Filling rooms - Marketing in 3dx
How to use communication channels properly
by White Breeze Research Lab
While most users of 3dx act purely as consumers of the content offered (or are as potential partner for sex, conversation, or dancing for others game content themselves), others invest a lot of time in additional content offerings.
They build locations and organize events and understandably want their events and locations to be well attended. “Well” can be understood here quantitatively or qualitatively. Interesting, funny conversations in the Local Chat can of course be worth more in subjective evaluation than the mere number of visitors. These subjective evaluations cannot be generalized, so we have focused purely on the number of visitors in the present analysis and made the basic assumption that every event provider would like to have as many visitors as possible in his location.
To achieve this, there are, among other things, various marketing channels available to promote your own event. But: what are the real benefits of these individual marketing channels? To shed some light on this, White Breeze has observed, analysed, and evaluated the effects of marketing activities on different channels for its own events. We would like to present the results here.
Test setup and general conditions
Up to 7 White Breeze events per week were analysed for the period from November 2019 until mid may 2020 – a total of 127 events.
For these 127 events, we advertised via different channel combinations and evaluated the effects on visitor numbers. For this purpose, we recorded the respective peak number of visitors and determined the total number of visitors using a heuristic
The marketing channels used and considered were
- official 3dx forum
- 3DX World Chat
- personal in-game messages
- Bunny Bot / event calendar
- different community discords
- advertising in in-game profiles.
We have not considered the effect of advertising via our website and advertising via posters and schedules at ingame locations because the website was not available for the entire trial period and we did not advertise at ingame locations.
Our analysis is based on “everyday heuristics”, since we could not and did not want to conduct scientifically correct series of experiments including statistical evaluations. Further limitations of the quality of the statements result from secondary dependencies, such as the number of parallel events, possible server failures, holidays, etc.
In addition to the benefit of the marketing channels, we evaluated further more organizational factors influencing the number of visitors:
- regularity of room opening (one-off vs. regular events)
- temporal consistency of the room opening (fixed time or fluctuating)
- naming of the room
- design of the room
- positioning in the location list
- DJs / music.
A detailed consideration of these factors is given in a second part of this article.
Our analyses have basically shown that many potentially visitors make a very short-term to completely spontaneous decision as to which event to go to. They visit several events in the evening and possibly get “stuck” at one event.
Other players tend to visit well-known locations because they expect a certain audience, preferred music or services (e.g. escort services).
In order to reflect these observations, we have therefore grouped all evaluations according to the frequency of the event in
- one-time event
- regular event
and according to the time horizon of the advertisement in
- spontaneous = 4 hours before the start of the event or during the running event
- short term (less than 3 days before the event starts)
- long-term (more than 3 days before the event starts).
Results for the respective marketing channels
Official 3dx forum
We were not able to determine any effect on the number of participants for one-time communication of an event in the Event Forum. According to our analysis, the forum is used by a very limited number of participants anyway. While e.g. in the support areas, a more diversified group of visitors can still be perceived, the Event Forum is mainly frequented by other event providers.
This analysis is further supported by the “read numbers” of the corresponding forum postings. If the short-term (2-3 days before) announcement of an event has an average of 20-30 viewers, it is not to be expected that the number of visitors will increase significantly.
Activities in the 3dx forum therefore serve more for general brand building than to attract additional spontaneous event visitors.
Basically: Advertising in the World Chat is seen critically by many players in 3dx and condemned as spam. We rather see the effort that many location designers and event organizers put into their venues, understand the desire to attract as much attention as possible and therefore consider the World Chat announcements to be justified. With the introduction of the 60-second rule, there are limits here anyway, and we do not see extensive conversations or discussions in World Chat that would be negatively affected by the announcements.
Our analysis shows that under certain conditions, announcements in the World Chat are effective as spontaneous advertising:
- First phase of opening (up to one hour): in this phase, the event is usually not yet positioned in the upper parts of the location list and accordingly well prepared announcements in the World Chat direct first visitors to the event. For an event that is at the top of the location list, further announcements in the World Chat are rather ineffective.
- The announcement contains relevant information; the naming of well-known DJs and/or the music style played in the room has proven to be particularly important.
Visually appealing World Chat announcements are therefore effective if they come (spontaneously) at the right time and / or contain relevant information for potential visitors.
Personal ingame messages
This means that players send a standard invitation to a current public event to the people on their friendlist by personal message.
In fact, this method is very effective for short-term events, but it is also very time-consuming, as the messages have to be sent manually by copy and paste to all recipients. There is also the risk that the recipients will perceive this type of communication as spam and remove the sender from the friendlist.
We assess the effort and the risk of spam here as not appropriate compared to the success to be achieved.
Bunny Bot / Event Calendar
Entries in the well-known 3dx event calendar are communicated daily via the Bunny Bot to many community and group discords. However, according to our analysis and practical testing, the effectiveness is de facto 0.
The reasons for this are
- The event calendar itself – like the event section in the 3dx forum – is almost exclusively frequented by event providers and has no marketing effect on potential visitors.
- The Bunny Bot posts only the first 3 events of a day into the discord-channel automatically. If you post your event too late, you will be left out.
- Nobody reads the event lists in the discords.
The effectiveness of 3dx-related event announcements on Twitter is generally present, but naturally depends on the number of relevant followers of the tweeting account. From about 300 3dx-relevant followers on, we could recognize an effectiveness.
The effectiveness refers to spontaneous as well as short- and long-term communication.
We consider the actual effectiveness here to be similarly low as with forum and Bunnybot.
But this may be due to the current large amount of channels on the main community discords. In >50 channels, groups post their events here – and in fact nobody wants to click through all these channels and find out the relevant events. A condensation of the event information could significantly increase the benefit here.
Advertising in ingame profiles
We do not see any effect at short-term events, because the contact numbers (how many potential visits read how many profiles with corresponding advertising) are simply too low. This is true even for an organization like White Breeze with >60 members.
The situation is different with advertising for permanent, regular events or closed clubs. SwingSet, for example, with currently 800 members (of which about 400 are likely to be active with a badge in their profile) regularly acquires new members who explicitly mention the references in other members’ profiles as a trigger for their application.
Our analyses have shown that certain channels can have a noticeable effect on spontaneous and short-term visitor decisions, other channels are more likely to be used for long-term relationship and image building, and yet other channels have no noticeable added value at all.
According to our evaluation, long-term advertising for a unique event is only noticeable in the number of visitors if it takes place very massively on all possible channels or the event itself is highly unique.
For regular events and regularly opening locations, a basic visitor base can be built up through regular and long-term advertising.
For a complete picture, especially for the evaluation of decisions made by spontaneous visitors, it is essential to take into account the organisational factors, such as regularity of the opening of the room (one-off vs. regular events), temporal consistency of the opening, naming of the room, design of the room, positioning in the location list, DJs / music.
These factors and a summarizing overall assessment are the focus of a second part of our analysis.