What is App-Ads.txt?

Posted by Hannah Jeon on Dec 10, 2018 10:01:00 AM

If your company uses digital and mobile programmatic advertising technology or service, there's a chance you may have heard of Ads.txt. But, just what is it, and why should it matter for your business?


How does Ads.txt work?

Ads.txt stands for Authorized Digital Sellers and is a simple, flexible and secure method that publishers and distributors can use to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory according to IAB Tech Lab. It is an anti-fraud measure that has gained widespread adoption in the recent pasty, helping publishers and distributors to minimize the unauthorized rebrokering of ad inventory, reduce the risk of ad fraud and provide brand safe inventory.


The excellent result of the Ads.txt adoption across web domains has helped businesses avoid spending money on things like spoofed domains or counterfeit media. In fact, since its launch, the adoption of ads.txt has soared, and according to Pixalate's most recent figures, 72.5% of the most popular 5,000 websites worldwide selling programmatic ads now utilize it. Also, ads.txt has been effective at helping decrease fraudulent activity across the web. A recent study showed that sites with Ads.txt had a 10% lower rate rate of invalid traffic (IVT) than those without it. Advertisers on Pocketmath have benefited from the adoption of Ads.txt as the platform also uses the list to perform inventory curation regularly.


However, despite the success of Ads.txt for web domains, the irony is that ads.txt is missing from mobile apps. The current ads.txt is only for desktop and mobile web, but it does not take into account in-app ads.


App-Ads.txt or Ads.txt for Mobile app

Luckily, though, Authorized Sellers for Apps (app-ads.txt) is in the works. IAB Tech Lab introduced the draft version of ads.txt for mobile in-app ads in June 2018. It initially faced some obstacles, including the fact that not all app stores (including Google's) wanted to support Ads.txt for mobile apps, making its enforcement and implementation complicated. Also, there is no system developed (yet) for ad buyers to use to identify which app store they should get the right ads.txt information from. These challenges make rolling out and using app-ads.txt hard.


Despite the potential challenges, the Tech Lab released a beta of its Authorized Sellers for Apps (app-ads.txt) specification on November 30 2018, based on feedback to the mobile spec unveiled in June, 2018. The newest spec will be available for public comment through February 4 next year.


We look forward to seeing Ads.txt extended to mobile apps. It will be a great help to eliminate inventory fraud ensuring a safe mobile app advertising environment. Pocketmath is ready to support the adoption and encourage the industry and our exchange partners to help us advocate for this next crucial step in ensuring marketplace quality.




There are multiple benefits that can come from the collaboration, and at the end of the day, whether you're selling or buying ads on the web, or whether you're selling or buying in-app, ads.txt is a win-win that can only make digital and mobile advertising better, safer, and more effective.



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