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My analysis on how LL's marketing of SL can be even better while simultaneously increasing its cultural relevance

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

Didn't LL just learn a very valuable lesson about creating new platforms?!

I don't know much about Sansar...but in another thread you stated it is okay to fail.  Yes, it is.  Does that mean never try again?  

The time to try may not be now...Sansar needs to be sold first and it takes time to get over a failure and brush yourself off and start something new.

SL may not want to try again that's why I said it's all just a suggestion and a suggestion because much of these items are already here now and created.  Not the platform though.

Sansar doesn't even have a name to kind of tell you what it is.  Second Life is a good name...this is the heart of it's marketing, I think.  A Second Life, to me, another life.  

TinyLand kind of tells you what it is and I don't think VR is worth competing for market share, imo.  As an adult, I cannot have the outside world cut off from me and have a VR thing on my head blocking my every view.

Also, the Sansar avatars never appealed to me in any way to want to check it out even.  

Edited by FairreLilette

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6 minutes ago, FairreLilette said:

Does that mean never try again? 

No, but it does mean one should learn from their mistakes.

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In advance of our "Lab Gab" chat on Friday about SL Marketing, we've just published a new blog post "The Heart & Science of Second Life Marketing" with some info on current initiatives. 

We're also collecting questions for Friday at this form, too: https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSfoP1oDEhfRV4ksqs…/viewform

While not addressed specifically in the blog post, I want to acknowledge that we're internally reviewing and discussing some of the ideas, questions and feedback shared in this thread (such as TinyLand idea, Luca's fantastic insights, debate on the advertising of adult content, etc.). We'll speak to some of these directly on "Lab Gab" this Friday...

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39 minutes ago, Brett Linden said:

In advance of our "Lab Gab" chat on Friday about SL Marketing, we've just published a new blog post "The Heart & Science of Second Life Marketing" with some info on current initiatives. 

We're also collecting questions for Friday at this form, too: https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSfoP1oDEhfRV4ksqs…/viewform

While not addressed specifically in the blog post, I want to acknowledge that we're internally reviewing and discussing some of the ideas, questions and feedback shared in this thread (such as TinyLand idea, Luca's fantastic insights, debate on the advertising of adult content, etc.). We'll speak to some of these directly on "Lab Gab" this Friday...

Love, love, love, love, LOVE! 

It's going to take a minute to unpack all that wonderful information you've shared, and I appreciate it SO MUCH! Thank you!

Me, Lily, Jane, AND Dolly give you a standing O... vation!

source.gif.c071dd73023955fc8255dba7f3f2b92c.gif

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Also, @Strawberry Linden's new resident tutorials don't get near enough exposure and/or credit. They should be playing at the end of the hallway after new residents learn how to walk, jump, and fly. The information is much more helpful for anyone who joined SL because they saw one of these ads and the gorgeous avatars and are trying to figure out what they're supposed to be doing. 

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15 hours ago, Brett Linden said:

we've just published a new blog post "The Heart & Science of Second Life Marketing" with some info on current initiatives. 

 

seems pretty good to me

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On 3/4/2020 at 10:25 AM, Brett Linden said:

In advance of our "Lab Gab" chat on Friday about SL Marketing, we've just published a new blog post "The Heart & Science of Second Life Marketing" with some info on current initiatives. 

We're also collecting questions for Friday at this form, too: https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSfoP1oDEhfRV4ksqs…/viewform

While not addressed specifically in the blog post, I want to acknowledge that we're internally reviewing and discussing some of the ideas, questions and feedback shared in this thread (such as TinyLand idea, Luca's fantastic insights, debate on the advertising of adult content, etc.). We'll speak to some of these directly on "Lab Gab" this Friday...

Oh, that's wonderful!  Such talent in TinyLand.  If you have a moment, please take a look at this link.  She is one amazing creator for the Dinkies:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/strawberry_blossoms_illustration/

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On 3/5/2020 at 6:21 AM, Beth Macbain said:

Also, @Strawberry Linden's new resident tutorials don't get near enough exposure and/or credit. They should be playing at the end of the hallway after new residents learn how to walk, jump, and fly. The information is much more helpful for anyone who joined SL because they saw one of these ads and the gorgeous avatars and are trying to figure out what they're supposed to be doing. 

