Creators VS Promo Credits
More and more people, but especially creators, are complaining publicly (on social media, discussions, etc.) about users being offered too many promo credits or the fact that their sales get too many promo credit sales.
To be upset about this is not just wrong, but screams a bit of entitlement in some cases. While the choice of words might seem harsh, let’s debunk this whole notion of promo credits and creators complaining about promo sales together, so that you can also understand why this negativity towards promo credit sales should not exist at all.
IMVU simulates real life by having its currency with which users can shop. Instead of calling it money, IMVU calls it credits. There are two types of credits:
- Promo credits
Both credits and promo credits can be used to purchase goods on the IMVU platform.
When you sign up for the first time for IMVU.com, you are offered some credits that you can use to customize your avatar. The type of credits you are offered are promo credits
Promo credits are short for promotional credits, meaning that they are generally credits obtained for free, such as signing up, completing IMVU offers, using the Daily Spin tool from IMVU, etc. These are no different than downloading a game from the Store APP, such as a race game, then playing for a bit and being greeted with a message “you ran out of coins to power up your car – buy now or watch this ad to get a free coin” and you click on the ad window to get your free coin. Obviously, a bit of work in getting your free coin and quite time-consuming.
Credits, or real credits, are the type of coins you can purchase. No waiting, no ad-watching, nothing! You can simply go to the IMVU shop and select the number of credits you want to buy. The good news is that with the credits you just bought, you can easily customize your avatar, room, etc. to your liking to the extent of your balance alone! The downside to credits is… having to buy them (in some way). Yes, you have to spend money to get these credits.
Credits vs Promo Credits
While both of them do the same main job most users are using IMVU for, which is to customize their avatars, one has priority over the other. If you have a positive balance both for promo credits and for credits, the credits (the cash ones) go first.
For example, if you have 1,000 credits and 1,000 promo credits and decide to buy a t-shirt that costs 500 credits, your credits will go first to complete the transaction, meaning that your balance will now look like this:
1000 promo credits
Credits always have priority in consumption versus promo credits, but that’s not all! Aside from buying things for your avatar, there is nothing else you can do with promo credits (and there are a lot of things you can do with IMVU’s currency in general).
With credits, you can transfer them to friends, or simply buy a gift for someone dear to you, or you can even pay people to create custom products for you using IMVU credits (yes, this is legal).
That means that if you want to transfer to someone promo credits, you can’t. If you want to gift someone using promo credits, you can’t. Even if you have 0 in your credits balance and 1 million promo credits, you will not be allowed by IMVU’s system to send a gift using promo credits.
Creators and credits
If you are a creator, or an aspiring creator looking at how creating on IMVU works, you might be surprised to learn that you cannot create using promo credits.
Well, first of all, it’s important to note that yes, to create on IMVU, one MUST have enough credits in their account to be able to submit the product (that’s just how creating on IMVU works).
Meaning that it is necessary to have credits (and not promo credits) as a creator to be able to add your creations to the shop.
Creators and money
It’s no secret that creators on IMVU can earn money through each sale they make.
A sale is a direct purchase of a good available in the IMVU shop using either credits or promo credits.
When someone has an available balance of credits, those credits go first in making the transaction. It’s crucial to note that a creator earns money from every transaction they make, as long as the transaction was made with credits (and not promo credits). This means that whenever you purchase a product from me with your (real) credits, I make money thanks to you!
When someone does not have an available balance of credits, but they have promo credits and make a purchase, the creator does not get money, not one cent. Instead, they get 1 dev token for each sale with promo credits.
Without dwelling on the dev tokens and credits subject too much, it’s good to know that dev tokens are limited in what one can use them for, which is usually one of three things:
- They go into submitting products (1 dev token is calculated as being the equivalent of 10 credits – and remember, regardless of the profit higher than 10 credits set on a product, if someone buys the product with promo credits, the creator will only get one dev token)
- Buying shoutouts – good for advertising various things such as your shop, badges available on one’s homepage, or just wishing everyone reading your message a nice day
3. Buying Mobile/PC ads – good for advertising your IMVU shop
Fun trivia fact: In the past, in IMVU’s early stages, probably up until 2006, when someone would purchase goods with promo credits, the creator/s would receive the exact profit amount they had set, but in promo credits.
