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Could Social Platform Discord Be the ‘Future of Mass Advertising’?

Creator marketing. It’s a term that every youth marketer will be aware of and want to master. But what are the emerging trends shaping the industry and how can you take advantage of them? Well, our recent Student Beans webinar ‘How To Supercharge Your Creator Marketing For Gen Z’, which we ran alongside our insights agency Voxburner, revealed that one non-ad-dependent social platform is currently all the rage with Gen Z…

Discord is a voice, video, and text chat app that allows users to hang out with friends – and build new communities – within its ‘servers’. It’s a formula that works: Discord doubled its value in under a year to $15bn (2021), has 150M monthly users, and 68% brand awareness within the 18-24 year old demographic – making it a hyper-relevant platform for Gen Z.

We wanted to delve into Discord a little further with one of the leading student creators out there, Isaan (@revishaan), who featured in the webinar on our creator panel. Ishaan believes that “Discord will become the future of mass advertising, to reach a specific audience instantly”… but why? Student Beans’ Head of Influencer Marketing, Ruby Soave, spoke to the popular student Discord creator himself to learn more…

Hey Ishaan, tell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Ishaan, aka Revishaan on social media! I just turned 18 a few weeks ago. Next year I’m heading off to university (hopefully in the USA)! I’ve applied to Brown (early decision) and Babson (early action). I’ve also applied to the other IVY Leagues including Harvard, Stanford and Princeton. Acceptance and rejection letters come out this December…

If all goes well, I’d like to study Business/Economics + Latin/Greek modules.

I’m also a student influencer on platforms including YouTube, TikTok and Discord; hoping to inspire students to achieve academically. I love creating lifestyle and travelling content. Through the process of creating content, I managed to gain over 280,000 followers.

Why did you decide to build a Discord presence/hub?

During the pandemic, many students couldn’t access the support they needed to study for their final GCSE/A-Level exams. So, I decided to create a Discord server in December 2020, and started to promote it organically on my platforms. I found that many students didn’t know who to ask for help, and so I introduced the peer-peer mentor scheme on The Revision Discord Server, allowing students to connect with their peers, and assist them with anything they are struggling with.

How have you grown your channel?

Growing my Discord server took time. At the moment, we have just under 50,000 members, who are active daily. I took advantage of platforms I already had such as TikTok, and marketed the server as a place where students can receive free resources to assist them with their upcoming exams.

Why do Gen Z like Discord so much?

Discord is a platform for Gen Z communities to interact with each other. This has been seen in the gaming realm but also has emerged in the student community. Discord was extremely popular for young gamers, seeking a community/group of people they can message. It’s not just a random group chat, instead Discord allows you to create channels and categories, so people can easily find spaces to talk about what they want.

Personally, I love that Discord is a place where content creators can build a community to interact with their audience. It’s a place where the audience can talk to each other too!

What content are your followers most interested in?

Lifestyle and daily vlogs tend to do well. On the server, specifically promoting my YouTube videos, helps a great deal. Also, offering any mentorship schemes that are in the interest of students tends to go well.

What are the benefits of using Discord creators for marketing towards Gen Z?

Discord is a ‘hub’ of Gen Z. If a brand wanted to use a Discord creator to market towards Gen Z, a post on Discord could instantly reach 50,000 members in seconds, just by using an @everyone ping. It’s sort of like a ‘tweet’ but with no word count. So if a brand wanted to market a student-related product on my server, that would be useful for the majority of students – the traffic rate could be extremely high.

Are there any retail categories Discord creators work especially well for?

Definitely fashion, lifestyle and, of course, gaming.

Why do you think it’s important for brands to be on Discord and have their own server in order to engage with Gen Z?

Brands can take advantage of Discord to connect with their Gen Z audience, and create a community. For example, let’s look at a fashion brand that sells clothes. If they were to create a Discord server, where their community could share outfits they’d recommend to others in the community, this could boost sales and drive traffic to their website. This might work in the form of sharing photos of the outfits, etc. Discord also allows your Gen Z audience to quickly connect with the brand. If there is a problem that needs resolving ASAP, Discord could be a great fix for that.

Can you give brands any tips for building a Discord presence? What does Gen Z want to see from a brand on this platform?

There always needs to be a purpose for a brand creating a Discord server/hub. The best focus is to create a community who can interact with each other. Allowing Gen Z audiences to communicate with each other can really enhance your brand’s profile.

My tips for how to build a presence are:

  • Take to social media: Create a TikTok post, talking about your new Discord community. 
  • Chain reaction effect: Once your Discord server becomes popular, you will naturally find its own organic growth. This will be due to members sharing the link and the server being visible on the Discord website.

How can brands benefit from working with Discord creators?

  • If brands want to benefit from Discord creators, they must choose ones that would match their needs. For example, a fashion brand shouldn’t promote their products on a ‘technology based server’. Vise versa.
  • Instead, choosing a community that allows the brand to connect with the audience will generate the best results. 
  • Ensure that brands are taking advantage of the @everyone ping, so that everyone in the server is pinged with the message at the same time.
  • Choose your server wisely! Partnered servers are great since they are endorsed by Discord themselves.

Looking towards the future, how do you predict the platform will evolve over the next year?

Discord has quickly evolved over the past few years. It used to be a hub for gamers, however now it has evolved into many different areas, from content creation, lifestyle and even student hubs.

I believe that Discord will become the future of mass advertising to reach a specific audience instantly.

Discord currently doesn’t use an advertising model, do you think they will implement it? And as a Gen Z user and creator, how would like to experience advertising within Discord?

At the moment, I quite like the fact that Discord doesn’t have an advertising model. Instead, brands have to find a specific server to work with in order to advertise a product/service. Sometimes, this can get quite tricky for brands to find the perfect Discord server. It can also be challenging for servers trying to monetise. I’d love if Discord could somehow create a platform for brands/marketing teams to target servers to market their service. Something similar to the TikTok Creator Marketplace which allows brands to directly find a creator that may be useful for their campaign. Perhaps the Discord Creator Marketplace?

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Ishaan! Did you hear that, Discord? A new business strategy for you, direct from your Gen Z user base! We love it. 

At Student Beans, we offer brands a whole host of ways to effectively market to Gen Z students. Check out our Student Beans Creators marketing solution for more.

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