Building Community

Reimagine the content consumption and engagement experience.

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Background

Patreon is trying to shift from a crowdfunding SAAS product to a membership platform for exclusive content and community. This project aimed to explore what community could look like on Patreon.

The work resulted into a multi-quarter product roadmap, and is in the process of being built and released.

Challenge

Our team spent a few months exploring high-level directions for community: should we build a chat room? An open forum? Should we have enhanced commenting? Global tags?

On Patreon, the experience for patrons has been mostly transactional, with them simply receiving content that creators post. Few patrons relied on Patreon to engage with their creators or their fellow patrons. Trying to leverage what Patreon is already good at, we decided to start the community initiative with this direction as the first step:

How might we elevate conversations around exclusive content to bring creators and patrons closer together?

Challenge #1

Bringing content and conversations closer

We know that to improve engagement, we have to make sure patrons have a good experience viewing a post and then stay for the conversations. We want patrons landing on the post page to see content upfront without distraction, and are able to get to the conversations as soon as possible. However, our previous post page is filled with information patrons rarely looked at.

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The old post page with minimal estate for content and community.

Some explorations on different ways the post content and the comments can go together:

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The later iterations debated between a text-focused vs. media-focused approach.

The final design gave emphasize on content, which is what patrons come to the platform for. It also made the conversations easy to follow and offered flexibility for patrons to shift focus to the conversations.

Challenge #2

Making engagement meaningful

We knew that community on Patreon is different: it's super-fan-only, enclosed, and creator-centric. Creators and patrons have different expectations on conversations on Patreon vs out in the public. We wanted to create an experience that's around the two themes:

01 - Spotlight on creators

Patrons get excited when creators join the conversation, and they also worry if their engagement feels valuable to creators. We believed that highlighting creators' active engagement in the community could provide positive reinforcement and encourage patrons to participate.

  1. Pinned comments for creators

  2. Creator highlight in threads

  3. Creator highlight in notifications

  4. In app notifications for creators

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02 - Each community is unique

We wanted to give creators the power to own their community, and patrons the experience that feels exclusive. We came up with a few ways for creators to customize their spaces.

  1. Customized quick reaction

  2. Creator's brand color

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Impact & looking ahead

Since the initial release of a few features, we have seen over 400% increase in post sharing, and uptick on post consumption usability scores.

Our exploration on community doesn't stop here. For a community around content, we could do more. We are exploring concepts of content curation by patrons; contextual comments; content ratings and tagging, etc. More to come!