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Discord is doing a brand refresh to welcome brands and marketers onto the platform and improve the user experience

As Discord heats up as a marketing channel for game publishers, the platform has undergone a rebrand in a bid to bring more brands and marketers into the fold.

Discord’s brand refresh, announced on May 29, included now using a darker shade of purple. Earlier this year, the company announced a new app developer kit intended to make it easier for developers to integrate their games and apps directly into Discord, as well as the rollout of Quests, or limited-time advertisements that encourage users on Discord to play and share specific games in exchange for in-game rewards. 

“Going through this process was not just a bunch of marketers sitting in a room,” said Mike Polner, Discord’s global head of marketing. “We spent a lot of time talking to people who use Discord, and the consistent theme that really came up was, ‘How do you use Discord, and what are you using it for? What can we make better?’”

Discord Quests in particular represent an evolution in the platform’s relationship with its audience. Though advertisers from Slim Jim to Samsung have used Discord channels as a marketing tool for years, Discord Quests are by far the most direct way advertisers have ever been able to reach users on the platform.

“When you have a platform of 200 million people, brands and advertisers want to connect with those players. We’ve been really focused, though, on making sure that the player experience is protected,” Polner said. “As a marketer, I know that the best ads are not 300 by 250 little billboards — it’s something that feels highly desirable, that feels like it drives action, and something that feels like people want to be a part of, and not be ‘served.’”

So far, six games have used Quests to advertise to the Discord audience: “Genshin Impact,” “The Finals,” “Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds,” “Lost Ark,” “Honkai Star Rail” and “Call of Duty,” whose Quest wrapped up on June 18. A seventh Quest, for “Minecraft,” is slated to roll out on June 20. The financial details of Quests were not made available.

The introduction of Discord Quests last month has encouraged other publishers to take advantage of the platform’s rise as a marketing channel, whether through officially endorsed Discord Quests or through their own spin on the quest concept.

Earlier this month, for example, Ubisoft used an immersive Discord integration to promote the release of “Assassin’s Creed Shadows,” allowing users to solve puzzles and interact with Discord bots to learn more about the universe of the game. Though the activation was not an official Discord Quest, its use of in-platform bots and other direct integrations showed how Discord’s open-armed approach to marketers has paid off.

“On Discord, in comparison to platforms like TikTok or Meta, or those kinds of other players, you can create your own stuff without any authorization, as long as you respect the terms and conditions and use the API [application programming interface] the way they want you to use it,” said Bruno Luriot, the CEO of the agency Biborg, which developed the activation in collaboration with Ubisoft.

At the moment, Discord still presents itself as a gaming platform and has a majority-gamer user base. But as gaming enters the mainstream, gamers have naturally started to use Discord to organize communities around their other interests, too. Nowadays, there are numerous Discord servers for all kinds of hobbies beyond gaming, as well as local organizations and the fandoms of popular movies and television shows. 

Thus far, only video game publishers have used Discord Quests to reach consumers — which makes sense, given the platform’s gamer origins. But as Discord becomes less of a gaming hub and more of an all-purpose community platform, it could be only a matter of time until non-endemic brands look to take advantage of the action via Quests and other tools.

“Traditional brands — not just the crypto ones, not just the tech-savvy ones — are using Discord to expand their presence, and they know that a lot of the savvy techies are basically there,” said Ron Kerbs, CEO of child safety tech company Kidas, which develops Discord bots such as ProtectMe. “So if you want to get innovators to use your product, you should probably go to the Discord community.”

https://digiday.com/?p=548085

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