The celebrations for Second Life’s 16 birthday commenced on Thursday, June 20th at 10:00 SLT, and will run through until July 8th. It is a time of a lot of in-world events marking Second Life’s “birthday” – and it’s also an opportunity for Linden Lab to remind the world just how long-lived, – and potentially relevant – the platform is.
This outreach can take various forms. It can, for example encompass direct outreach to the media at large, as we’ve seen with SL’s 10th and 15th years, with media interviews with the CEO, press releases and the release of materials such as infographics offering snapshots of Second Life in facts and figures.
For 2019 the Lab has already produced a special Second Life landing page for SL16B. Landing pages are those seen by people attracted to Second Life via adverts and marketing campaigns, and I’ve covered how these pages work in my 2015 piece Landing Pages: marketing Second Life. However, given it is available, I took the opportunity to contact the Lab’s Marketing Manager for Second Life, Brett Linden about what else the marketing team are working on to promote Second Life during its 16th anniversary, and he was only too happy to talk me through some of the work.
The entire marketing team has been working to promote SL16B through multiple channels, including organic, paid, email and social campaigns. Most of our energies on SL16B have been on re-engagement of existing or lapsed Second Life Residents but we do hope that the event will draw the interest of outward (non-SL) media, as well.
Our Senior Marketing Manager Darcy has been promoting via paid display and search ads, most of which are being primarily used for [this] “re-targeting” [of] existing Second Life Residents to encourage (and/or remind) them to log back in. The landing page is referenced in some of the paid campaigns that link directly to it, [some of which] include 15 second and 30 second edits of our main SL16 “first look” promo video.
– Brett Linden describing the marketing work around SL’s 16th anniversary
While it may sound a little odd trying to market Second Life to users who have not logged-in to it for a while – after all, if they’ve not logged-in, then surely because they’re no longer interested? – it does actually make a lot of sense. There are many potential reasons why people might take a break from logging-in to the platform or who opt to put it to one side with the intention of coming back – but never quite get around to it. Thus, reaching out to “lapsed” users can be beneficial.
Certainly, it’s an approach that has yielded worthwhile results for the Lab, hence why it continues to be a staple part of their marketing efforts. If nothing else, re-capturing the interest of those who were once engaged in the platform is potentially a lot easier than trying to draw in an entirely new audience (not that this shouldn’t also be done / isn’t done).
Part of this outreach will be in the form of e-mails. Target groups for these e-mail are being identified by one of the Lab’s marketing analysts, Maveric Linden, and e-mails will start going out during the week commencing Monday, June 24th. Part of this campaign will encompass active Second Life users as well, in the form of one e-mail promoting activities at SL16B, and another promoting the new Premium Gift released for SL16B (a retro ’50s diner already available through the Premium gift kiosks).
Social media plays an important role in marketing, both for SL16B and in general. In this the reach of a message can be greatly amplified through the likes of Twitter re-tweets, both by Second Life users and others.
Lead Community Manager Xiola has been leading the charge with promotion across all our social channels including working with the community to help spread awareness. It was exciting to see that founder Philip Rosedale tweet the video, but we’ve also had dedicated outreach to many Second Life vloggers and bloggers, such as yourself that allowed many influencers to get an advanced sneak peek to prepare their coverage for opening day.
– Brett Linden describing the way social media can help amplify a message
Of course, reaching out to vloggers and bloggers engaged in SL (you can catch my pocket guide to SL16B if you haven’t already) is to be expected. But what about more outward (non-SL related) marketing? Brett acknowledges that SL16B doesn’t specifically have a direct focus here, but that doesn’t mean the more mainstream media is being ignored.
We are engaged in ongoing efforts for outward press opportunities covering multiple other angles including reminding the media about our pioneering role in the mainstreaming of virtual worlds, virtual currencies/economies and VR. One of the things that we’ve noticed some recent media traction on is the “Love Made in Second Life” mini-series and some of the other non-romance ethnographic videos featured on our social channels.
For example, we already have a major cable news network and an established podcast creator working on extended pieces inspired by some of those videos. We’ve been very happy with the attention received by our “Made in Second Life” series and the recent Destinations videos since they serve the dual purpose of showcasing SL and surfacing great stories to both the existing community and external audiences.
A practical demonstration of this broader engagement with the media actually came as this article was being finalised, in the form of How Virtual Reality Is Changing Healthcare, a techopedia article by Terri Williams, which includes comments by the Lab’s CEO, Ebbe Altberg, directly referencing Second Life’s relevance to healthcare.
Marketing is a complex topic, but it is one in which LL are constantly engaged, even if we may not always see what is going on or the results – or even see it in the form of press interviews or similar. As such, I found it interesting to hear from Brett on just one aspect of the work; and I hope this article helps shed some light on work we, as users, don’t often get to see.
My thanks to Brett Linden for his time in allowing me to write this piece.