The sportswear giant built a virtual ecosystem (called Nikeland) on Roblox with the goals of increasing its brand awareness and boosting its digital revenue.
How did Nike fare? Pretty good.
- Nikeland has welcomed over 21 million visitors since its launch.
- 118,000 gamers on the platform have favorited Nikeland
- Digital revenue grew to 26% of Nike’s total revenue due to its activities on Roblox.
These impressive results have prompted marketers to sit up and ask:
“What is Roblox? And what marketing opportunities does it hold for my brand?”
If you are one of those marketers, then you have come to the right place.
This article will take a deep dive into what Roblox means for you and what marketing opportunities you can take advantage of.
What is Roblox?
Roblox is a platform that allows users to create their own games as well as play games created by other people.
You can think of it as a marketplace for games, except that most of its games are free to play.
There were 9 million games (or experiences, as they are called) on Roblox as of September 2022. And considering its rise in popularity recently, chances are that number has increased.
But here’s the best part (and the part you most likely care about).
Roblox is more than just a gaming platform. It is also a social network.
It combines elements of social media, metaverse, gaming, and commerce to create an “imagination platform” where any user can connect with other users, build communities, and make transactions.
That’s what makes it so appealing to brands like Nike, Chipotle, and H&M. They see an opportunity to connect with their audience through shared experiences. And they went ahead to build those experiences.
In the metaverse, you can position yourself to a totally new demographic, new revenue stream, new products, and new style.
Roblox users’ stats that show why it is a marketing opportunity
How many people play Roblox?
The company reported 58.5 million daily active users in Q3 2022. That number was up 26% from the previous year.
Who uses Roblox?
Roblox has always been dominated by young users. 67% of its users are under the age of 16.
But according to a recent letter to its shareholders, its fastest-growing demographics among male and female users is 17-24.
This indicates that Roblox is beginning to attract older generations.
How much time do users spend on Roblox?
Engagement hours on Roblox have exponentially increased in recent years.
The screenshot below shows a breakdown of Roblox’s engagement hours in recent years.
Users are not just spending more time on the platform, they are also creating new relationships.
2.5 billion daily messages are sent and 17 million friendships are made daily on the platform.
What are marketing opportunities available on Roblox?
Marketing on Roblox, or the metaverse in general, is a new frontier.
There are still a lot of experiments to be made and learnings to be had. And understandably, the pace is being set by brands with deep pockets.
But you don’t have to wait until your brand becomes a billion-dollar enterprise before you benefit from Roblox.
As brands like Gucci and Ralph Lauren find out what works on Roblox, you can take advantage by becoming a fast follower.
These multi-billion dollar brands have shown that creating an experience on Roblox is the way to go. Here’s what you need to know about this tactic.
Create your Roblox Experience
Games on Roblox are referred to as experiences. But a Roblox experience is more than just gaming.
Here’s how a Roblox spokesperson defined experiences.
Roblox is an online community where people do things together in virtual worlds, and over the years, we began referring to these worlds as experiences, as they better represent the wide range of 3D immersive places–from Obbys (obstacle courses) to virtual concerts–that people can enjoy together with their friends.
So how have brands used their Roblox experiences to reach new audiences?
Forever 21 uses Roblox as a testing ground for new products before launching it in real life.
The company launched its virtual world–Shop City–and used it to test a new set of beanies. The aim was to inform its product strategy in the real world.
Here’s how Jacob Hawkins, Forever 21’s CMO, explained the company’s motive.
We now design virtually, and we are launching those into our stores and on our website. We are going to see what works well in one channel and look at launching it in the other channel.
Forever 21 has sold over 1.5 million units of its beanie on Roblox.
💡 Takeaway: Treat Roblox as a shopping arena with unlimited shelf space. Thinking of launching a new product? Create a digital version first in your Roblox experience and gauge people’s reactions.
Your results should inform your merchandise strategy going forward.
H&M uses Roblox as a brand awareness tool
The company’s Roblox experience–The H&M Loooptopia–was built as a way to keep in touch with its younger audience.
Linda Li, H&M’s Head of Activation and Marketing, explained further.
People who shop and wear H&M garments and accessories are increasingly spending time in virtual spaces and digital worlds. The H&M Loooptopia Experience on Roblox is now allowing us to explore new ways to engage with our current and new customers in the places they love to be, both online and offline.
💡 Takeaway: You don’t need a digital product to benefit from Roblox’s digital experiences. As a marketer, you understand the importance of being where your customers are.
