The news: Changes to advertising rules on Roblox are throwing the platform’s advertising potential into question. In response to an FTC complaint last August, Roblox recently updated its rulebook with significant changes to its advertising policies, including an explicit ban on advertising to users under 13.
Roblox has posted a guide to help parse the new rules, recommending advertisers ask themselves questions like “Do you consider or intend for the content to be advertising?” Other unhelpful questions include:
A tough sell: While the above rules are intended for all users who advertise on Roblox—not just big brands—they present obvious problems for any brand trying to partner with the platform. Some brands will consider losing access to that younger demographic bad enough, but what’s worse is that current and planned activations have now been thrown into question.
Rough goings for the metaverse: Roblox’s advertising shakeup is especially notable because it and competitor Fortnite are the only two metaverse platforms to have attracted significant brand attention.
Our take: The metaverse has always been a tough sell for advertisers because of technological barriers and steep costs. Those problems hurt even more now in a high-interest rate environment and are compounded as the two primary metaverse platforms’ young audiences create murky legal situations.