Unlocking the Gen-Z Code: What Brands Need to Know About Discord (part 1)

Unlocking the Gen-Z Code: What Brands Need to Know About Discord (part 1)

TL;DR: This blog series aims to help brands understand the unique opportunities Discord offers for engaging with the Gen-Z audience. Part 1 focuses on why Discord is rising in popularity and what Gen-Z is looking for in brand relationships—authenticity, active participation, and personal acknowledgment. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we'll explore the current state of Discord and offer actionable strategies for brands to effectively leverage the platform.

Welcome to Part 1 of our series exploring what brands need to know about Discord and Gen-Z. Discord has evolved from a niche platform for gamers into a bustling social hub with over 150 million monthly active users. Gen-Z, a generation that's grown up in a digital world, has embraced Discord as a primary means of communication and community-building. As a brand, understanding this platform and its youthful user base is crucial for staying relevant. Let's dive into why Discord is a goldmine for connecting with Gen-Z and how your brand can effectively engage with this audience.

Discord vs. the rest

When it comes to traditional social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, the interaction often feels like a one-way street. Brands broadcast their messages, promotions, and content, hoping to capture the attention of their audience. While these platforms offer some level of engagement through likes, comments, and shares, they don't provide the same communal experience that Gen-Z craves. The audience is there, but the depth of interaction is often surface-level, making it challenging to build a loyal community. In fact, our Discord analytics has shown that super fans convert at 3-5x better on Discord.

In contrast, Gen-Z wants to be more than just passive consumers of content; they want to participate actively. Discord offers this level of engagement by allowing members to join different channels, participate in voice chats, and even collaborate on projects or discussions. It's a platform that empowers its users to contribute, making them feel like they're part of a community rather than just an audience. For brands, this means an opportunity to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with Gen-Z, who value authenticity and active participation over passive consumption.

Why now?

The rise in Discord's popularity can be attributed to two macro trends that have significantly impacted online behavior. First, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in remote interactions, affecting everyone from professionals to college students. With in-person socializing limited, college kids turned to Discord as a virtual campus where they could hang out, study together, and even attend online events. The platform provided a sense of community that was missing in a socially-distanced world, making it an essential tool for younger generations.

Secondly, the emergence of web3 technologies has redefined the concept of community and value online. In a web3 world, communities aren't just social constructs; they're economic entities where you can make money through various means like NFTs, tokens, and digital goods. Discord has adapted to this trend, offering a space where digital goods are not just pixels on a screen but real products to purchase and invest in. This economic layer adds another dimension to the platform, making it even more appealing to Gen-Z, who are increasingly interested in the financial opportunities that online communities can offer.

How are Gen-Z different?

Gen-Z is not just looking for a brand to buy from; they're seeking a more intimate relationship with the brands they engage with. They want to feel like they're part of a journey, not just a transaction. This means they appreciate seeing the progress a brand makes, whether it's in product development, sustainability efforts, or community involvement. Authenticity is key here; Gen-Z can easily spot when a brand is not being genuine.

Being acknowledged is another crucial aspect for Gen-Z. They don't want to feel like just another number in a sea of consumers. Personalized interactions, shoutouts, or even simple acknowledgments in community discussions can go a long way. Discord provides the perfect platform for this, allowing brands to engage with their audience on a more personal level through direct messages, voice chats, and community channels.

Usage of apps by gen-z in 2023

In conclusion, understanding Gen-Z's desire for authentic, intimate relationships is crucial for brands aiming to make a lasting impact. Discord offers a unique platform to meet these needs, allowing for deeper engagement, personalized interactions, and a sense of community that's hard to replicate on other social media channels. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, where we'll delve into the current state of Discord and explore actionable strategies your brand can employ to leverage this platform effectively. We'll look at case studies, best practices, and innovative ways to engage with the Gen-Z audience that's increasingly calling Discord home.

NEXT, read about part 2 of our series, where we show how to leverage Discord unique features like high engagement rates, many-to-many relationship models, and customization options.