About app-ads.txt & ads.txt Manager
In June 2017, the IAB (The Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab) launched ads.txt, a file enabling web publishers to designate authorized digital sellers of their ad inventory. Ads.txt helped the industry distinguish real supply sources from fake ones, and after its immediate success and adoption, the next logical step was to extend the reach of ads.txt into the mobile app ecosystem. App-ads.txt is the mobile in-app equivalent of this specification, which mobile publishers can implement.
The app-ads.txt file is the version of ads.txt for mobile in-app and OTT advertising, to combat bad actors that disguise themselves as another company’s app in order to siphon the money that advertisers are spending on mobile and OTT advertising. App-ads.txt files are formatted the same as ads.txt files (view IAB FAQ for ads.txt and app-ads.txt).
Thanks to app-ads.txt file, Mobile and OTT app publishers can list the ad tech vendors that are authorized to sell or resell their ad inventory, and programmatic ad buyers can check these lists to make sure that a company claiming to offer an app’s inventory is actually able to sell the app’s inventory.
It is an IAB-approved text file that aims to prevent unauthorized inventory sales. In a fragmented advertising ecosystem, ads.txt serves as a method of improving transparency for demand side platforms. In fact, DSPs aren’t buying web supply that isn’t authorized via ads.txt.
Concretly, publishers drop a text file on their web servers that lists all of the companies that are authorized to sell the publishers’ inventory. Similarly, programmatic platforms also integrate ads.txt files to confirm which publishers’ inventory they are authorized to sell. This allows buyers to check the validity of the inventory they purchase.
This file opens the door for a new level of transparency.