Roblox: The New Social Experience
If you’re familiar with the emerging tech space, you’ve almost certainly heard of Roblox. What started as a niche gaming platform in 2006 has since evolved into a place where users of all ages go to connect, create, customize, and yes—play. Today, with 61.5 million daily active users and 4.7 billion engagement hours logged in December alone, Roblox is a state-of-the-art social hotspot. Style and self-expression have become paramount to user experience and have effectively transformed Roblox into a destination for the biggest brands in the world to interface with an intentionally engaged audience.
Having worked closely with clients to ideate on experiences that captivate audiences in new ways, I am pumped about the opportunities and options Roblox provides for forward-thinking brands. Here, I’ll dive into current trends on the platform and highlight a few of the specific ways brands can take part.
First, though, I want to bust a common myth about the Roblox audience: it is not just made up of children.
Roblox is Growing Up
A common misconception is that Roblox is predominantly played by younger audiences (especially 13 and under.) But actually, the data shows the Roblox audience is evolving. Today, there are more Roblox users over the age of 13 than under and the fastest-growing demographic on the platform is 17-24-year-olds.
As Roblox expands in popularity, so do its offerings. With age restrictions for certain content in place, and plans to launch a new immersive ads system this year, Roblox aims to protect its youngest audience while capitalizing on its older cohort.
Roblox Hits: What’s Popular on the Platform
Roblox offers plentiful opportunities to consumer brands that are open to embracing the platform. But before we explore those, let’s take a quick look at the types of experiences currently seeing success.
Last year, Roblox released a 2021 retrospective that addressed key trends and the types of experiences that are most popular among Roblox users. It’s absolutely worth the read, but here are a few highlights from the report:
Digital experiences designed to mimic real-life activities like going to school and hanging out at home dominated the list of most popular genres on Roblox and doubled in year-over-year engagement time from 2020.
Experiences in which users assume the role of a fictional character topped the list of the 5 Most Popular Genres on Roblox.
Action & Simulator Genres
Action experiences (think: fighting and survival titles) and simulator experiences (those in which users collect items or currency) also made the Top 5, proving particularly popular among male users. The latter genre quadrupled in year-over-year engagement time from 2020.
Platformer/Obby & Tycoon Genres
Experiences that require users to complete obstacle courses (known as ”obbys” on Roblox) and experiences in which users earn money to build their empires rounded out the Top 5, proving particularly popular among female users.
Experiences aren’t the only point of engagement on the platform; style and self-expression are a key part of Roblox too. In a recent survey conducted by Roblox, 47% of Gen Z users on the platform said that dressing their avatars allows them to express their individuality and 43% said this helps them to feel good about themselves. It’s no surprise, then, that in 2021, one in five daily active users updated their avatars on any given day and 5.8 billion virtual items (both free and paid) were acquired on the platform.
Between the free rein of experience development and the high demand for virtual goods, Roblox is a platform providing ample opportunities for brands to engage their audiences in an authentic and meaningful way.
Get Inspired: Brand Opportunities on Roblox
Now let’s get to the good part. There are four main ways a brand can dive into Roblox: launch a persistent experience of their own, collaborate on an experience with another brand, launch a limited-time event, or create virtual goods that Roblox players can use to personalize and style their avatars.
Persistent Roblox Experiences
For brands, creating a full-fledged, persistent Roblox experience is the most robust way to establish a presence on the platform.
Persistent Roblox experiences are immersive worlds containing multiple environments, obbys, activities, games, storefronts, and more. The key to their success is their continual evolution; they are not “set it and forget it” endeavors. To keep users coming back, brands need to provide new features and fresh encounters within the experience regularly.
Some successful examples of persistent experiences include Alo Yoga’s Alo Sanctuary, and Hasbro/NERF’s NERF Island.
Limited Time Events
Another Roblox avenue for brands is the Limited Time Event. This exclusive experience with a short lifespan is ideal for generating urgency, excitement, and brand awareness. Historically, experiences like these have been executed as concerts (Lil Nas X Concert Experience, Twenty One Pilots Concert Experience), fashion shows (The Fashion Awards 2021), and premiere celebrations (In the Heights Block Party).
Limited time events like these invite brands to hit the ground running without the pressure of continuous upkeep.
For brands looking to make a quick entrance to the platform targeting an existing engaged audience, experience collaborations offer an enticing option. An experience collaboration is when a brand creates a pop-up experience within an existing Roblox experience. It’s a win on both sides: the pop-up brand can take advantage of the pre-existing built-in audience while the host brand can add fresh content to their space and gain more traffic from the collaboration.
Recently, NASCAR did just this. Wanting to dip their toes in the metaverse pool, NASCAR integrated their brand into the insanely popular Jailbreak experience on Roblox. Users visited the 10-day Jailbreak X NASCAR collaboration 24 million times, which was a 30% increase in concurrent players.
User-Generated Content (UGC): Branded Virtual Items
The fourth option available to brands on Roblox is creating UGC (user-generated content): branded virtual clothing items that players can purchase with Robux and can wear in any experience throughout Roblox.
Whether a brand is looking for new brand ambassadors, digital influence, or simply wants to dip its toes into the world of NFTs, UGC yields enormous opportunities to amass brand popularity. Let’s look at the data. Roblox partnered with Parsons School of Design last year to create a Metaverse Fashion Trends report (another great read) which revealed that two-thirds of respondents were excited to wear brand-name virtual items on Roblox. Furthermore, 42% of respondents went so far as to say that expressing themselves with cool clothing and accessories in the digital world is more important than expressing themselves in the physical world!
A great example of a brand addressing this need is Gucci, whose Dionysus Bag with Bee launched in Roblox and was sold for over $4,000 – exceeding the actual retail price of the accessory.
Top Tips for Entering Roblox
Think your brand should consider Roblox? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Keep it Fresh
If you’re creating a persistent experience on the platform, invest in the long game by having an evergreen experience plan and investment to match. Ensure the experience is enjoyable enough for users to want to come back with new features, environment expansions, and promotions.
Back-Up Your Investment
Back up your investment with a solid media strategy to support its launch. If users don’t know about your experience, they can’t play it.
Incorporating UGC into your experience is an easy win and one of the best ways to keep users coming back. (Note: UGC can only be created and uploaded into the Roblox store by a UGC-approved creator.)
Keep an eye on new platform offerings as Roblox continues to evolve. For instance, Roblox will launch immersive ads this year, giving brands and advertisers another outlet for their immersive experience to shine.
No Time Like the Present
The biggest brands in the world are all-in on the engaging their audiences with immersive, interactive experiences. They are rethinking engagement strategy and zeroing in on how to activate mutually beneficial brand encounters.
With Roblox, your brand can generate a social moment, entertaining experience, and shopping avenue all in one and can engage meaningfully with younger generations where they’re already spending their time.
If you’re curious to learn more about Roblox, feel free to reach out to our team below. And if you’d like to explore a Roblox experience for yourself, check out SubvrsiveLand, the Roblox world we built to show off the platform’s capabilities.