During the SL12B “Meet the Lindens” presentations, mention was made a number of times about the new user on-boarding process, and steps the Lab are and would be taking to try to improve the overall experience for those signing-up to Second Life.
In particular, two of the talks touched on the Lab making use of new Second Life “landing pages” on the web, and the upcoming new community-focused Gateway Programme. The comments made were enough to pique my curiosity, so I approached Peter Gray, the Lab’s Director of Global communications to find out more about both of these activities. As I covered the upcoming Gateway Programme in September, this piece looks at the new “landing pages” on the web.
These are dedicated web pages for Second Life which operate alongside the generic landing page at secondlife.com, but which are used for focused marketing of the platform, by highlighting a specific activity or market vertical, such as education, VR, the global music community, business (affiliate programme), etc., as well as social activities, fashion and content creation, together with pages devoted to familiar topics such as vampires, breedables, zombies, etc.
“We run ad campaigns, targeted with our ad partners, that point back to some of these pages,” Peter told me. “But not all of them at the same time. We also use ad networks to target people who share interests similar to those offered in the landing pages we bring them to.”
So, for example, the education landing page can be used specifically with a campaign focused directly on the education sector, and also to promote Second Life more broadly to those who may have an interest in using virtual environments for educational purposes.
And were they yielding positive results?
“For the pages that we are running ads against, we’ve seen improvements in conversion rates compared to the old versions, Peter confirmed, without being drawn into discussing figures.
In exploring the pages, I did notice that while they were very content specific in their presentation, all of them nevertheless linked back to the generic sign-up page and it broad choice of avatars. I wondered if this might be off-putting to some potential market sectors. Those looking at the platform fora business or education use, for example might prefer not to have the vampire / zombie options displayed to their clients / students. So I asked if any thought had been given to narrowing the choice of initial avatar to more closely match the possible expectations generated by some of these tailored landing pages?
“We currently default to generic avatars to offer the widest choice,” Peter told me. “But if a user comes in from a vampire page, we try to direct them to those avatars. In the future, we would ultimately like to customize the new user experience all the way through the flow, based on interests.”
Former CEO Rod Humble once indicated he’d love to see more of the millions of users who signed-up to and then departed from SL make a return. Given these pages allow for targeted campaigns to be run, I asked Peter if they were playing a part in any such attempts to recapture former users, if indeed they were still being targeted.
“We do continue to re-target lapsed and former users to encourage them to return to SL,” he confirmed. “For users that leave SL because they didn’t find the thing that interests them, these pages and ads may also help surface that area of interest and better funnel them back towards SL.”
Overall, this is an interesting approach which tends to show that the Lab is trying different strategies and approaches in their attempts to encourage people into second Life, although It would be interesting to know more on the figures in terms of the retention (conversion) upswing mentioned when compared to the older pages.
For those working with the Lab on the new (and still to be officially announced) trail gateway programme, the Lab’s targeted pages such as those for education, community and content creation might offer hints on how they might approach their own landing pages.