Marketing Second Life: Brett Linden’s insights

via and © Linden Lab

As both the Lab and I have blogged, members of the Second Life Marketing Team will be sitting down on Friday, March 6th in the 16th edition of Lab Gab to discuss their work and respond to submitted questions (see either Lab Gab Episode 16 Streams this Friday at 11am PT/SLT – Linden Lab Marketing Team! – official blog post) or Previewing Lab Gab 16: meet the Marketing team – this blog).

Marketing work is both an art and a science – and with Second Life, the fact the such is the breadth of potential audience and the rich diversity of opportunities within the platform, it can be something of a an arcane combination of activities that, were truth be told, the majority of Second Life users likely wouldn’t be able to fathom as being part of the ongoing work to attract potential new users, were they to be asked.

So, to help shed some light on matters – and to lay the path towards the Lab Gab session he’ll be attending along with Darcy and Strawberry Linden, Brett Linden has prepared a special blog post, The Heart & Science of Second Life Marketing, that offers considerable insight into the Marketing Team’s work when it comes to promoting Second Life, reaching a audience, and bringing new users into the platform and hopefully engaging them as retained residents. As such, it makes for a worthwhile read.

In particular the post examines a number of channels the Lab users for new user acquisition, some of which active SL users may not be aware of, or may not actually associate with trying to bring-in new users. Take video series like those covering destinations in SL or aspects of SL creativity. While we tend to see them by way of the Lab’s blog, we’re actually not the primary target audience.

Running to around 90 seconds in length, these bite-sized looks inside SL are ideal marketing tools that can be used through the medium of paid advertising campaigns, which are and have been enjoying success such that LL is currently in the process of expanding them, both in terms of the numbers of videos and the channels through which they can be used.

Alongside of this, Brett writes about the concept on performance marketing  – one of the mainstays of SL marketing campaigns. Perhaps two of the most visible elements  of this approach of marketing are the SL ads we me see served by Google, or the themed landing pages I’ve written about five years ago (see Landing pages: marketing Second Life and which have continued to be refined and enhanced since then), while the Marketing Team has continued to build on early experience with performance advertising, also refining and improving their approach and the technologies they use, a Brett notes:

We modernised 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…  

Encompassing the extensive testing that goes on around these ads and their associated campaigns, more organic forms of advertising, use of social media, outreach to SL users, a read of Brett’s blog post should – one would hope – dispel the notions that either LL “don’t promote” Second Life or that they “don’t know how” to go about promoting it.

The fact is rather the reverse: the Marketing Team pour considerable thought and action into marketing SL and do so by revealing the incredible depth and breadth of the platform’s potential. Which is also not to say they’re not open to ideas or feedback from users – hence the Lab Gab session the post helps to promote, and the links to feedback forms within the post.

So do take time out to read Brett’s post, and don’t forget to listen-in to the Lab Gab session at 11:00am SLT on Friday, March 6th, 2020.

10 thoughts on “Marketing Second Life: Brett Linden’s insights

  1. It’s hard to gauge the success of Linden Lab’s marketing efforts; they don’t reveal numbers. Second Life may attract new users, but how many does it retain? As long as the learning curve remains steep, and it continues to be a resource drain, Second Life will struggle to grow.

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    1. Failure how? Up until the point where Tateru’s stats page ceased to function, sign-ups were still over 10K per day, and recent comments from the Lab suggest the volume is still high. As such, the issues seem to be more post-marketing / post on-boarding, and rest within the thorny areas of engagement and retention, both of which are a complex puzzle to solve for, given the myriad opportunities and potentials offered by SL. However, if you believe you have ideas for improving the marketing thrust for SL, I’m sure Brett and the team would love to hear from you – form links for suggestions / feedback are in Brett’s blog post.

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      1. Working for an American company? My socialist @$$ would never!
        But you’re right, Inmara, it’s rather a case of lacking aftercare by the lab’s code monkeys, after the marketeers have reeled all the new hopefuls in.

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        1. Who said anything about working? If you have ideas you think would benefit the platform, why not share them and potentially help enrich the platform with new, engaged users?

          And the Lab isn’t solely responsible for newcomer after care; the “your world” part of “your world, your imagination” means we all can have something of a responsibility for helping new users feel at home as we come across them.

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          1. “help enrich the platform with new, engaged users?”
            … and do the lab’s job? That, my dear, is the definition of work(ing for an American company).

            And contrary to most other users I spent many years of my active time organising and directing sail races for MBYC and TrYC, and cruises for the LCC. Being a very responsible club manager and head RD did more for a better life for my fellow residents than LL ever did.
            Without a huge marketing budget and totally blown out of proportion job titles, we just did things for the heck of it! All the Labbers ever did was fuking everything up by crashing entire race fleets or making markers disappear or allowing land owners to have their nonsense security orbs spam onto Linden waterways, and thousand other little stupidities.

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            1. “help enrich the platform with new, engaged users?”
              … and do the lab’s job? That, my dear, is the definition of working for an American company).

              Nope. It’s helping the platform that keeps you occupied, thriving. As to the rest, that’s entirely subjective, and we’ll (again) have to agree to differ.

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  2. This seems to be – and forgive me if I’m wrong – about marketing Second Life as a product. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a lot of discussions with people at the Home and Garden Expo about internal marketing – how people can get out news of their brands, and their products. This ranges from small stores to larger ones …

    It’s difficult for one person to combine the skills of design, creation and marketing – especially when the avenues for marketing are so nebulous. Ferocious social media work (and do you focus on Plurk, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, Discord … )? Second Life media advertising – SL Newser, Seraphim, magazines, tv? Events? Hunts? Gachas? And when you’ve decided, what sort of ads to offer? Excellent design, of course, but what should you be foregrounding? Brand identity? New releases? Special bargains? Local events? How best to reach popular bloggers? What blogger management tools are best (and affordable when you’re starting out)? And should you go with inworld groups, or a subscriber system?

    I’m not sure the Lab could even begin to answer many of these questions … but perhaps we need a way for people to learn marketing skills … no easy ask in a rapidly changing digital environment, as different forms of social media gain or lose popularity, and as established tools change terms of service.

    Sorry – “Have Any Thoughts?” at the top of your comments section was perhaps taken too literally here!

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  3. If new users can’t see new IMs coming in, they aren’t going to stay. I am constantly messaging new users and they never respond. If new users can’t engage, they won’t stay. Fix this small UI flaw and see huge improvements in user retention.

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    1. That’s more an issue of user education such that they understand what IMs are, what the notifications look like and how to respond to them, than it is a matter of a “UI flaw”. Arguably, the notifications could be made larger, but then that would likely lead to push-back from established users who may object to things being enlarged and become distracting – which indirectly feeds back into the push-pull LL constantly face in trying to please everyone.

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