Roblox reports early positive organic lift after advertising beta test

roblox logo on money

Roblox is still developing its advertising offerings — but data from its advertising beta test, shared exclusively with Digiday, indicates that the platform’s Portals advertising product results in considerable organic lift for brands, a metric that has encouraged both Roblox and its partners as it progresses toward the full rollout of ads later this year.

Roblox announced that advertisements would be coming to its virtual experience platform last year, with Roblox ads coming in the form of digital billboards, video ads and “Portals” that allow users to jump from one experience to another. Since the announcement, Roblox has been beta testing its advertising offerings with a select group of brand partners, including Puma and the NFL.

In a test that ran between Feb. 1 and March 12, Roblox worked with over a dozen brands across verticals such as fashion, sports, entertainment and retail to measure the organic lift generated by its in-game Portals. The test involved portal activity by millions of users across Roblox’s 180 supported countries and territories.

Data from the test showed an aggregate nine percent of users who either returned to the branded experience they discovered through a Portal or saw some friends portaled into a branded experience and joined them organically. In other words, that brands can generally factor in a nearly ten percent increase on the traffic and engagement figures they see through Portal ads. Roblox also found that up to 20 percent of users were redeeming digital items in experiences they joined via Portals.

“We also noticed an uptick in homepage discovery during the beta test, which further highlights the potential lift of the immersive ad unit,” said Ivan Dashkov, head of Web3 at Puma. “Overall, we’re happy with the results of the beta test, and we’re excited to explore more opportunities to collaborate with Roblox in the future.”

While speaking to this reporter during last week’s Digiday Gaming Advertising Forum, Roblox head of immersive media solutions Ashley McCollum described how the platform measured the organic lift capabilities of Portal ads.

“We used a common denominator — the total users — to come up with the aggregate percent of, one, Portal users organically returning to those experiences after they’ve been portaled, and then number two, Portal users’ friends who joined them in the experience,” McCollum said. “The brand didn’t have to pay for that — that was an organic exposure that came as a result of the paid campaign.”

Roblox’s organic lift numbers demonstrate one of the platform’s core strengths as it moves toward the full rollout of its ad offerings — that ads in Roblox, and particularly formats such as Portals, are couched inside engaging gaming experiences in which users actually want to spend meaningful time. Roblox and its beta advertisers are confident that simply “portaling” users into a branded experience is enough to get those users to connect with brands in a more long-lasting way.

“Experiences in Roblox have the opportunity to engage far more emotionally, and have the dwell time of those engagements be far longer than what an advertising one is,” said Malph Minns, managing director of the agency Strive Sponsorship. “But the investment of your time, and indeed the cost of those experiences, can be a lot more than traditional advertising.”

Roblox’s incoming ad offerings represent an opportunity for brands to take advantage of the deeper engagement of Roblox experiences without necessarily having to spend months and thousands of dollars developing their own custom-branded experiences. And for the brands that do choose to go the immersive experience route, Portal ads appear to be able to significantly increase traffic and engagement inside them, both via paid acquisition and organic lift.

“Portals have helped the NFL reach and convert a high percentage of new users into our experiences,” said Ed Kiang, vp of video gaming at the NFL. “As a direct result, we have witnessed organic return visits and a strong UGC item redemption rate, fueling NFL fandom across the entire Roblox ecosystem.”

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