Once you confirm that your target audience spends their time on Roblox, join them on the platform and create experiences to keep them engaged with your brand.
Other Roblox tactics you can employ:
- Use branded in-game items as part of your marketing campaign. This marketing campaign could include social media, email, and so on.
What you are aiming for is to create a cohesive brand experience across multiple channels.
For instance, you can host contests on social media that give members of your Roblox experience a chance to win in-game items.
- Partner with established Roblox creators to create experiences that promote your brand’s values and contain branded in-game items.
- Drive traffic from Roblox to your physical store or website by giving users the opportunity to get the real-world version of items they purchase on Roblox.
Can you run ads on Roblox?
The short answer is: Yes, you can pay to reach more people on Roblox.
Ads on Roblox are called Sponsored Experiences–you pay to give your experience prominent positions on Roblox’s pages and search results.
This is an interesting time to run Roblox ads.
In-game ads aren’t new–Roblox already allows this on its platform. But this ad format was limited to one experience.
Based on the company’s announcement, brands will now be able to drop virtual billboards and reach specific demographics across multiple experiences.
Roblox also removed sponsored experiences for non-teen users. This means advertisers won’t be able to reach Roblox users under the age of 13 with ads.
If you run marketing for a kids brand, that’s something to consider, as users under the age of 13 make up 47% of Roblox’s daily active users.
The reason for this restriction, according to a Roblox spokesperson, “…to be more consistent with our safety standards and align with our mission…”
Community engagement is key to success on Roblox
It is important to remember that Roblox is a social platform.
As the gaming ecosystem becomes more social, brands that tap into this aspect will unlock new growth levers on virtual platforms.
Look at the promise of social media; that it wouldn’t just be one-way communication, but it will be two-way. Places like Roblox kick that up to the next level, where you can create alongside the people who love your brand.Ashley Lapin. Co-founder, Current Forward
Wondering what community-building tactic might work on Roblox?
A good place to start is User Generated Content (UGC).
The gaming community is no stranger to UGC. In fact, gaming heavyweights like Minecraft and Fortnite implement UGC strategies in their communities.
Plus a study revealed that millennials are 50% more likely to trust UGC than content created by brands.
Who created Roblox?
Roblox was co-founded by David Baszucki and Eric Cassel.
The social gaming platform was officially launched on September 1 2006 which makes Roblox 17 years old.
Roblox wasn’t a hit from the start. It wasn’t until a decade after its launch that it began to gain popularity.
It came into global focus during the lockdown as it recorded 31.1 million daily active users.
What was the first game on Roblox?
Rocket Arena holds the status as the first game ever on Roblox.
It was originally developed by the company in January 2006. It went through a name change after a few years and became “Classis: Rocket Arena”.
Rocket arena is a free for all fighting game that amassed almost 2 million visits before it became unplayable.
The oldest Roblox game that is still playable is Experience Gravity. Like the name sounds, you jump off a platform and experience gravity.
The most popular game on Roblox is Adopt Me! It is a game where users take on the role of an adoptive parent or an adopted child and go about their everyday activities.
How old do you have to be to use Roblox?
There is no specified minimum age to use Roblox, which means any kid can create an account, play games and interact with others.
Of course, this means that there is a level of risk for younger kids and even unsuspecting older ones.
Roblox claims to have precautions in place, like parental controls. Still, Common Sense Media rates it ok for users age 13+.
How does Roblox make money?
Roblox’s pricing strategy is based on the freemium model.
The platform is free to use. And most of its games are also free to play. But to enjoy certain benefits like buy in-game items, you need to spend money.
Roblox uses an in-game currency called Robx.
Robox can be won during experiences or bought by subscribing to any one of three Roblox plans.
Roblox Subscription Plans
- 450 Robux per month for $4.99
- 1000 Robux per month for $9.99
- 2200 Robux per month for $19.99
Is Roblox a social network?
Yes, Roblox is a social network.
Users can connect with old and new friends within its community. Roblox released several features to aid interaction via text, voice, and video chat.
For instance, in 2021, the platform launched Spatial Voice Chat. This is a proximity-based voice chat feature that simulates real-life conversations based on how close you are to the person you are speaking to.
The closer you are to that person, the louder your voice and vice versa.
Another feature is the power to vote on games on the platform. Roblox users can upvote games, which is an indicator of the game’s popularity on the platform.