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Using quests to get 12 million participants

Published 9 months ago • 14 min read

I've tried a couple of quest campaigns in my time, and never managed to get anything close to the results Linea did.

They used Web3 questing as a GTM strategy and managed to attract 12M participants.

Here's the analysis of their success just that.

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How Linea got 12 million participants using Web3 quests as their GTM strategy

A couple of years back I worked with a SaaS brand to help them scale up their operations.

Within 18 months, we grew from a few thousand dollars in MRR to over $200,000 MRR.

A huge part of that was a simple incentive system we’d built into the onboarding and nurture sequences for users.

We extended the free trial for users based on pre-determined actions we asked them to take. Leave a review, promote us in pre-selected communities, invite a friend etc.

A basic “we’ll reward you for helping us” system.

It was a tonne of work back then as there wasn’t an automated system to track and check who’d taken what action.

Now though, there’s a growing selection of Web3 reward and quest systems that help you set these kinds of campaigns up in minutes.

A huge number of projects use them. But few manage to get any real traction.

One of the team at Intract asked if I could look at Linea’s quest campaign - named Linea Voyage. I took a quick look and it’s an interesting way to use quests.

Linea used quests for their GTM strategy. They used it both to stress test their whole system and get over 12M participants.

It’s a masterclass in quests and incentivised marketing. Here’s how they did it.

What is Linea?

Linea is a type 2 zero knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine (zkEVM).

It basically allows devs to build on it as if they were building on and deploying through Ethereum. This gives the security of Ethereum with a more scalable and cheaper approach for users.

Here’s the thing that makes the big difference in my opinion.

Linea is a Consensys product.

If you’re not aware of Consensys (what have you been doing?), they’re a MAJOR player in Web3. They’ve built a number of products for the space, including MetaMask.

When starting out on this research I was worried the answer to Linea’s success would be “because they’re backed by a giant”. Thankfully, that’s not the case and there’s a lot to be learned from Linea’s approach.

Let’s get into it.

An explanation of Web3 quests

Quests are a great way for any Web3 brand to engage an audience.

The short explanation is that they’re reward systems. You ask people to take an action and, in return you give them something of value in return.

The actions you ask people to take generally fall into one of two categories.

  1. Onboarding - Getting users to action certain product features so they see the value and return
  2. Promotion - Getting users to talk about your project publicly to drive more awareness and users

Both are valid for different reasons and goals.

If you need to train people how to use your product, you build a quest system for onboarding.

Want more users, build a promotional quest campaign.

Quest rewards

Generally speaking in Web3, you’re going to be putting up one of the below as a reward incentive…

  • NFT
  • Crypto
  • Product access

The reward here is more important than people believe.

I’ve run engagement giveaways in the past for crypto rewards. The engagement was huge and, as explained here, I generated leads and community members for ~$0.50 per lead.

It sounds great, however, the value of those leads was next to zero.

Most were either unengaged or simply left the community once the giveaway competition was over.

In my experience, simple money/crypto giveaways attract serial bounty hunters. They stick around to see if they’ve won, and if they haven’t, they move on.

They don’t care about your project or what you’re trying to achieve. Targeting these people isn’t beneficial to your project in the long-term.

To avoid these folk, I’d advise you to consider adding some form of project-specific element to the giveaways.

That could be something like…

  • Free access / trial extension
  • Further utility not available to everyday users
  • Project token that enables more access / governance

This way you should be able to attract more people who are interested in the project and want it to succeed, rather than bounty hunters looking for an easy payout.

How do quests work?

Quests are basically small actions you ask participants to take.

The actions can be anything from using the tool to sharing a promotional post on social. Each action is assigned a point total which is awarded to the user when the action is completed.

A lot of the quest campaigns I’ve seen don’t reward people for taking part. Taking action X might award 10 points, but those points are useless internet points at this stage.

What the project will do is create a leaderboard where only the top X% of users get the reward. The more tasks you do, the more points you get, the higher up the leaderboard you progress.

This is a common engagement bait tactic. When people see how close they are to the next level on the leaderboard they’re more likely to take the actions they need to progress.

It's a built-in competition to game engagement and get more from your users.

Most of the good Web3 rewards and quest platforms have a built-in leaderboard. Linea is using Galxe which has a decent leaderboard system set up as you can see below.

So to wrap up quests for those who might not be familiar…

  1. Assign actions to onboard or promote
  2. Reward users with points for taking those actions
  3. Create a leaderboard where only top X% or X00 positions get the reward

Now let’s get onto Linea’s approach.

How Linea approached quests

Linea has done a couple of things with the organisation of their quests which are pretty interesting.

Their approach is a good example of how to remove the potential of bounty-hunting users without compromising the reach their engagement brings.

I’ll break this down into sections.

Reward selection

The vast majority of giveaways and quests in Web3 focus on simple financial or NFT giveaways.

They’re crappy “like and follow for $X” type deals.

It took me all of 30 seconds to find an example.

And the actions this one wants you to take are…

The incentive is desirable and the actions are simple.

It sounds good, but I can’t see this moving the needle meaningfully.