If I recall correctly, Strawberry got her videos on YouTube copyright struck by LL themselves.

It was reversed of course, but It's part of my longtime gripe with how they handle things.

Too many staff not communicating & assuming everyone's a troublemaker till they can prove otherwise...or are too well known to ignore.

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1 minute ago, AlexandriaBrangwin said:

If I recall correctly, Strawberry got her videos on YouTube copyright struck by LL themselves.

It was reversed of course, but It's part of my longtime gripe with how they handle things.

Too many staff not communicating & assuming everyone's a troublemaker till they can prove otherwise...or are too well known to ignore.

Or just, you know, automatic content claim. It's not unheard of that companies do that to themselves sometimes.

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Posted (edited)

SL can be all things to all users. Seriously. Tinies, fighters,  pervs, ( call it adult in the ads ), sailors, role players, creators, builders, furries, flyers, gamblers, the lost, the lonely, the famous, music lovers, educators. You name it, you can find it and/or do it here in SL.

Now how on earth does one market that reality ?

Edited by rasterscan
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30 minutes ago, AlexandriaBrangwin said:

If I recall correctly, Strawberry got her videos on YouTube copyright struck by LL themselves.

It was reversed of course, but It's part of my longtime gripe with how they handle things.

Too many staff not communicating & assuming everyone's a troublemaker till they can prove otherwise...or are too well known to ignore.

There's been a lot more interfacing between the team ( what's left of them ), and the users, this last twelve months.  A heap more. Sansar may be lost but all is not lost yet.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, rasterscan said:

SL can be all things to all users. Seriously. Tinies, fighters,  pervs, ( call it adult in the ads ), sailors, role players, creators, builders, furries, flyers, gamblers, the lost, the lonely, the famous, music lovers, educators. You name it, you can find it and/or do it here in SL.

Now how on earth does one market that reality ?

Indeed, I'm certainly not against the general jack-of-all-trades kind of ads that LL have been making for SL, especially when they're done right, one of my points is how LL's more niche-specific ads tend to seem as if they don't intricately understand or are out of touch from what these specific communities want to project or how they want to be perceived inside and outside of SL (their outward niche appeal especially), which in my opinion probably has to do with time constraint on LL's part or maybe because their overall marketing strategy (which @Brett Linden kindly laid out for us, and more is coming on the next Lab Gab) might not put too much emphasis on these things because they do have to put more priority on their proven data-driven approach to maintain SL's relative resilience, hence why I suggested they form a low-cost side marketing project which aim to address the perceived issues I mentioned above, sort of one where they don't have to make too many of them, but make sure they take their time and nail them, and these can be used to penetrate their particular niches much deeper than their more blanketing materials in the long term without taking too much away from their current endeavors

I quickly put this sample together to further elaborate on my points, cinematography and effects can be better (of this video), and I'm sure LL can certainly do better if they put their time to it. The emphasis I want to highlight with the sample is the overall "feel" or "vibe" of the video and how through visual and auditory elements which match pre-existing subcultural concepts or constructs, and a more "inside-out" instead of "outside-in" perspective, it might resonate better with people who follow the subculture and the modern audience, not including narrative element and despite the fact that my outfit might not be thematically perfect for the video

Also below is some voice testimonies of a few SL users within the 20-35 age group regarding what they feel about some of SL's ads, which I know isn't representative of SL's main demographic (higher age group people with higher spending power) who I think are generally much more accepting or care less about these things, and I think that compounded with the fact that most of SL users are loyal users who will support SL no matter what (I know because I'm one of them), kinda skewed the perception of how well-received some of SL's ads are outside SL's communities. I'll keep the video private / unlisted so only those who have the link can see it

And I want to emphasize that I don't put these out to patronize LL or anyone, they're wonderful people who are always very professional and passionate about SL and are always helpful, they're the reason SL exist to begin with and still does to this day to which I'm sure a lot of people including me are eternally grateful for, I understand that everyone working for LL are people too who have their own lives and things to do and I don't want this to come out as some sort of pointless "do it better" rant which doesn't account for the aforementioned factors

I didn't speak in the video, the 1st person who started talking in the 2nd part of the 2nd video is my friend who also thinks SL's ads can be better, and they were talking about it with someone else and invited me to the conversation during their road trip

Most of the people within the age group I questioned answered on text instead of voice, but their opinions are generally similar to those expressed in the above video. (latest ones I did after making this thread have approximately 50% saying they're bad, 33% indifferent or slightly below average, 17% said it's decent)

 

Edited by lucagrabacr
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2 minutes ago, animats said:

Is it supposed to be that fuzzy?

