Roblox to Launch 3D Immersive Advertising in 2023
The online gaming platform is planning to launch 3D immersive ads next year as it looks to diversify its base beyond the current in-game purchases.
Roblox is planning to first test the ads with developers and a few advertisers by the end of 2022 before rolling out the immersive ads in 2023, the gaming firm stated at its annual developer’s conference.
Roblox’s immersive ads will only target audiences that are aged 13 and above, the firm said.
The global advertising industry is currently being ravaged by the global economic woes being witnessed at the moment. Even top advertising platforms such as Snap and Meta have been impacted by the plummeting advertising revenues. Roblox has also felt the impact as schools reopened following lockdowns and inflation eats into user spending.
Roblox has been pivoting to the metaverse to try and stave off the falling demand. Roblox previewed its new immersive in-game advertising at its Roblox Developers Conference (RDC) held last week.
The Roblox Immersive Ads will likely go live in 2023. The new ad format will come with the ability to create 3D portals capable of transporting Roblox players to custom virtual worlds. Roblox is positioning the new Immersive Ads offering as a way for advertisers to create deeper connections with its community which currently consists of 58.5 million daily active users.
Additionally, Roblox is scaling up its Marketplace where creators can sell items for Roblox’s Robux in-game currency by introducing a new mechanic that allows users to control the scarcity of their goods. Roblox’s new monetization play is coming at a time when the gaming platform has been seeing a dip in fortunes, an industry-wide trend.
Roblox is already fairly successful in attracting brands looking to experiment with the metaverse. Several top brands including Nike, Gucci, and Gap have already established a presence in Roblox and ran activations that are tailored to the platform such as persistent spaces that change with time. By adding an immersive ads feature, Roblox is making a push for more advertising dollars from companies looking to tap into the web3 medium.
Roblox showcased how the Immersive Ads feature works. The ad shows a Roblox character heading through a 3D portal to the virtual skatepark, Vans World, debuted by the shoe brand Vans in 2021.
The portal is filled with Roblox Vans World posters. There is a video that previews the experience and features a “Sponsored” disclosure playing on an overhead screen.
Once the avatar has stepped into a portal, it is transported into a branded virtual space. It works in a similar way when exiting Vans World as the player moves through the portal and back to the original experience.
The Immersive Ads will enable brands to market their bespoke Roblox venues to audiences of typically hard-to-reach Gen Z and Gen Alpha set consumers. The ads are also a potential money maker for creators. Creators can monetize their works as advertisers pay out to be featured in popular worlds that already attract users to spend time.
Many brands are currently opting for established Roblox experiences instead of building their own worlds from scratch. American Eagle did a spring campaign built around the theme of inclusivity that integrated a club into the popular Roblox role-playing game Livetopia which has attracted more than 1.5 billion visits.
Roblox creators generate money via Robux and the gaming platform sees this concept as crucial to growing its creator economy.
During the Roblox Developer Conference, the gaming platform stated more than $580 million out in the 12 months to June 2022 via its developer exchange. In the month of June alone, 2.7 million users earned Robux on the platform from their creations.
In a bid to better support individual business endeavors, Roblox also wants to give creators on its Marketplace control over the scarcity of online goods by making it possible for them to resell or trade merchandise.
Through these systems, Roblox is envisioning a future in which all items will have limited supply and where everyone will be able to find merch they love in a personalized marketplace.
Roblox did not meet Wall Street’s revenue targets and user growth projections in the second-quarter earnings it reported in August. Last April, industry watchdog Truth in Advertising filed a letter to the FTC accusing Roblox of deceptive marketing practices. However, in its RDC, the company announced that the new Immersive Ads on its platform will be labeled clearly as advertisements.
Most of Roblox’s revenues are currently generated from Robux, its virtual currency which is used by players to upgrade their avatars via in-game purchases of pets or accessories.