Updated: Jul 11
Branded game visits down -11%, but NARS & NHL find free UGC success
Every week we at Metaverse Marcom publish exclusive research about how brands are activating on the Roblox platform. And at the start of each month, we gather data on how many visits branded games have gotten on Roblox during the previous month in order to see what's currently popular on the platform.
-11% Monthly Decrease Across Top 20 Branded Games
When looking at the top 20 branded games combined, overall visits dropped 11% month-over-month. In May, the top 20 games collectively had 135.1 million visits, versus having 120 million in June. This is the second consecutive month of declines, as there were 144.7 million visits back in April.
From a seasonality perspective, this decrease in branded games visits comes as somewhat of a surprise and is worrisome. June is the start of summer break in much of the world, giving kids more time to play Roblox.
So does this decrease in branded games visits mean that less kids were playing Roblox in June? Or does it mean that less kids were playing branded Roblox games in June?
One comparison seems to point to the answer being the latter - less kids playing branded Roblox games in June. At Metaverse Marcom we also track the top overall (non-branded) games such as Adopt Me!, Brookhaven RP, Blox Fruits, Rainbow Friends, Livetopia, Murder Mystery 2, etc. In June, the top 20 games on the platform had 5 .2billion visits collectively, versus 5 billion in May, which is an increase of 3%. So clearly, not all games saw declining visits in June.
Free UGC Still Effective
As we outlined last month, Roblox changed their policy regarding brands giving away free UGC. Now, brands must pay to give away free UGC. We speculated that this change would drive brands to pull away from offering free UGC to entice players to their games due to cost considerations.
Well, it turns out that we were both right and wrong.
Last month we saw games like Vita Coco's take a big dip in monthly visits (-69%), likely driven by them removing their free UGC offering.
But in the same month, we also saw Alo Yoga's game remove its free UGC offering, and visits were up +39% month-over-month.
This potentially points to free UGC having a much bigger impact on the traffic newer branded games like Vita Coco's attract (this game came out only a couple of months ago), and not as much impact on more established games like Alo Yoga's, which came out well over a year ago. Older games have had more time to establish a track record and thereby find success with the Roblox algorithm.
In both the Vita Coco and Alo Yoga examples, those are brands that had existing free UGC available before Roblox instituted its policy change making brands pay to give away free UGC. When Roblox changed its policy, these branded games stopped offering free UGC to players.
But what about brands that have offered new free UGC more recently, in the wake of this policy change?
Let's look at two branded games that recently offered free UGC (which means that they most likely had to pay to give them away) and consequently had solid results last month in June.
NARS Sweet Rush
NARS Sweet Rush, made by the team at Supersocial, is a follow up to the successful NARS Color Quest, which Supersocial released for a limited time last year.
This new NARS game, which was also a limited-time event like its predecessor, has achieved over 8 million visits in this new era of brands having to pay for UGC to give away.
Closer examination of NARS' tactics reveals that they leaned heavily into giving away free UGC. It appears that they have offered at least 12 items including the following: necklace, hair, hat, bag, headband, turtleneck shirt, purse, confetti and sunglasses.
Having played the game and watched several videos about how to claim the free items, it is clear that the tasks required to earn the items were not fast and easy. By making the challenges somewhat hard and time consuming to complete, it appears that NARS was able to naturally limit the amount of free UGC they gave away.
A quick look at TikTok reveals that NARS free UGC content had over 2.5 million TikTok views. That's impressive on its own. It's even more impressive when you consider the value of those views. At a $10 CPM, those 2.5 million views would equal $25,000 worth of media.
These views likely drove significant traffic to the game. And the fact that these videos exist and attracted a lot of views speaks to the popularity of and high interest in the UGC items. As we recently saw with Olivia Rodrigo's UGC release, not every UGC item created strikes a chord with players and gets them excited. So well done to NARS and Supersocial on putting out items that players want and get excited about.
The NHL's branded Roblox game, created by The Gang, saw a surge in traffic (+80% to 4.3 million visits), likely driven by the popularity of its free UGC items, which included an "Icy Glow Aura" (a variation of wings).
TikTok seemed to help players discover these items and drive traffic to Roblox in this case as well. One video alone, which appears to be in Russian, had over 750K views. The fact that the video was not in English highlights the point that Roblox's audience is global. That's a big reason why the platform is most appropriate for brands with a global reach.
Last month's success by NARS and the NHL highlights the fact that offering free UGC, especially items that resonate with the player base, is still super compelling in terms of driving traffic to branded games.
Vans Surpasses 100 Million Visits
I just have to give a quick shout out of congratulations to Vans and The Gang for their branded experience Vans World surpassing 100 million visits.
Vans World was one of the first branded Roblox games to launch on the platform and find significant success, certainly paving the way for other brands to enter the space.
And although Sonic Speed Simulator and My Hello Kitty Cafe have surpassed 100 million visits long ago, it's worth noting this accomplishment, especially given Vans' importance as a trailblazer.
Brands Ranked 11-20
Here are the remaining top-performing brands from this past month:
11. Squishmallows - 3.4 million (+24% MoM)
12. Sunsilk Haircare Tycoon - 2.9 million (-22%)
13. P&G Park - 2.7 million
14. Tommy Hilfiger - 2.7 million (+33%)
15. Beyondland - 2.6 million (+591%)
16. Cartoon Network Game On - 2.4 million (-8%)
17. Pancake Empire Tycoon - 2.4 million (-63%)
18. Coszmo & Friends - 2.4 million (+1330%)
19. Karlie Kloss - 2.2 million (-27%)
20. Sesame Street Mecha Builders - 2.2 million (+101%)
Interested in exploring Roblox as a pathway for marketing and monetization for your brand? Need help developing updated marketing plans that drive not only traffic to your Roblox experience, but also monetization opportunities? If so, email us at email@example.com
Stephen Dypiangco is the CEO of Metaverse Marcom, a strategy and consulting firm helping entertainment and sports brands enter Roblox.