There were some NSFW stuff on the first sim and I was using Shadowplay's "Record last x second" feature because I didn't plan for the people who answered my questions or saw the video I was showing to answer on voice as it was spontaneous, so I didn't have time to turn off nametags and there were more people in the background besides the people who were speaking in the video so I blurred the video for them

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Posted (edited)

Summary:

  • (Somebody please get Darcy Linden a good avatar.)
  • Niche versions of Second Life for different audiences?
  • Residents with > 1000 hours in world evenly spread across age groups.
  • Strawberry: Adult side ignored by marketing/PR. "Scary" says marketing guy. Google, Facebook, etc. have guidelines with extreme limitations. Restricted by mainstream marketing channels. At risk of ability to advertise on mainstream channels. "Romance" campaigns do very well.
  • What can be done to increase concurrent users? First, not break Second Life and lose existing users. Darcy works on "join flow", the marketing funnel to first time in world. Survey of residents on their rez day. More rez day features coming. Asks residents to share SL videos, stills on social media.
  • Where are ads for SL? Youtube, Facebook. Segmentation to target communities. Possible way to direct new user to genre-specific area on first login. New landing experience being built, "waiting on resources".
  • More internationalization.
  • "Getting Second Life back into the mainstream" a goal. "Strong word of mouth marketing" (on social media, not RL) "Second Life hasn't been pop culture" for a while. Talks about Black Mirror "Striking Vipers" episode, where SL was discussed with the production team but not used. Some new product placement underway, but can't discuss that.
  • What can content creators do? "Share" and "show off" on social media.
  • 9 languages supported. LL-provided text content is being translated to all 9. Some video content may be translated to Spanish.
  • Submitted question: Second Life doesn't show up in searches, says user. LL cannot reproduce problem.
  • Submitted question: Could SL do more to promote nightclubs and music events? Something being done.
  • Submitted question: Target older users, "be young again". Marketing - Yes.
  • Submitted question: Why are art exhibits not more heavily promoted? Marketing - vague positive remarks, probably not a priority this year.
  • Submitted question: Plans to address younger people with specific areas? Marketing - see blog post. Machinema/photography promotional tie-in?
  • Submitted question: SL presence at gaming convention? Coronavirus outbreak interfering.
  • Submitted question: Market SL to conference organizers for conferences cancelled for coronavirus? "We do not want to be opportunistic". "Second Life is one of many solutions". "Those are happening organically".
  • Submitted question: How to get on Pick of the Day? Post to SL Flickr group. As of Jan 2020, all bans there removed.
  • Possible merch in RL for SL. T-shirts, etc?
Edited by animats
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9 minutes ago, animats said:

Watching, will edit.

  • (Somebody please get Darcy Linden a good avatar.)
On 2/22/2020 at 1:53 PM, animats said:

I know. I've been looking for a male mesh avatar. Can't find anything I really like better than the "Boris" classic avatar from White Tiger I have now. That could use a better head and hair, but the body is fine. Signature Geralt might be OK with enough work, but not a huge improvement.  Most of the male avatars are on steroids or too gay.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm going to go ahead and out myself as one of the people in Luca's series of Testimonies (The one who said "SL's ad campaign was a freaking mess"). My friend Sarah had explained three ads for SL she had seen in one day, as a user of SL for 10+ years:

