10 tried & proven ways to monetize your gaming community in 2022
How do you build a thriving gaming or Discord community? What tools do you need to grow? Previously, we covered how to set up a gaming community in our ultimate guide. But how do you monetize something like Discord communities? To answer this question we’ve gathered 10 tried and proven monetization strategies!
In this article, you’ll find out:
- How do you build a successful gaming community?
- What tools do you need to set up a successful gaming community?
- 10 ways to monetize your gaming community
How do you build a successful gaming community?
Successful gaming communities thrive on more than just gaming. They offer a way for gamers to connect, compete and find entertainment. Researchers have revealed 3 key insights into what affects reuse intention in gaming communities:
- Social aspect – Connecting people with the same interests is a recipe for success. Spark conversation and encourage gamers to share their journey and insights to boost community growth!
- Competitive aspect – A lot of gamers have a winning mentality. The urge to rank higher on the leaderboard or win actual prizes is what drives many of them. That’s why tournaments are a great way to engage gamers!
- Entertainment aspect – Essentially, gamers like a lot more than just playing games. They are also interested in esports, game news updates, and tactical insights.
These 3 factors were identified as important predictors of replay intention for gamers. So how do you inspire these game-changing psychological factors? With the right tools!
How to set up and engage your Discord community? Discover everything you need to know in our ultimate guide.
What tools do you need to set up a successful gaming community?
Discord communities are the heart of the gaming audience
Discord communities are the best place to connect with gamers. Because users need to be ‘invited’ to your channel, a Discord community is more secure than other platforms. As a result, Discord fosters high levels of relatedness since all members have similar interests!
To quickly describe the platform, features include a channel for announcements, voice chats, as well as the ability for users to create channels according to rank or specialty. The power of Discord is evident – in 2021, Discord boasted 140 million MAUs!
Live streaming with Twitch or YouTube
Live streams are both authentic and interactive. Moreover, live streams help you preview gameplay and casually connect with your audience. Gamers love it! Currently, the two biggest live streaming platforms are YouTube Gaming – the top-rated streaming channel in the world – and Twitch.
Centralize everything in 1 gaming platform with StriveCloud
What if you could connect users, host competitions, and promote brands all from within 1 platform? That’s what our gaming tournament platform offers! Besides running fully automated tournaments, our platform allows you to promote tournaments from a central place while motivating engagement through gamification.
Unlike Discord communities, StriveCloud is built with the community owner in mind. That’s why everything is entirely white-labeled so you can add your own branding and instantly improve credibility. Esports agency eStudios has done this with great success on their GameTurnier platform.
To top it all off, you get complete access to all user data which you can use to set up targeted campaigns and tournaments.
10 ways to monetize your gaming community
A gaming community can be a valuable asset if you know how to monetize it. Everything from sponsor and advertising opportunities to paid products or memberships. What can you do to monetize your gaming community on Discord and beyond?
#1 Connect with brands that want to reach your audience
The first way to monetize your gaming community is to find sponsors that want to reach your audience. However, unlike other social platforms like Facebook or TikTok, you can’t find any native advertising tools on Discord. That said, you can still engage authentically through real-time discussions.
A great way to solve this challenge is by getting gamers on your own platform by organizing tournaments. When you get your audience on your own platform like StriveCloud, there are many opportunities to feature brands and give them exposure to the right people.
Kayzr for instance lets its sponsors create their own pages to engage fans in branded tournaments. Furthermore, they can also get featured on the news page, social feed, and shop!
#2 Offer premium packages and paid subscriptions
Hardcore gamers often don’t mind spending money to improve their experience. If you want to make the most out of these people, think of creating a premium strategy! This could mean adding perks like bigger prizes, exclusive content, and in-game advantages. Not to mention live streams that are premium-only or without ads.
Our client D11 for instance is the go-to platform to connect, play and win gaming tournaments in the MENAT region. They have partnered with some leading Telecoms and notable brands to support its branding and marketing initiatives while providing an awesome gaming experience to its clients.
They also offer different premium packages which allow you to earn twice as much the prizes along with a bunch of premium perks. You can also make your Discord community or specific channels within your server paid. However, it’s not easy to compete with lots of free servers when you don’t have amazing prizes to back it up.
