Why Discord's exponential growth is a huge opportunity for any brand

Written by Aidan Wilson

Discord is where people hang out. Millions of users around the world meet up on this wildly popular messaging platform to chat, share content and build genuine friendships over their shared passions. Discord has grown exponentially since launching a decade ago, but there's enormous potential to reach even more people bonding over any hobby, fandom or shared passion you can think of.

A Discord community is a safe space for fans to engage with a brand on a deeper level than the increasingly fragmented social media or other online platforms, driving tangible marketing and monetisation results.

The Verge sums up Discord's significance: "You might think Discord is just Slack for gamers, but over time, it has become much more important than that... for a growing mix of mostly young, very online users steeped in gaming culture, fandom, and other niche communities, Discord is fast becoming the hub to their entire online lives."

Gaming was first. Music followed. Today, sports brands are seeing the opportunity as major players like Manchester United, FC Barcelona, Red Bull Racing and McClaren gather their superfans into Discord communities. Any music artist, sports team or brand - in any industry - can connect with fans and consumers on Discord. Leveller works with everyone from music artists like Conan Gray and Fall Out Boy to global brands like Starbucks, which shows the range of possibility for brands of all kinds.

Discord by the numbers

The invention of Discord is a great example of spotting that something doesn't exist, and making it. Founders Jason Citron and Stan Vishnevskiy originally founded game development studio Hammer & Chisel in 2012, but his team weren't satisfied with the communication tools around at the time. So they made their own chat tool that was much more user-friendly and cut down on friction.

Discord launched in 2015. Originally designed for gamers to chat with each other while playing, the platform took off by partnering with hugely popular games like Fortnite and Rocket League. 6 billion messages were sent through Discord in 2017 - which shot up to 15 billion the following year.

By 2022 it was 4 billion messages per day.

Now, there are over 19 million servers where more than 150 million people love to hang out with their friends.

And these are valuable audiences, both now and in the future. 35% of the hard-to-reach Generation Z are on Discord - more than Reddit or Twitch, according to Insider Intelligence. And according to SEMRush, the average session lasts 30 minutes.

That's a huge number of people spending a huge amount of time on this platform.

The future of Discord

In 2021, Discord was successful enough that Microsoft reportedly wanted to spend $10 billion to buy it. Instead, Discord continued to forge its own path, but with backing from Sony which took a minority stake.

Crucially, the platform's business model remains focused on users. For example, Discord has always resisted adverts, which keeps members happy as they aren't alienated by the unwanted and intrusive advertising that pops up across other websites and declining social media.

But Discord does have reliable revenue streams, which means brands can commit to the platform safe in the knowledge it isn't going anywhere.

Subscription service Discord Nitro turbocharges the user experience by adding popular features like custom emojis, sounds and profile colours. Paying for the service also unlocks expanded functionality, like larger uploads and higher definition video streaming. Community owners can track how many members have subscribed to these extra options, which is useful when planning content and interaction.

Discord has also launched its own uniquely user-focused spin on advertising. Game developers pay to make 'sponsored quests': games that a person shows their friends when they play, to entice others into the game. Again, the model is carefully designed not to ruin the experience for users. The player gets rewards, and members can turn off these sponsored quests if they don't want to see them.

The future of Discord includes more apps, bots, and games, adding to the attraction for members. Any brand can take advantage of this, drawing on proven engagement strategies, powerful tools and help from experienced community managers to harness Discord's future growth for your brand's goals.

With its huge user base, potential for growth in new segments of fandom and branding, and reassuring revenue, Discord is clearly a space which brands can commit to. Especially when you consider that Discord is the platform of choice for vast audiences of young people, who you can form a relationship with now ready to deepen that relationship as they mature into engaged consumers with money to spend.

To find out how you can take advantage of Discord's success, contact Levellr today and see how to engage with fans in the space where they love to hang out, driving value for your brand now and into the future.

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