- An advert, as mentioned in the video, promoting SL as a First/Third Person Shooter when SL has, and I'm going to hit the Lindens with the complaint stick for the umpteenth time - atrocious first person controls. Anyone who operates in any SLMC, operates any advanced vehicle or uses first person mode a lot, knows this, that SL's First Person View leaves a lot to be desired. If SL were needing a subscription much like how World of Warcraft, its' competitor in the MMO space from years ago had, now, with those ads - me and her concurred that the FTC would be getting complaints about false advertising.
- Another advert, this time promoting SL as a place to make content and share it with others. This isn't as egregious as the last one but, from how she explained it to me, it implied that SL had features that would enable you to make mesh and create content in world, when in reality such things require an outside 3D Modelling software like Blender, 3DSMax, or Autodesk Maya, and that scripting requires knowing LSL (Which, if you do already know C++, which IIRC is similar to LSL, you're more or less good). Yes, this should be a given - but the ad from what I can tell from how she described it didn't really give any credence to that fact.
- And finally, another advert on more mature website, promoting SL as a place to 'bang the hottest 3D Babes', or something along those lines. This was more or less fine, but again, the avatars fell to a familiar sin of using a lot of paid for content that one starting out wouldn't know was needed, especially when SL's standard bodies aren't really up to snuff for that in this day and age.

What I'd have to say to Linden Lab personally (Me, Nodoka Hanamura) is the following:

- Linden Lab's marketing department needs to focus on promoting communities and niches in SL as Luca has exemplified. Furries, Roleplay, Cyberpunk, Fashion, Anime, Exploration, et cetera, et cetera.)

- Focus should be put on improving Second Life as a whole and improving the quality of life and performance of both client-side and server-side environments, as well as changes to policy to benefit of the users. When talking to Sarah last night (when that video took place), we discussed a lot regarding SL's infrastructure, and its' future, and both of agreed that if something isn't done, it's not going to be bright. It'd be wise to invest whatever money that comes from the potential sale of Sansar into SL, and try and get it up to speed in more ways than graphics for the 2020s. I assure you if Second Life improves in quality of life, graphics and performance, that people WILL come. When I first started, I wondered why it was running so slow in a lot of places - and I was running on a AMD APU which could run quite a few games just fine at the time, but SL in 2015 or so didn't. One thing I think would help things is expanding the moles and putting them to work on expanding SL's virtual infrastructure, promoting that it's a open world ripe to be seen and explored with things like new and updated road networks, LL-operated airports, seaports, and other things, such as the Torii Gate near the Linden Village in Sansara. Hell, If it means boots on the ground building things, I'm more than willing to pitch in to the best of my ability.

Not many people have much faith in Linden Lab left, I feel - at least me and Sarah do. I'm reminded of a quote from Tateru Nino from their Second Life History 'books' at the Library in Moni Targa, Zindra -

"Second Life remains cool, interesting, nifty and valuable, but it ultimately runs on faith and Linden Lab has its work cut out for it to restore that faith."

This was written a decade ago back in 2010. I don't have much faith left, especially after last night and hearing stories from Sarah. But we have faith in what Second Life is and what it stands for - Unparalleled, unprecedented freedom to express oneself, and build a community of communities, and a virtual world thereby. SL is my home, as it is for many others online. I say this not to berate the Lindens, but to express my frustrations and others' frustrations as well in the hopes that our concerns will be heard. Advertising is just one part of a bigger issue.

If the Lindens can show me that they can turn things around, then my faith will be restored. but until then all I have to say is "Hopes and prayers, hopes and prayers."

Addendum: 

Regarding the earlier discussion about SL compared to Roblox - as someone who plays both (I played the latter since 2010) - The day SL goes instanced/non-seamless is the day my avatar takes a long walk off a short pier.

Edited by Rathgrith027
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@Brett Linden - Nice job to all on today's Lab Gab. The fact that it easily went the full hour and could have gone longer shows just how much interest there is in your little team! 

I think there may be some confusion when I say I believe SL should be marketing the adult content side. I'm not suggesting for half a nano-second that LL create sexually explicit ads. That would be gross and tacky. Sexually provocative is entirely different, though, and I'm more concerned with what sites the ads are being displayed on and the keywords used. 

For the love of all that is holy, no, please do not create ads showing close-ups of avatars actively engaged in the poseball shuffle. 

Seductive, sensual possibilities. NOT vulgar, gonzo porn. Hints and promises, not hardcore and explicit. Mature adults enjoying, say, a bubble bath. No naughty bits shown. A bed with the sheets all tangled with two gorgeous avatars entwined and obviously happy - again, no naughty bits. Beaches with beautiful couples, obviously nude but again, you don't have to show the goods. 

