Back-to-back record quarters for brands entering gaming

Q4 2023 and Q1 2024 were the largest quarters on record for new brand activations in gaming and virtual worlds, according to GEEIQ, the leading insights provider for brands in virtual worlds. Charles Hambro, CEO & Co-Founder, offers key findings.

GEEIQ’s Brand Activation Tracker monitors brand and industry activations in over 20 of the biggest gaming platforms and virtual worlds, across

Q1 2024 was the second-highest quarter on record for new brand activations in gaming. Despite a 29% drop in new brand activations compared to the previous, record-holding quarter (Q4 2023), the number of average active users (AAU) in brand-owned experiences on platforms like Roblox grew 26% across the same period.

So, is the period of exponential growth over, or does this signify an increasingly tangible marketing and revenue opportunity for brands?

Here’s what the data is telling us.

1. Q1 2024 saw record levels of engagement in branded virtual experiences. 

While Q1 2024 saw new brand activations across GEEIQ-tracked platforms decline by 29%, it remains the second highest quarter on record for brand investment in gaming environments. 

In fact, Roblox’s Average Active Users (AAU) within its brand-owned experiences increased by 26% across the same period. Audience size and engagement within these spaces is increasing.

2.Q4 is traditionally a quarter of heavier media investment. 

Many of the +200 new virtual brand activations in Q4 2023 were centred around the holiday season. 

No different to any other media channel, marketing budgets and advertising investment in the run-up to December increases. In the UK, a record £9.5bn ad spend was predicted during this period. 

Even with a 29% decline in new virtual brand activations in Q1 2024 when compared to the Q4 2023, the data continues to show consistent levels of growth. New brand activations grew 65% in Q1 2024 when compared to Q1 2023, with each first quarter since 2019 seeing considerably more brand activity than the previous year.

3. Some platforms continued to welcome a rise in new brand activations. 

Platforms like Minecraft, which have in recent years seen less brand investment than the likes of Roblox and Fortnite, continued to see an increase in new brand activations from Q4 2023 to Q1 2024. 

For example, the number of new brand activations on Minecraft increased 60% in Q1 of this year, compared to Q4 2023, marking the highest number of brand activations in Minecraft since Q1 2021.

Key takeaways

What we’re seeing at GEEIQ is gaming platforms and virtual worlds becoming an integral tool in the brand marketer’s kit, and they’re beginning to experience the same fluctuations that other paid media channels do. 

When it was declared in 2023 that ‘the metaverse is dead’, GEEIQ data showed that while the ‘hype’ was very much over, the brand opportunity in these platforms was definitely not. The audiences that brands command in these spaces continue to scale and become more engaged.

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