Last year, IAB Tech Labs released Ads.txt as an industry benchmark in its fight against dishonorable web inventory and positively impact monetization. Publishers across the world adopted this standard to authenticate digital suppliers and they benefitted immensely from its many advantages.
With Apps-Ads.Txt, app publishers will also have a similar control over their inventory, making it harder for bad players in the industry to profit from selling counterfeit inventory across the app ecosystem.
One of the focal aim of App-Ads.Txt is to prevent various types of forged in-app inventory across the digital ecosystem by maintaining transparency in the programmatic supply chain. In our ecosystem, publishers and advertisers are usually not in direct contact with each other, thereby leading to unchecked activity.
When a brand advertiser buys in-app media programmatically, they rely on the fact that the ad slots they purchased were legitimately sold by those publishers. However, the problem remains that there was no way for the brand to confirm who is responsible for selling those impressions and there are many different scenarios when the URL passed may not be an accurate representation of what the impression actually is or who the supplier is. Counterfeit inventory comes in many forms including:
Selling invalid traffic (automated non-human or incentivised/misled human traffic) by hiding it in real traffic
Attracting higher prices by mislabeling inventory as brand inventory
Bypassing content or app backlists or capturing advertising spend restricted to whitelisted apps, among others.
Counterfeit inventory comes in many forms but it typically results in real media spend not reaching legitimate and deserving publishers. App-Ads.txt will help app publishers reclaim control of their media, brand, and rate card. This means an advertiser’s true spend can get to the app owner through their approved sales channels, and not be wasted on counterfeit inventory.
Buying platforms (e.g. DSP’s) can crawl the web to acquire the Authorized Digital Sellers list for every domain. This list will identify the SSP that the domain is authorized to be sold on, and the Publisher ID on each exchange that is explicitly authorized to sell the domain. Additionally, ads.txt enables the buyer to determine if the Publisher ID that they are buying the domain from is owned and operated by the publisher, and if it is an authorized seller.