People really, really love Wordle. Users take to Twitter to celebrate their daily victories. Others curse Wordle’s owners, The New York Times, for upping the game’s difficulty.
It’s a mixed bag, really – but people keep talking about it.
Wordle challenges players every day to guess a five-letter word. Users have six tries before the game ends. And, sadly, if they fail, they lose their coveted streak.
Although the concept of Wordle has existed for years, the game recently exploded in popularity. Wordle reached more than 2 million daily users and trends every day on Twitter. In fact, some die-hard fans dedicated entire websites to strategizing the best way to play the game.
Yet users felt Wordle needed more … pizzaz. And thus, Wordle gave birth to many unofficial spinoffs. From LGBTQ+ slang to Taylor Swift lore, Wordle alternatives reveal the power of shared bonds and segmentation.
The different types of Wordle games
Before diving into the marketing takeaways from Wordle’s popularity, we need to understand which spinoff versions exist.
- QUEERDLE: LGBTQ+ vocabulary and slang.
- Star Wordle: Star Wars pop culture
- Subwaydle: The New York City subway system
- Taylordle: Taylor Swift-themed vocabulary
- Nerdle: Mathematical equations
- Lewdle: Profane words
- Dordle: Two simultaneous games
- Absurdle: “Adversarial” Wordle
- Worldle: geography
I think you get the point.
But how do these many different Wordle versions relate to marketing? And what can a simple word guessing game tell us about the power of segmentation?
The power of community
The different Wordle spinoffs underscore the power of community. Taylor Swift fans love guessing her song titles and Swiftie culture in Taylordle. Math whizzes can play to their strengths in Nerdle. New Yorkers can try navigating public transportation in Subwaydle.
These Wordle sequels stem directly from shared interests within communities. By slightly tweaking the Wordle formula, creators of these versions have created gamified spaces for people with similar interests.
Intuitively, many might have avoided Wordle entirely without these personalized modifications. Maybe the standard Wordle just didn’t cut it for them. But with a few touches here and there, suddenly Wordle’s audience grew in both size and spirit – just on unofficial spinoffs.
For brands, mirroring an audience’s interests has a big payoff. In fact, over 7 in 10 consumers prefer purchasing from companies with values similar to theirs. And the success of different Wordle versions implies consumers need only a little bit of customization to get pulled in.
Now, imagine if Wordle had the foresight to embed customization into its otherwise solid game. It could grow its user base without separate websites popping up. Maybe the New York Times would’ve bought it for even more money?
The impact of customized, personal experiences
As marketers, we have to vie for people’s time. We have a product or service and want to get our audience to pay attention. But often, valuable customers turn away because our messaging fails to speak to them.
For example, if you receive a generic-looking email from a brand, you avoid it. But if the headline contains something personal, you likely want to see what’s inside. The power of personalization.
After all, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers personalized experiences. In the context of Wordle, players flock to personalized versions because they interest them more. Who knows how many would have avoided Wordle if not for these spinoffs.
Wordle as inspiration for segmentation
For brands, the ability to create personalized content stems from customer marketing. Within this field, customer marketers advocate for current consumers of a brand through highly customizable experiences.
Senior Offline Community & Advocacy Marketing Manager of HubSpot, Christina Garnett, believes the explosion of Wordle reiterates the power of segmentation.
As the creator of HubFans, a platform to turn HubSpot fans into official advocates, Garnett believes the many Wordle versions “can be broken into two different categories: entry for popularity and entry to avoid corporatism”.
To Garnett, the separate iterations stem directly from the game’s popularity. Since Wordle went viral, many other versions also got popular. Makes sense.
On the flipside, Garnett also notes how these different versions help users avoid corporatism. When The New York Times acquired Wordle, fans expressed concerns over a paywall implementation and worries about the game losing its authenticity.
The different versions helped those concerned over a corporate Wordle takeover find solace in user-created alternatives.
So, what can we take away from these many different Wordles?
First, when creating social media posts, newsletters, and other content, consider how different segments will react. Ask yourself if you could possibly create multiple versions to tap into consumers’ different interests and needs. Rather than creating one-size-fits-all content, create different types to maximize engagement.
And while you’re at it, maybe consider creating some content for the Swifties among us.
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