Roblox is testing functionality that will enable brands to display in-game video advertisements that link directly to their experiences within the platform. The feature, slated to fully launch in the first half of next year, is an expansion of portal ads, which transport users to a new world upon entrance. Creative for these ads has so far been limited to static images.
Roblox is testing video portal ads in ongoing bid for brands
Portal ads are the core product in Roblox’s immersive advertising package that launched last year, geared toward brands that want to reach users directly within the platform. Over 34% of brand activations this year included the purchase of portal ads, according to Roblox. Over 90% of the traffic generated by these ads has corresponded to new users, that is, individuals who had not previously engaged with the respective brand experiences.
Roblox does not intend for the user journey to end there, however. Next year, the platform will start testing the ability of brands to drive users from their Roblox experiences to their websites via a direct link. Virtual commerce has become a popular activity on Roblox, but the translation to physical commerce for brands has not yet been pieced together. This feature is meant to bridge the gap.
“Real-world commerce is the number-one ask from brands,” Stephanie Latham, Roblox’s new VP of global partnerships, told Ad Age.
Roblox has hosted over 240 brand activations through the years, it said, though some experiences may have since become inactive.
The new features, announced Wednesday during the company’s investor day, are the latest moves by Roblox to court new brands—an effort that has particularly intensified over the last six months.
In June, Roblox launched a partners program with Dentsu and Vayner to facilitate the onboarding of marketers. A few months later, the platform unveiled a slate of loyalty features, including in-game subscriptions and an expansion of NFT-like Limited accessories. And in October, Roblox hired Latham away from Meta to lead its brand partnerships business.
Roblox announced Wednesday that it will be expanding the partnerships team to include more ad sales roles.
During its investor day, Roblox also outlined updates to make advertising more effective on its platform. Beginning in early 2024, brands can leverage genre-based and age-based targeting to help them reach relevant audiences. And Roblox will seek to improve measurement capabilities through new partnerships with third parties.
The slate of announcements follows strong third-quarter results reported by Roblox last week, marked by a 20% year-over-year surge in average daily active users to 70.2 million. Moreover, the company saw over 2 million installs in two months via its integration with Meta’s Quest headsets.