Fun trivia fact 2: Also in the past, IMVU would prioritize promo credits over credits, meaning if you had 2 available balances, 1000 credits, and 1000 promo credits, IMVU would make the transactions first consuming the promo credits.
Why creators get angry
Some creators, typically the popular, top creators that are widely known and constantly get on top pages in the shop, get a lot of sales. These creators get thousands of sales in a single day, and a lot of these sales are with promo credits. I can understand the frustration when more than half of someone’s sales are with promo credits, knowing that in comparison to actual credits, promo credits are next-to-useless for a creator. But are they?
When someone buys a product with real credits, the product can now reach the hot pages of the shop, meaning that it can make even more sales. When someone buys the product with promo credits, the sale is not taken into account at all, for the IMVU algorithm, it’s as if there was no sale at all of that product.
Why Promo Credits are good for IMVU and the economy
One thing that is obvious to me, yet apparently not very obvious to many other people is the fact that promo credits are an excellent way to attract new people. Yes! It seems obvious, right? Well, apparently it’s not that obvious.
What people do not seem to understand is that IMVU is a business and a business has one single definition – that is to make money. That’s it, that’s all you need to know about what a business is. The HOW part is different.
The “How can we make more money?” is the long part of college, where you study 3-4 more years to understand how to make that business make more money.
One way to do this is you attract customers by giving them a small preview of what your product/service is and/or has to offer. IMVU is no different.
The fact that IMVU offers promo credits constantly to its users is because people are interested in the free credits given by IMVU, and seeing how IMVU has survived for some really good time, I can bet that they figured out that giving promo deals now and then, including promo credits offers is much better for the business in the long run, which means that it has user retention.
User retention - what does it mean?
User retention refers to the ability of a business to retain its existing customers over some time. It is the process of keeping customers engaged with a company’s products or services and encouraging them to continue using them over time. In other words, user retention is the percentage of customers who continue to use a company’s products or services over a certain period.
User retention is a critical metric for businesses because retaining existing customers is typically more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. Retaining customers also helps build brand loyalty and advocacy, leading to positive word-of-mouth marketing and increased revenue over time.
To improve user retention, businesses may implement various strategies such as offering personalized experiences, improving customer support, providing incentives or rewards for loyal customers, and delivering high-quality products or services. In IMVU’s case, it’s offering sales often, offering various ways of how one can get more free credits (promo credits), and organizing different events for users to engage in (such as Weekend Outfit Challenge).
By focusing on user retention, businesses can build long-term relationships with their customers and create a sustainable revenue stream, which means that IMVU figured it out that they can’t just ask, ask, ask for money, but also that there needs to be a full process in place.
It’s no different than luxury brands offering freebies, even if their target audience is millionaires.
Going to buy a Lambo? You bet the car dealer will give you a nice glass of fine champagne to put you more in the mood for exclusivity and premium quality. It’s a tactic. It’s free. It’s used in business because it works.
Why it shouldn't be a discussion
One huge thing creators might not be aware of is that having a lot of promo sales (sales made with promo credits) does not happen to everyone. On the contrary. Having many promo sales is a precursor to being a successful creator. It means that the creator is popular, well-known, and sells a lot.
The fact that IMVU offers a lot of free promo credit opportunities for its users means that IMVU is working on growing its business by either attracting new customers (by giving them a taste of what it’s like to be able to customize your avatar) or by retaining the current users, both of which are great ways of improvement.
Do you know who benefits from IMVU increasing its user base? The same creators who complain about their promo sales.
Another very, very, very important factor is the publicity you get in public rooms and on social media where the person who bought your product with promo credits showcases your product. It’s visibility! Visibility means more potential customers so promo sales are not at all useless.
