“In the next 5 years, we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.” On 29 October, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder, and CEO of Facebook announced at the annual Facebook Connect conference that the company would be renamed Meta, as he had mentioned in his earlier speech.
Metaverse is being introduced to the public in a variety of ways. The term metaverse was coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world. It also has a fully functional economy fueled by digital currencies.
Roblox is undoubtedly the most successful representation of metaverse in recent years.
Valued at more than $40 billion, Roblox builds the content ecology of a new era
After it started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on 10 March 2021, Roblox soon set off an upsurge in the internet industry. According to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the company’s market value soared from $3.9 billion one year ago to $45.3 billion. In terms of market value, Roblox has surpassed EA, Unisoft, and other big companies in the gaming industry to become a giant that is second only to Activision.
Roblox was inspired by Interactive Physics, a simulated physics laboratory written by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel who founded Roblox in 2004, for the purpose of providing more opportunities for students to explore their creativity and imagination. Roblox was designed to be a 3D virtual platform for users to play, learn, socialize, explore and create in a self-directed way, like the metaverse in Ready Player One.
Roblox allows players to create their own customized virtual worlds, make their own games, and go as far as their imagination can take them.
You can also invite your friends to play your games. Roblox was first extremely popular among elementary-school-age children in the US and grew more popular by words of mouth. Its popularity surged during the pandemic to become the No. 1 game on the App Store and Google play store in the US.
Besides words of mouth marketing, Roblox sure spent a lot on advertising, too.
Roblox racked up $894 million with continuous spending on ad creatives
According to global market data about the App Store and Google Play from SocialPeta, in January-October 2021, Roblox accumulated 133.9 million downloads, with 37.3 million downloads on iOS and 96.6 million downloads on Android; generated $894 million in revenue, with $614.9 million from iOS and $279.1 million from Android.
With rich UGC (user-generated content), Roblox has remained one of the top 10 most downloaded games worldwide. Since the pandemic broke out last year, Roblox has reported an average quarterly revenue of over $200 million.
Roblox also gave a great performance in the advertising market. According to SocialPeta (a world-leading marketing data platform), Roblox has been advertised since July 2014, with a total duration of over 2600 days, over 215,000 ad creatives, and an average of 80 ad creatives daily.
It ran ads mainly on AdMob, with ad creatives on AdMob accounting for 45% of its total ad creatives. Most of its ad creatives were placed in the US, accounting for 30% of total ad creatives, followed by the UK and Canada.
Of course, efficient advertising also boosted the rise of the app’s downloads. For example, on Android, its ad creatives prominently increased in September and October, with the highest daily ad creatives to be 250. As ads increased in September and October, the game achieved obviously more downloads on Google Play, with 12 million downloads in September, up 16.5% compared to August.
With a closer look at Roblox’s ad creatives, we found out that they were unfolding their vision of metaverse through ads.
Connecting virtual worlds and reality, that’s what Roblox is trying to show us
There’re 4 most important things for a metaverse product: tools, UGC, social communication, and economic system. In the case of Roblox, games are tools and carriers of social communication, UGC is from Roblox Studio’s developer forum, and the economic system is based on the virtual electronic currency Robux.
All that is an effort to close the gap between the metaverse and the real world by allowing people to copy all kinds of things from the real world in Roblox. We can also see that from Roblox’s hot creatives.
1. As skateboarding fans, come explore and customize your own Vans
As a skateboarding fan, you can try the hard skateboard tricks in games fearlessly, wear your favorite skateboarding products, and customize your own Vans skateboard shoes.
2. Play a virtual concert as if you’re a famous DJ
You can even become a DJ, playing the songs written by yourself and completing your own concert.
3. Recreate scenes from real life, blurring the boundary between the virtual and physical world
Recreate the “Muscle Beach” from the real world in the virtual world, so you can get the most real experience in games.
The ad creatives listed above are no doubt successful in closing the distance between games and real-life, providing players with an immersive and engaging experience in a rich and varied virtual world. However, those are just one little part of Roblox’s metaverse advertising strategy.
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