Unpacking the reasons behind Discord’s ascent as the preferred communication platform for global organisations.
Discord is a two-way communication platform that has a compact cocktail of features. It allows its users to build virtual spaces tailored to their passions and niche interests. Customisable servers, text channels, voice chat, and video calls foster natural, real-time interactions beyond the superficiality of likes and comments. Since its debut in 2015 as “Chat for Gamers,” Discord changed its slogan to “Chat for Communities and Friends” in 2020 to cater to everyone.
With over 196 million monthly active users worldwide as of 2023 and estimated to be 656 million in 2025, Discord is growing remarkably. One of the reasons is that it allows its users more control over their online space as they can create private servers, customise permissions, and moderate, offering a sense of privacy and control in contrast to traditional platforms. Another appealing aspect is that channel-based organisation and customisable notifications allow users to filter content and maintain a more focused and intentional online experience. Furthermore, it provides a space for genuine self-expression and unfiltered interaction where interest and passion triumph, which attracts its users. Lastly, it has a user-friendly interface designed to be intuitive and customisable, allowing users to create their servers without needing to learn extensively about the platform’s inner workings.
Due to offering these benefits, various organisations, from startups to established corporations, have exponentially utilised Discord in recent years. To take Google as an example, individual Google employees use Discord for personal and professional purposes, like how it created a Discord server for their developers who are working with the Gemini API, the language model that Google AI Studio is based on, by freely exchanging ideas and knowledge about the model, creating a rich pool of resources for everyone in the organisation to tap into. This would help them navigate obstacles and celebrate breakthroughs while having all the information in a systematic way, which established apps like WhatsApp could not provide.
Even AI firms like Midjourney, Inc. incorporated their AI tools into Discord. For instance, their AI tool Midjourney, which can convert texts into images, is accessible via a Discord bot on the program’s central server.
Top fashion brands are also using Discord to create unique spaces and events. For instance, Louis Vuitton recently set up dedicated servers like Louis Vuitton’s ‘House of Louis Vuitton’, fostering a sense of belonging among over 200,000 fashion enthusiasts and allowing them to connect with the brand directly. The organisation even hosts live streams of its fashion shows with behind-the-scenes glimpses and interactive elements. In July 2021, it had its first fashion show on Discord, showcasing its Spring/Summer 2022 collection. It was able to live stream the runway show where users in Louis Vuitton’s discord server could watch the models showcase the collection in real-time. In addition, the firm could get quick community feedback, gaining valuable insights and fresh perspectives for their brand, which would not have been possible with established communication platforms like Facebook.
Even AI firms like Midjourney, Inc. incorporated their AI tools into Discord. For instance, their AI tool Midjourney, which can convert texts into images, is accessible via a Discord bot on the program’s central server. With a community with approximately 16 million members as of May 2023, their server allows users to feed the bot text prompts describing the desired image. These prompts can be as detailed or vague as the user desires, allowing for a range of creative exploration for which only Discord can provide a space. The organisation even set up customer support on their server, so if a customer has a problem, they can go into Discord and open a ticket, where one of their employees can assist them with their respective problems. This form of customer engagement has led the Midjourney server to be the largest visited community on Discord.
Despite the popularity the platform has gained, Discord has some drawbacks. To begin with, its only source of revenue is through its premium membership service called Nitro. It does not allow advertisements in its interface, which cancels out chances of monetisation. While this is a plus for users who appreciate an ad-free experience, it poses a challenge for brands or creators looking to monetise their content directly through ads on this platform. Another point is that launching a campaign on Discord is difficult due to a lack of an inherent mechanism for content to spread beyond the confines of a specific server. So, even if a campaign does well on a server designed by the brand, it has little chance of gaining popularity outside of it. A built-in mechanism for virality is necessary to reach new audiences effectively. Furthermore, the site has 196 million monthly active users, and due to the decentralised nature of Discord, these users are distributed among hundreds of smaller servers based on varied interests. Hence, coordinating a widespread campaign becomes complex as it is hard to ensure consistent visibility and resonance, making it challenging for campaigns to gain traction across the platform and limiting the potential for broader exposure.
In the ever-shifting digital era, Discord has emerged as a powerful, versatile platform that caters to diverse organisations and interests, offering a space for genuine interaction and collaboration which no other platform was able to provide. Several organisations, from tech giants to fashion brands have embraced Discord in their operations due to its platform’s adaptability and appeal across various industries. Despite the difficulties of widespread campaigns and monetisation challenges, with its user-friendly interface and versatility catering to many interests, it is swiftly rising as a dynamic and engaging platform and becoming the new normal in the future.