If you make a great product, such as a uniquely hand-designed snake-printed-diamond bracelet, do not be upset by the people that come into your shop just to look at your bracelet. Do not complain about these people publicly, or at all as a matter of fact. Instead, be a bit more open-minded to realize that every exposure your shop gets, you as a creator get – that’s priceless. It has the potential to make you money in the long run simply by exposure.
Imagine promo credits completely gone
If I were someone purchasing stuff around the shop only with promo credits and I would read the complaints regarding promo sales, I would get upset. I would feel bad for buying things from the shop, although I mean no harm, as I am just a user trying to enjoy my time on IMVU, no, such a comment or a discussion thread would make me feel bad. Maybe I can’t afford to buy credits. Maybe the reason I am sticking around IMVU is that I love the experience of dressing up my avatar regularly. All because IMVU is allowing me to get a small number of credits now and then, enough for me to afford a dress worth 664cr once a week.
But what if promo credits were completely gone?
We are going to ignore the fact that the vast majority of users do not purchase credits, but rely completely on promo credits from IMVU. With promo credits gone and my inability to purchase credits, I would look at the shop, see things I like, and never be able to afford them. I would be frustrated and I would leave.
Maybe for you, the complaining creator, it’s not much. But for the paying customer who buys your stuff, it might also mean bye-bye IMVU. Maybe that person was hanging around me, or people like me who use IMVU for the sole purpose of socializing.
Imagine completely removing… what? Most of IMVU users? (most people do not buy credits at all) just because they choose to spend promo credits when buying goods from the shop? Do that and the other paying users will also leave. Not just that, but many of the promo users will become paying customers in the future. By offering promo credits, you allow someone to enjoy their IMVU experience and only after that, could the person possibly decide to switch to becoming a paying users because they might find it is worth their money: “Hey, you know what, I actually like this game/platform, I think it’s worth purchasing some credits to customize my avatar better”. This is the best way for customer retention.
If IMVU forced everyone to always purchase IMVU credits without giving them the chance to test a bit the platform and how things work on IMVU beforehand, most users would be bitter, would think IMVU is beyond greedy, some would even pay, but most would just find that it would not be worth their time and money.
Heck, I shouldn’t even call anyone poor, it’s not like people that use promo credits are poor, they can just very well be people that do not want to invest money/too much money in IMVU or games in general. There is nothing wrong with that.
To point out to IMVU the fact that one’s sales are getting too many promo credits sales is wrong. Remember that a lot of promo credit sales is an underlying factor of being a successful creator on IMVU.
Creators that do not earn that well get little to no promo sales generally.
If there is anyone who would want people to use credits instead of promo credits – it’s IMVU itself.
It’s in IMVU’s best interest to convert anyone and everyone to spend money on IMVU. However, to do this, IMVU must also attract potential customers or brainstorm ideas on how to make a user a customer. And since it’s illegal kinda everywhere to force people to give you their money (it does have a name, it’s generally called stealing), IMVU most likely figured out some good ways how to keep users engaged and also how to convert them to paying users so that you, the creator, can also benefit from this.
IMVU gives away promo credits regularly, generally in small amounts and very rarely in bigger amounts (more than 1000 promo credits) to keep its users engaged with the platform and activities.
One must not forget that the IMVU experience is different for everyone, but at its core, it’s a 3D chat for people to socialize and interact with others. While I and many others are on IMVU to create and make a profit, that is not the case for the average user.
In conclusion, promo sales for IMVU creators are good and creators should find ways to put the dev tokens that they get from the promo sales to good use. Invest in some creator ads which will help your shop get even more sales.
Creators, remember that it’s our responsibility to be grateful to every single IMVU user, as they are the reason IMVU is still going strong and they are the reason why we all have the jobs that we have, and yes, someone choosing to spend their promo credits on YOUR product is nothing but a great opportunity.