Discord, the popular voice and text chat app for gamers, recently celebrated its two-year anniversary and 45 million registered users. To continue its upward trajectory toward game chat domination, the company brought in Andy Swanson—a launch member of the Twitch Media Group.

Swanson, the newly appointed head of publisher relations for Discord, joined AListDaily to explain his transition from Twitch and the big plans in store for game publishers.

Andy Swanson, head of publisher relations for Discord

Discord recently celebrated a milestone of 45 million users, which Swanson attributes to non-traditional advertising methods like organic social media posts. “They don’t market in traditional ways like buying ads and user acquisition models,” he explained. “Instead, the team here is focused on listening to the needs of the players and communities and delivering on that. Things like 24/7 customer service, open communication between the dev team and the Discord community and a strong focus on making Discord easy to use have helped us to grow incredibly fast in a very short period of time. Seeing numbers like 8.9 million DAU and four million peak concurrent users tells us we are doing the right thing.”

When it comes to marketing to the gamer demographic, Swanson says it all comes down to community.

“Direct community engagement via platforms like Twitter are the best ways to engage the demographics that map to gamers and esports enthusiasts,” he said. “They reject ads and we kinda do, too. Superstar community managers are a powerful way to have a direct communication line to your customers and fans. Discord has increasingly become that for gaming publishers, hardware manufactures and others. It’s a sign of the times. Direct community engagement on platforms like Discord is the trend of the future.”

In his new role, Swanson will be educating publishers on how Discord maintains engaged gaming communities. Since the platform is ad-free, connecting with gamers is all about the games, themselves.

“Discord is all about making and maintaining great connections in great games,” explained Swanson. “Without the great games, we wouldn’t exist. We see Discord as a really valuable tool that keeps developers connected to our rabid community of 45 million players and gives them access to the communities of their fans. That is not a small thing. Being able to speak directly to players in an easy-to-use interactive environment is unparalleled in terms of player happiness and community growth. So, working with the developers is incredibly important to us. Keeping that conversation open and growing and evolving with the needs of the games and players is huge when it comes to our success.”

The app may be for gamers to speak with each other, but brands can use it, too. “It is a way to talk to the people playing your game and to understand them better,” Swanson added. “It is a way to connect directly to that player—and that social touch, that personal connection—can be way more beneficial than anything else.”