IMVU:
 DESIGNING A STRATEGY

OVERVIEW

IMVU is a 3D avatar-based social platform powered by user generated content that had 5.1 million monthly active users worldwide. In 2018 they launched new marketing initiatives to increase user outreach to their community via social video platforms like Youtube and Twitch. The audience growth proved slow. 2019 I pitched a strategy and design development to increase the SEO for my team's new Youtube programs.

The company had no established design standards to support video content. I lead the charge to develop these standards to help positively build the brand, increase outreach, raise our design quality, and help speed up production, as our team had limited workers with short deadlines. 

Timeline

Mid 2019
3 Month Project

Contribution

UX Research
Service Design
Data Analysis
Style Guide
SEO Strategy

Obstacles

No Budget
Limited Data
Limited Design Support

Team

Solo project
Marketing team (Feedback)

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MAKING A CASE

I am believer in the “Medium is the message” analysis of media so to enhance the potency of our outreach I began by searching for academic resources outlining how Youtube’s algorithm worked. I discovered click through rates (CTR), watch times, and content association with Youtube's other content were the key to channel growth and our team had not been aware of the relationship. 

As I delve deeper, I tracked the thumbnail designs, titles, copy, and meta data of successful content creator's posts to the platform. The comparative study indicated clear trends our content was not meeting. After presenting this information to the team and a whiteboarding session to track and bucketize our video programs I was able to convince stakeholders of a need to develop a new approach. 

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BRAND WITHIN REACH

Research indicated Youtube's users came to the platform most commonly for entertainment, information, or inspiration. We mapped our content to these motivations to help our videos fit in with the platform's culture. This built a clear users path to IMVU's channel but without consistent recognizable branding, it was hard to tell the company's videos apart from other creators.

 

This lead to the idea of templatizing company thumbnails to reduce production time as it was simple enough that the video team could actually generate the thumbnails on their own. 

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ADOPTION

I built a document outlining how the stakeholders responsible for uploading the content should optimize their copy, titles, and tags to maximize intrigue and algorithmic placement of IMVU's video content. Onboarding the team took time as there was reluctance to learn the new process. I created a presentation going over the new system with simplified task lists to help facilitate the process and flow charts to give an overview of the work chain. Individually I setup sessions with team members to walk through their new roles and provided support for afterwards to help familiarize them. The focus on reduced production times with maximized results helped to get team buy-in.

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REFLECTION & IMPACT

After this project was completed and implemented, IMVU’s Youtube presence drastically improved. We ended up reaching our growth goals over two weeks earlier than expected and increasing our subscriptions and engagement by over 100%. The channel also became the first result that appeared when searching for IMVU rather than appearing on the 6th page.

Systemic focused design approaches ended up being the key for this project. By using a data driven approach and concentrating on addressing team members needs, we were able to repair pianpoints we had been previously unaware of. While there was friction along the way, we were able to evolve into a longterm strategy.