#3 Leverage in-game currencies to encourage purchasing behavior
An in-game currency can massively boost engagement due to the possibilities it offers. For instance, our client Jantje, the dutch esports platform managed by KPN, rewards gamers for participating in tournaments or inside the community. Players can then take their well-earned coins and exchange them for items in the shop or enter a lottery to win even bigger prizes!
Replicating this on Discord communities is nearly impossible. Besides the lack of data to actually reward community members, you would also have to set up a currency bot and an online shop outside of your community to make this work.
#4 Buy-in tournaments are engagement & money magnets
What if you could get paid to do what you love? That’s what buy-in tournaments offer for gaming enthusiasts! You can attract users from your own or other Discord communities to participate in these tournaments.
What’s great about buy-in tournaments is that it allows you to hand out bigger prizes or even straight-up cash while also getting paid yourself. The more players, the higher the prize pool. Besides, a sense of competition can be a great instigator of engagement. And when you use a tournament platform like StriveCloud, you can completely automate the process.
Attract, engage & monetize your gaming community – all from one platform! Discover what StriveCloud could do for you!
#5 Create your own unique merchandise!
Merchandise is a great way to boost revenue and brand awareness. It’s already been done by game developers, esports teams, and influencers to grow their fandom with great success. If you play your cards right some merch might actually be seen as collectibles for true fans.
There are many possibilities to create unique merch that suits your audience. From clothing such as caps, t-shirts, and hoodies to phone cases, stickers, mousepads, and even gaming chairs!
#6 Increase sponsor visibility through live streaming
You could get a ton of extra visibility by live streaming your gaming tournaments on Twitch or YouTube gaming. Especially when you host tournaments in collaboration with influencers or professional gamers. Furthermore, you can use highlights from your streams as clips to share on other channels like YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok.
#7 Leverage data for specific brand campaigns
Often the best way to engage users is to send them a personalized message. Unfortunately, Discord communities don’t make it possible to specifically target audiences based on criteria or collect email addresses.
However, when you bring your gaming community on StriveCloud you have access to all the data you need. Simply segment and reach out to your audience according to location, demographics, behaviors, and more. For instance, when football club KV Mechelen hosted a branded competition on Kayzr, they send out a message to all FIFA players instead of the entire user base.
#8 Ask for donations (and give away variable rewards)
A common practice in Discord communities is to ask for donations. Users can donate an amount by choice and sometimes earn rewards on this like badges or server roles. However, Discord takes 30% of each donation. Some Discord community owners prefer to use a platform like Patreon because it offers more reward possibilities.
StriveCloud’s tournament platform also has built-in gamification features to reward users in a variety of ways like milestones, levels, achievements & redeemable points collection. These can be used to motivate certain actions such as participating in the community.
#9 Create game-based content like Podcasts
The gaming experience consists of more than just gaming. In fact, gaming and Discord communities love content about esports & gaming news, tactical game insights, and many more topics. You could run a podcast or start a reaction-based YouTube channel surrounding your community interests.
Once you become a valuable source for the latest game updates or insights, brands will also be interested in getting featured in front of your audience.
#10 Create a game-based training product or service
Besides selling merchandise you can also sell products in line with your gaming community. Just like traditional sports competitive gaming requires lots of tactical insight and skills. You could capitalize on this by working with experts to launch a course or coaching program. For example, Game Turnier does this for FIFA players.
Again, if you’re on Discord, you’ll have to create a separate landing page and site for this content and find a way to link it back to your community.
Successful gaming communities have these 3 components in place: social aspect, competition, and entertainment. These components are fueled by building an audience with common interests and working out related content and competitions to keep them engaged.
Discord communities are great to connect with gamers but not as easy to monetize. You could use platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming to gather extra eyeballs or host your own podcast. However, hosting your own gaming tournament platform has lots of benefits. That’s why a tool like StriveCloud can save you lots of time by combining everything you need into 1 platform.
Even though Discord is a great platform to build your community, it’s not always easy to monetize. While there are several initiatives you can take, it often requires finding or building a bot that suits your needs. Some challenges of monetizing Discord communities include limited advertising options, restricted access to data, and a lack of e-commerce possibilities.