram to see how they suit different types of creators, businesses and brands and see which is best to achieve your objectives.

Discord: Pros and cons

Discord is a powerful messaging app which gives you loads of flexibility in creating, managing and encouraging conversation and collaboration with your fans. A Discord community, known as a "server", looks similar to Slack (but more fun). Real friendships are built in Discord communities.

Pros of Discord

Features and flexibility

Discord gives users the choice of how they want to interact: it's based around text, voice and video chat, with photo and video sharing. It's cross-platform, so fans can log in online, on their desktop or laptop, or phones and mobile devices. Fans can choose to engage with everything from a reaction emoji on a post, to joining in a conversation, to sharing their own art, videos, GIFs, and memes. This wide range of features and flexibility encourages fans to engage, and more importantly (turbocharged by custom-built tools and add-ons) it's ideal for community owners to launch high-value communication like activations and campaigns.

Revenue and monetisation value

Discord’s features and flexibility attracts and retains fans who are ready to go all in with your brand. Emoji reactions and fan-to-fan conversations are more than just a nice-to-have: this kind of engagement directly leads to tangible value, driving real results in marketing and monetisation KPIs. Superfans spend exponentially more than others on merch, tickets, streaming and other products. So for any brand, a little time and imagination invested into a Discord community drives massively disproportionate ROI.

Tons of customisation options

Community owners have lots of options to make their server unique and appealing. These include allocating roles and permissions to members, setting up multiple channels for specific conversations, and deploying bots to automate key tasks. This creates an environment tailored to the community's needs and wants, which attracts valuable new sign-ups and keeps retention high.

Discord screengrab
Discord is the home of the most passionate superfans.

Integration with other apps and platforms

Discord integrates with other platforms and services, such as Twitch, YouTube and Spotify. This is great for brands who can super-charge Discord as hub to track and even increase their revenue from other platforms. For example, when users connect their Spotify account to Discord, music artists and their teams can see the millions of tracks fans are streaming, and incentivise fans to listen and boost revenue even further.

Security and moderation

Discord implements security features like two-factor authentication (2FA) and IP whitelisting to help protect servers from unauthorised access, spam and other potential problems. Moderators are also crucial, as responsible members of the community are selected to look after their fellow fans. Discord's moderation features are relatively powerful, and Levellr trains and empowers moderators with tools to help them work with the community owner to keep things happy, healthy and safe.

Discord screengrab
Real friendships are made in Discord.

Cons of Discord

Learning curve

Young people are quick to learn Discord, which exploded in popularity among gamers. Other users may find Discord's array of features and free-flowing conversation take some getting used to. It's worth considering the demographics of your community and whether they actually need Discord's flexibility or if it will put them off.

Platform concerns

As with all platforms, Discord ultimately owns its members and controls access to the community. Any platform can change its rules, which could mean issues further down the line. But you can mitigate this concern: for example, you can capture members' email addresses and marketing consent when they sign up, so even if Discord folded tomorrow you still have access to members.

Paid features

Discord is free for anyone to sign up, but features like custom emojis and sharing larger files requires members to pay a Nitro subscription fee, which might put some people off.

Telegram: Pros and cons

Telegram reports over 800 million active monthly users, making it one of the top 5 most-used apps in the world. It’s a simple messaging app, similar to WhatsApp or Signal.

Pros of Telegram


Telegram is, essentially, a straightforward chat app. It's a very user-friendly app for anyone who just wants updates and information broadcast direct to their phone.

Security and safety

Telegram offers optional end-to-end encryption for messages and 2-factor authentication, ensuring privacy and security for members. Some types of messages can even be set to self-destruct if members discuss sensitive subjects or information.

Large groups

Telegram groups can accommodate up to 200,000 members, making them suitable for communities of varying sizes. For comparison, WhatsApp has a limit of 1,024 people in a group (and Discord can take 500,000 members).

Real-time communication

Users can easily share a wide range of media within Telegram groups, including photos, videos, documents, and voice messages. It's cross-platform so members can log in from their preferred device or switch between devices seamlessly.

Bot integration

Telegram supports bots so you can automate tasks, provide helpful services, or add features within the group.


Telegram groups can be integrated with channels, allowing admins to broadcast messages to a wider audience or share important updates with members.

Cons of Telegram

Basic features

Telegram's simplicity is a strength, but may not be ideal for brands looking for deeper two-way interaction and the flexibility to do different things like activations and campaigns.

Depends on a phone number

Telegram requires users to register with a phone number, which may be a barrier for those who prefer to join anonymously or seek privacy online.

Limited customisation

Telegram lets you set the group name, description and a few custom options like access permissions. But the format of the chat app remains essentially the same, with far less opportunity to tailor the experience compared to what you find on Discord.

Limited moderation

Telegram offers some moderation tools for community owners, but they're nowhere near as powerful as Discord. That can make it a challenge to manage large groups, deal with disruptive behaviour or tackle spam and bots.

Platform concerns

Like any platform - including Discord - the community is owned by Telegram and the rules could change at any time. And even with end-to-end encryption for messages, some users may have concerns about the platform's data privacy and security.

Discord v Telegram: The bottom line

A community will drive huge ROI for your brand in marketing value and monetisation oportunities. So which is best for you and your customers: Discord or Telegram?

Discord is best for:

  • conversation and collaboration
  • encouraging fans to talk to each other and to you
  • creating a custom-built space with loads of flexibility and features
  • using tools and bots to maximise value from the time and effort invested

Telegram is best for:

  • broadcasting information to the community
  • connecting directly to individuals and groups
  • welcoming members from any demographic into a user-friendly and accessible app

At Levellr we work with clients from music artists like Fall Out Boy to global brands like Starbucks, so we're experts at tailoring communities to a brand's needs. Our community management expertise and easy-to-use but powerful tools add an extra layer to Discord and Telegram so any brand can measure and monetise these private spaces much more effectively than social media.

We can help you work out which app will turbocharge your brand. No matter which app you're leaning towards, contact Levellr today to find out how to build a community based on meaningful and impactful connection.

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