These are all vanity metrics and, because the actions take a few seconds, you’re going to end up with inflated follower counts.

Most people will quickly click through these actions and, once they realise they haven’t won, unfollow.

Linea on the other hand is a bit more strategic in their approach.

They explain that there are 2 different rewards for taking part.

First is simply understanding more about Linea and participating in its development.

Call me cynical, but I imagine that this wasn’t such a draw for many beyond serious devs who want to be on the cutting edge of blockchain development.

However, those people are way more valuable and helpful than the bounty hunters.

In addition, Linea made mention of different commemorative NFTs that are to be released at completion. There’ll be different tiers based on points which will award different NFTs.

What’s interesting is they didn’t release the designs or any details of the NFTs.

I imagine this dissuades many who are just looking to add cool designs to their collection.

However, being backed by Consensys it’s a smart bet to think the NFT will have some value.

Honestly, I’m not that convinced the incentive here is that compelling. I think they managed to get people to buy into the collaboration primarily from the Linea name and the Consensys connection.

The education and benefit of helping something that could be as popular as MetaMask is a draw unto itself. We don’t all have that pull though. And for smaller brands, a more appealing incentive would be needed.

But in short, their reward is more tied to the actual project and not a simple financial payout.

Financial payouts don’t bring the best users, building your reward around the project and further engagement will bring better users in.

Quest length

A lot of the quests you see are run for a few days to a week.

It’s a very quick thing as a lot of people just want to see followers increase rapidly.

Linea took a different approach.

They’ve termed their quest series Linea Voyage, and with good reason. From start to finish the Voyage is 9 weeks long. Each and every week new tasks are added and old ones retired (more on this shortly).

The length of this is going to ensure you only end up with the most engaged and true believers of the project.

The quick-win bounty hunters who want to take part today for a potential payout tomorrow are either not going to bother, or drop off after a few days/weeks.

There will be drop-off in the people who really believe in the project, but these true believers will stick around. This is a great way to identify your top supporters.

Running a quest campaign for this length of time could quickly fatigue your users and get them to give up.

Fortunately, the Linea team seems to have compensated for that with the kind of quests they’ve selected.

Focus of quests

Linea has bridged both of the primary goals with quests.

Half of the quests are to onboard people to the project (and stress test their systems), the other half are all about promotion, reach, and impressions.

It means there are a lot of actions the user can take.

This is a common pitfall I see with quests. A lot of projects give users too much to do and it becomes overwhelming.

When researching other quests I found the below example. This is one project and all of the quest actions they expect a user to take.

The crazy thing is this is just a sample of their quests from their Zealy account.

If you’re a new user, this is incredibly confusing. You’ll have no idea where to start.

It doesn't help that some are social, some are community, some are product. It's a confusing mess and I’m not sure how effective this would be for onboarding or promotion.

Linea, on the other hand, kept their focus pretty tight despite having a lot of actions to take.

As mentioned before, they’ve built a 9-week timeline for their quests. Each week has it’s own focus.

What’s really interesting is that they alternate the focus between on-chain and off-chain actions.

For example

  • Week 1 - on-chain - Bridge week
  • Week 2 - off-chain - Social promos
  • Week 3 - on-chain - NFT week
  • Week 4 - off-chain - Reveal and promo of commemorative NFTs

It’s an interesting approach for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, it helps keep things focused. Each week has a specific action that users should be taking.

Those actions might be duplicated to create different outcomes, but the action itself is largely the same.

For example, Week 1 is Bridge Week. All actions are bridging activities.

They are for different chains and currencies, but that’s all the users have to do that week.

There’s no need for task switching or confusion around what exactly should be done.

Week 2 is Social Media Week. Users are encouraged to engage and promote on social thus increasing Linea's social reach.

This method makes it easy for the user to complete multiple tasks and increase their chance of winning a higher-tier NFT.

You remove the chance of overwhelm by making the actions easy - or repetitive - to take.

Built-in FOMO

Another element I think is genius is how they close each week at the end of the week.

For example, if you’re partaking in Bridge Week you only have 1 week to get as many of the actions done as possible.

For people who really want to contribute and get those sweet internet points, there’s a time-sensitive incentive to do that action now.

You won’t be able to put things off if you want to get the reward.

It's not a huge amount of FMO, but for the motivated users it’s enough to get them to take the key action.

This also couples well with the next section…

Ongoing engagement

I’ve run giveaways in the past and, generally, you see a similar engagement level as things progress.

You get high engagement at launch thanks to the excitement of something new.

After that first bump it’s a general decline in interest and engagement.

You then get a smaller bump right at the end for the FOMO people who just want to get involved and are scared of missing a good thing.

After the campaign has ended the engagement and benefits all but die off and you’ve got to start the system again if you want to generate interest and reach again.

But the 9-week system built by Linea avoids a lot of this. You still get the same engagement spikes as mentioned above, but it repeats 9 times for each of the weekly cycles.

The result is more engagement and reach over a longer period of time. Which leads to more people knowing of, and checking out Linea.

