We’ve gotten quite a few questions lately about how we market Second Life to potential new residents. Insight into our current and future marketing strategies is important because it provides a glimpse into our efforts to help grow the Second Life population and economy as it enters its 17th year of operations. That’s why our current Marketing team has been working hard over the past year to sharpen our growth initiatives with more efficient and targeted campaigns that reach across many paid, organic and social channels. Keep reading to learn what we’re doing now and in the near future – we’ll be discussing our plans in even more detail this Friday on the live video stream of our weekly “Lab Gab” program (found on YouTube, Facebook, Mixer and Twitter).PAID/PERFORMANCE MARKETING
On the paid/performance marketing front, we modernized our acquisition efforts last year by putting into place the use of new technologies that allow us to more precisely target new users across numerous themes, communities and genres. As part of this effort, we’ve identified a few dozen strategically-relevant, high-impact community segments and themes — all of which now have new related display, search and video ad content served against specific matched keyword inquiries and sites. Some ads are also served across social media to those with social profiles that express an interest in some or all of our targeted themes. That means that you might see new sci-fi roleplaying ads appearing on some sci-fi fan sites, social media pages, or new romance ads on long-distance relationship forums – the list goes on…
In many cases, Second Life ads are also set up as multivariate tests that help us determine which combination of images, text, and call-to-actions perform the strongest for click-through rates and retention. So, some ads may look identical except for one variation in text or imagery as we test and learn which combinations convert best. Among the themes with high traffic volume and interest among potential new residents are those that involve fashion and/or avatar customization, identity exploration, fun socialization and chat (“meet new friends,” etc.) and several specific roleplaying communities (with many campaigns going deep into specific areas such as maternity, fantasy, sci-fi and vampire themes). One consistently high-volume (but often polarizing) theme is “romance” as these ads tend to have high click-through rates that ultimately bring a large number of new people into Second Life. However, SL is so much more than a place where you might meet or hook up with a potential partner – so we aim to balance out the overall portfolio with a range of themes across the overall marketing mix. Striking the right balance with a combination of heart and science in our ad creatives is a key concern and goal.
DISPLAY AD CAMPAIGN EXAMPLES
While we have hundreds of ads in rotation at the moment, here are a few examples of some of our more recent ads that are performing particularly well for click-through and conversion rates across multiple languages:
To be clear, we don’t want to limit our messaging just to those themes that get the most clicks – that doesn’t do justice to the true creativity and diversity of the Second Life community, culture, and overall experience. That’s why our overall ad strategy includes campaigns that aim to appeal to a more diverse mix of users (even if those themes have a lower volume of potential new users). In fact, some of the most successful retention rates we see come from campaigns with smaller and niche themes.
Further, some communities tend to spend more L$ than others and/or login more often and for longer periods of time. Among the most promising new and forthcoming campaigns are those targeting themes that better explore issues of identity formation and creative freedom of expression. In particular, we are looking to expand our campaign efforts to further embrace the furry/anthro, tiny, creator and LGBTQ+ communities. If you think we’re missing the boat on any specific themes or communities and/or have a question about our segmentation content strategy, then please give us your feedback and we may address your comments in this Friday’s “Lab Gab.”
One of the newer areas of focus in our marketing is the use of paid video advertising. We’re now in the process of developing dozens of new video ads to promote Second Life across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other outlets that support video advertising.
You may have already noticed our recent “Second Life Destinations” video series, produced in partnership with Draxtor Despres. This web series, which is distributed across our social media channels, explores a different community or theme each week. While these longer fly-through videos are not intended to be ads, we do simultaneously create shorter ad edits from each episode. That means that each episode is accompanied by shorter fifteen- and thirty-second formats that are used for targeted paid advertisements to non-residents. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of how a longer video about surfing destinations was truncated into a fifteen-second ad edit:
Original Social Video – “Second Life Destinations – Surfing Hot Spots”
15-Second Ad Edit – Catch a Wave in Second Life
Here’s an example of how our “Love Made in Second Life” %