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Roblox Introduces New Ad Format with In-Game Rewards

by Wilbert Soriano on May 08, 2024

Roblox's new feature lets you earn cool in-game items just by watching short video ads. This new ad format connects brands with the Roblox Gen Z crowd, giving you a super easy way to snag rewards and accessories with a quick 15-second view. The new system comes as part of Roblox Corporation's broader initiative to expand advertising opportunities and reach their 71.5 million daily active users more effectively.

Roblox in-game ad with sign that notifies players on in-game reward for watching.

Here's how it works: find an in-game video screen or billboard, watch the short ad, and boom, you've got your reward! A recent campaign gave away a stylish beanie, and it quickly created a buzz as players flocked to grab their freebies and share the hype with friends. Over the past six months, prominent brands like e.l.f. Beauty, HUGO, and Walmart have tested the new immersive ads.

The idea is to integrate ads smoothly into games so that they add to the realism and fun. For example, seeing familiar brands in a game that simulates a real-world environment could make the experience feel more relatable. Also, offering players rewards for watching ads might make the game more engaging and rewarding.

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While the promise to enhance gameplay sounds good, there's a concern that this focus on making ads "authentic" is just a way to make the introduction of more ads acceptable to players. The main goal behind ads is to make money, and sometimes that can mean the quality of the gaming experience is less of a priority. For these ads to be a positive addition, Roblox must implement them carefully. This means making sure ads are well-placed, not too intrusive, and that players have control over how they interact with them.

Roblox in-game ad for Hilton hotels

Enrico D’Angelo, Vice President of the Economy at Roblox, stressed that these immersive ads should make the player experience better, not worse. He emphasized Roblox’s commitment to developing ads that are authentic and engaging for both players and brands. We’ll see how that plays out.

At the same time, Parents may be concerned about the content of the ads and whether they are appropriate for a young audience. Roblox has partnered with organizations like Integral Ad Science and Kantar to improve ad integrity and transparency. These services will help Roblox verify that ads follow its Community and Advertising Standards. However, even if ads are vetted for age-appropriateness, the types of products marketed could raise issues – such as pushing beauty products on young girls.

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Roblox's advertising strategy could become an example for other digital platforms aiming to integrate ads without losing the trust and engagement of their users. While other gaming platforms and mobile games also use in-game ads, Roblox's approach puts an emphasis on giving players control and the ability to tailor experiences. For example, platforms like Fortnite and various mobile games sometimes incorporate ads in ways that can feel disruptive. However, Fortnight is also experimenting with formats that reward players and involve them more directly, similar to the Roblox approach.

Whether this new ad/reward approach will be ultimately seen as a clever strategy or a major misstep will depend on how well Roblox can keep its community at the forefront of these developments.

[Image credit: Roblox]

Wilbert Soriano is a freelance writer with more than a decade of experience covering a wide range of topics, including business, health, technology, and relationship advice.


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