Linea have basically taken the basic quests campaign approach and rebuilt it to not only make it simpler for users, but to also spread over a longer period of time to give them greater benefits.

So that’s how the campaign actually works, let’s look at how they get people in.

How Linea got people to take part in their quests

I’ve seen well-organised and well-incentivised campaigns fail to get any sort of meaningful traction.

If you take a look at Linea’s quest campaign, they had over 12M participants.

Which is insane.

So what made this campaign different and why were they able to get such huge levels of traction?

Launching to a good audience

The easy answer here is that they’re associated with Consensys.

A huge brand in the space with a high level of established trust and reach.

If you track back through Consensy’s Twitter, you’ll see that around the time of the launch of the quest campaign they promoted it ot their established audience.

That Tweet reached over 550,000 people.

And I guarantee that they also promoted through their email list and other owned marketing channels.

They leveraged the established community and trust of Consensys to get off to a good start.

And it obviously worked as they managed to get over 1,000,000 people in to the first week of the campaign.

But, as mentioned, you’re going to see those engagement spikes throughout the campaign. And a good launch doesn’t ensure success alone.

Let’s look at how they continued the engagement.

Continuing to attract interested people

Linea had 2 key things they needed to achieve with their quest campaign.

  1. Get existing participants to return and re-engage
  2. Bring new users into the top of the funnel at every opportunity

This is true for any quest campaign or marketing strategy as a whole.

From analysing Linea’s approach, they really leveraged 3 different approaches to achieve the above two goals.

Let’s start with the most obvious.

  1. Viral social through incentivised shares

One of the most obvious things any quest campaign needs is a “like/retweet this tweet”.

You get the user to share a key announcement, promotional, or simply information social media update with their audience.

It’s a simple network effect where you incentivise one person with something to expose you to their network. With these quests, that incentive carries on meaning everyone who is downstream is also incentivised to share to their networks.

If we imagine that each of your participants shares the post and 10 others see it, you’re getting 10 extra impressions for each new users.

And if 1 of those 10 signs up, you get another 10. And so on and so on.

Linea used this in their “off-chain weeks”.

As you can see from this example of Week 2, they asked people to retweet this tweet.

Not everyone took the action, but they ended up with 276,000 retweets.

Which, if we assume that each user helped them get an extra 10 impressions per retweet, they would have been exposed to over 2.7M people on Twitter.

You’re almost guaranteed that a handful of those people would have then signed up for the quests and/or to help Linea.

2. Notifications of new weeks

As the above viral shares take effect, Linea will have seen more people coming into their funnel and partaking in the quest.

Which would alos lead to more followers and (I assume) email subs.

Rather than expect the users to remember what is happening and when, Linea took the basic but important (and often overlooked) step of reminding people what’s happening and when.

At the start of every week they’d remind people and build some anticipation for what’s coming up with posts and messages like the below.

It's really not that hard.

But these simple messages remind those already following and engaging with Linea that there’s something they need to do with the quest.

As mentioned before, I’m sure they also sent out message son their other socials like Lens and their email lists.

3. Ongoing partnerships

With the referral and reminder elements set up, the one element that’s missing is getting exposure to an even larger user base and bringing in new people.

When looking through their past communications, it appears that each week saw them partner with relevant brands.

For example, in the DeFi week they partnered with DeFi related brand to get more people into the Linea funnel.

This is a great way to get access and reach for a wider, but still highly relevant audience.

It looks as though every week Linea built a number of promotional partnerships into the mix to further bolster their user acquisition.

This ensures a healthy top-of-funnel filling of users, which then are supercharged into other new users through the social media viral share campaigns.

What I will say is that, for a brand backed by Consensys, getting partnerships with established brands who have large, relevant audiences would be relatively easy.

For smaller brands that don’t have that reputation, it’ll be a lot harder.

I would recommend smaller brands try to partner with others of a similar size as they’ll be happy for the exposure as well.

But, also go for some of the larger brands because one decent collab can make a huge different.

The whole Linea quest model

If we’re going to sum up the Linea quest model, it’d look something like the below.

  1. Create weekly, focused quests on different activities
    1. Ensure they have a set end data for FOMO
  2. Partner with projects who have relevant audiences for each week
    1. Multiple partners for each week
  3. Build in viral share campaign actions
    1. Share, retweet, join our Twitter space
  4. Rinse and repeat every week

Adding in other revenue streams

Before I sign off on this one, there was one other element I found interesting.

Linea published updates and information about the Voyage and their brand in a account.

As it’s on Mirror, users are able to mint the articles as an NFT.

And as far as I could see, each one is sold out.

Most have a limit of around 500 NFTs that are mintable, and a price of around 0.02 ETH (~$40).

By that measure, they’re making around $20,000 in ETH for each one of these articles.

I’ve put things on Mirror myself and also written about doing this for creators.

Have to say I’ve not really sold anything worthwhile on the site. I guess that having an engaged user base is key.

I’m surprised that they’re selling out NFT articles of what is, essentially, a notification of an upcoming campaign.

Wonder if I should also look at putting these studies on Medium for people to collect? Thoughts?

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