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Roblox Breaks Into Programmatic

Ashley McCollum, head of immersive media solutions for Roblox

When new companies enter the digital advertising market, the most important thing is to remain humble.

That adage holds true even for Roblox, one of the biggest online gaming platforms in the world with more than 71 million daily users.

Roblox has taken a slow approach to digital advertising. But today it’s taking a considerable step forward, says Ashley McCollum, head of immersive media solutions for Roblox.

On this week’s episode of AdExchanger Talks, McCollum announces that Roblox’s video ad platform is open to programmatic demand. Buyers can now place programmatic video ads on virtual billboards in Roblox’s immersive environments without any larger commitments to the platform.

McCollum also announces a partnership with Integral Ad Science to measure viewability and invalid traffic in Roblox’s 3D game worlds, plus a brand lift measurement partnership with Kantar Context Lab.

All of these updates – alongside a recently announced partnership with PubMatic, which serves as the foundation for Roblox’s programmatic video ad platform – were inspired by feedback from agencies and advertisers, says McCollum.

But enabling video ads in a way that catered to programmatic buyers couldn’t have happened overnight, McCollum says. When Roblox began building its ad platform, it wanted to do so in a way that played to its strengths.

That meant starting with Roblox’s bread and butter: those immersive, metaverse-like environments that Roblox has been helping brands build for years now. Developing these virtual worlds was a way for Roblox to test the waters on advertising demand for its platform.

While the hype around metaverse marketing has died down, she says those early activations proved valuable for striking up partnerships with brands and agencies, a crucial first step for the rest of Roblox’s ad platform to come to fruition.

Also in this episode: McCollum teases Roblox’s commerce ambitions and the growing pains for an established media property adding programmatic. She also explains how the increasingly complicated regulatory landscape for digital advertising informs how Roblox will build its platform – and why it won’t serve ads to audiences under 13.

For more articles featuring Ashley McCollum, click here.

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