I M V U : 
 D E S I G N I N G  A  S T R A T E G Y 

Overview

IMVU is a 3D avatar-based social platform powered by UGC with 5.1 million monthly active users internationally. In 2018 they launched new marketing initiatives to increase user outreach to the community via social video platforms like Youtube and Twitch. In 2019 I worked on content strategy and design development to increase SEO for my team's new programs specifically for Youtube.

The Problem

Our team had built multiple new programs for Youtube but received limited views and subscriptions on the platform. IMVU needed a new strategy for the platfrom to better optimize its audience reach and messaging.

Considerations

  • Stakeholders had limited technical knowledge of the platform
     

  • IMVU had a brand and identity that needed to be adhered to
     

  • Strategies to be carried out by non-designers
     

  • No additional resources would be given to strategy development
     

  • Work would be carried out by me on top of my normal design duties

Research

The research ended up being broken into three chronological parts; whiteboarding, literary review, and design analysis/comparative study. The goals was to create a clear account of all of IMVU's video programs and their intent, create a baseline understanding of the Youtube, and to establish user's expectations for media on the platform.

Whiteboarding

With stakeholders, video producers, and social media managers we broke down and identified the main programs we had created in 2018. We further analyzed the video approach and appeal for our users in relation to the company goals and feedback we had received from users.

Results:
Identified 7 programs to manage and discovered informational, entertaining or inspirational based videos were the most successful outreach for outreach.

Literary Review

I deep dove into articles, videos by successful YouTubers, and content about maximizing reach on the platform. I then created documentation and standards for colleagues in charge of uploading content on behalf of IMVU and content creators.

Results:
Identified clear steps to maximize outreach via platform algorithm and methods to generate more user interests via content approach, naming conventions, and metadata. Identified a need to design a video thumbnail system to increase brand recognition, click-through rate, and video appeal in search. Learned the importance of "authenticity" to the audience.

"Authenticity is the center of Youtube culture"

Design & Comparative Study

By matching IMVU's programs (learned in whiteboarding) to popular Youtube genres and branding trends, we were able to identify thumbnail designs we could learn from. At this time I began to also look at how and where the platform would display thumbnails and titles.

Results:
Built a comprehensive database of design trends, strategies, and messaging approaches used by others on the platform. 

Developement

After sharing the research and documentation with the design and content marketing manager, some of the new S.E.O. strategy began being implemented. Messaging adjustments, consistency in titles, and meta-tagging began to be used for all Youtube uploads. Stylistic brand voicing began to be further developed for the company's use of the platform using the new data.

Attention was then turned to focus on the information architecture to encourage the target audience to explore all of IMVU's Youtube content and encourage curiosity about the product.

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