Digital Marketing for NFTs Part 1: Initial Considerations
Kongregate has stepped out into the world of NFTs and blockchain games in 2022, exploring the potential of several projects. Whether we’re talking about Blood Vessels, a community-driven roleplaying game experience set in a dark version of 1890s Chicago, or showing off new art for the Bitverse, our focus in 2022 is on what comes next for our games and the industry as a whole.
A key component to innovation is crafting a message and reaching a wide audience. While we have a proven strategy for marketing our mobile games, blockchain games have a completely different set of rules.
Why do NFTs have Value?
There is a short answer here, which is ‘because people say they have value.’
Secondary marketplaces exist across various parts of the economy, from trading card games to collectible dolls to 3D printed objects to niche crafting services and beyond. If the collective consciousness of the market determines that a skill, product, or idea has value, then it can be bought and sold in that same marketplace.
While a movie company might sell one million copies of a movie on blu-ray, digital consumers can purchase the same movie via download at the same quality any number of times without having to worry about keeping physical goods in working condition. NFTs, unlike a DVD or physical collectible, cannot physically decay, meaning that the only control over scarcity is the number of mintings and the unique number of copies of each NFT.
Future value plus scarcity equals limited pools of value and the potential for value appreciation. In the same way that rare trading cards or collectible dolls accumulate value over time, NFTs can become increasingly valuable as projects launch and mature.
What sells an NFT?
NFTs are representative of future value. Most investors in the NFT space are seeking to buy into something that will return greater value for them in the future. While we usually mean monetary value when discussing secondary marketplaces like those surrounding NFTs, the value of a project can be a future experience, a new tool or piece of technology, or the speculative value of the art associated with a project.
One example of speculative value is an NFT given away or sold as part of a movie release, such as Spider-Man: No Way Home. These pieces of digital art might not have significant value now, but a collector in ten or fifteen years may be looking for one particular piece of art tied to that movie’s premiere and be willing to pay a premium to own a little piece of their personal history.
Alternatively, projects like Illuvium or Phantom Galaxies trade components or plots of land as a part of their NFT drops. What can you do with a piece of digital land or a hydraulic arm for a mechanized robot suit that doesn’t exist yet? Not much at the time that the minting occurs, but if your vision is clear and you have an engaged community looking to support the project and wanting to buy in early, mints of items that will have a purpose in the future can have the same effect as running a Kickstarter: capture an early invested audience and turn them into enthusiastic supporters of your project.
Craft Your Message
When NFTs first launched, the speculation around them picked up the tone and demeanor of blockchain markets. Artists and speculators clashed openly over the value of NFTs and the resulting fracas led to extreme polarization. NFTs are, depending on your viewpoint, a great way of empowering creators to make more money on their creations or an environment-killing electronic toy for rich investors.
Every NFT project has to have a primary goal. While many exist for the purpose of netting speculators, Kongregate’s projects focus on the benefits of the technology for consumers. Specifically, introducing scarcity into a secondary marketplace and allowing players to own pieces of games they love. Our goal is for players to have more and better ways to support their favorite games and engage with their community. Blockchain technologies will in time allow for a larger portion of the consumer base that plays a game to participate in high-end activities, through trading unique items on the secondary market, watching ads, or purchasing premium content directly.
As you get ready to bring your product to market, consider how you would address the most severe feedback from discontent users on the web. Being upfront about your vision, your goals, and how you intend to use the technology to benefit your user base is critical to overcoming negative sentiment.
To win over detractors, rely on your vision for the future. Explain your hopes for the project in 2, 3, or 4 years and go beyond the potential for every user to get rich. Given recent trends in the NFT marketplace, that selling point is no longer valid and could negatively impact your campaigns at a critical moment.
Consider Your Goals
Are you looking to make a funnel to bring users into your Discord? How are you going to accomplish that? Are you going to rely on creatives, clever copy, or incentives?
While growing a community and keeping them active is a great primary goal, remember that you need to bring in enthusiastic users that will be interested in engaging with your NFT offerings. The audience for NFTs is still relatively small and limited to insular communities on Discord and Twitter, isolated from the mobile marketing efforts that have become key to most of the gaming industry. As you get ready to launch your NFT project, build out a map for the 90–180 days ahead of your launch and set benchmarks to gauge your success.
Be reasonable with your goals. Successful mints rely on a small percentage of the community purchasing NFTs. Expecting most or all of your Discord users to participate will lead to an unsuccessful launch and a large pile of unclaimed NFTs.