That's the kind of thing I'd like to see.  

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1 hour ago, animats said:

(Somebody please get Darcy Linden a good avatar.)

I have seen your avatar. Glass houses. 

Darcy's avatar was adorable. 

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3 hours ago, Beth Macbain said:

@Brett Linden - Nice job to all on today's Lab Gab. The fact that it easily went the full hour and could have gone longer shows just how much interest there is in your little team! 

I think there may be some confusion when I say I believe SL should be marketing the adult content side. I'm not suggesting for half a nano-second that LL create sexually explicit ads. That would be gross and tacky. Sexually provocative is entirely different, though, and I'm more concerned with what sites the ads are being displayed on and the keywords used. 

For the love of all that is holy, no, please do not create ads showing close-ups of avatars actively engaged in the poseball shuffle. 

Seductive, sensual possibilities. NOT vulgar, gonzo porn. Hints and promises, not hardcore and explicit. Mature adults enjoying, say, a bubble bath. No naughty bits shown. A bed with the sheets all tangled with two gorgeous avatars entwined and obviously happy - again, no naughty bits. Beaches with beautiful couples, obviously nude but again, you don't have to show the goods. 

That's the kind of thing I'd like to see.  

Thank you for the clarification, Beth.

To your point: I think it is much more likely you'd see us experiment more with suggestive ads vs. anything explicit. I'll talk to Darcy about your feedback - but it is just a matter of what imagery we'd use, where it would run...and whether it fits into the overall mix of messaging so that there remains a good balance of themes across our campaigns.

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4 hours ago, Rathgrith027 said:

I'm going to go ahead and out myself as one of the people in Luca's series of Testimonies (The one who said "SL's ad campaign was a freaking mess"). My friend Sarah had explained three ads for SL she had seen in one day, as a user of SL for 10+ years:
 

So, it was YOU! :) LOL -- thanks for being honest and open with your feedback - we're taking it all in!

Our marketing team and video production partner are reviewing all feedback on this thread and in our social comments. We have plans to continue doing video this year so this is helpful info to get "outside our bubble" a bit more. We've gone from one video ad a year to dozens last year so admittedly we've focused heavily on quantity and diversity to quickly get a large number of different theme-specific campaigns underway. I agree that the communities mentioned (Furries, Roleplay, Cyberpunk, Fashion, Anime, Exploration, etc.) are worth focusing more on - and we definitely have these communities in our segmentation roadmap for current and/or future campaigns that span display, search and video (as mentioned on "Lab Gab" and our blog post). 

You mentioned seeing a "bang the hottest 3D babes" ad - I don't think that is one of our own as we don't have anything like that in our current paid ad mix -- but if you see again then please screen capture and we'll look into it to see if it is originating from one of our affiliate partners. 

I also want to acknowledge your other comments and feedback about SL in general. While I only work specifically on the marketing side of things, this feedback is also being seen by those who work directly with the product and its infrastructure. 

 

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11 hours ago, lucagrabacr said:

Indeed, I'm certainly not against the general jack-of-all-trades kind of ads that LL have been making for SL, especially when they're done right, one of my points is how LL's more niche-specific ads tend to seem as if they don't intricately understand or are out of touch from what these specific communities want to project or how they want to be perceived inside and outside of SL (their outward niche appeal especially), which in my opinion probably has to do with time constraint on LL's part or maybe because their overall marketing strategy (which @Brett Linden kindly laid out for us, and more is coming on the next Lab Gab) might not put too much emphasis on these things because they do have to put more priority on their proven data-driven approach to maintain SL's relative resilience, hence why I suggested they form a low-cost side marketing project which aim to address the perceived issues I mentioned above, sort of one where they don't have to make too many of them, but make sure they take their time and nail them, and these can be used to penetrate their particular niches much deeper than their more blanketing materials in the long term without taking too much away from their current endeavors

Hi, Luca.

I just want to acknowledge that we've read and are discussing your detailed feedback here. I am so impressed with the infographic and other details that you've provided. We're looking at all of it and discussing internally as we continue to iterate our video and campaign strategies for the coming year. 

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