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Where’s ads.txt at? | Digital Advertising Update

Where’s ads.txt at? | Digital Advertising Update

Today, we want to have a quick look at where
ads.txt is close to one year after its introduction. ads.txt was released to positive acclaim in
early 2017 as a tool to counter ad fraud and further transparency in the programmatic ad
space. But how did the industry adopt ads.txt? Did ads.txt actually meet its goals? Is programmatic ad fraud over? This is what this episode is about. ads.txt is an initiative that was conceived
by IAB tech lab to further transparency in the murky space of programmatic ad buying
and selling, specifically to counter arbitraging inventory and domain spoofing. ads.txt is basically a public list of authorized
sellers or resellers of ad inventory, that can be leveraged to remove shady or downright
illegitimate actors from the exchanges. We don’t want to go into the details here,
but do check out the links in the description if you want to catch up on the specifics. So, where are we at with ads.txt? After the release of the specification in
May 2017 the adoption rate was very slow. This was actually surprising, because ads.txt
is not hard to implement and the benefits of wide adoption should be obvious to all
players in the programmatic space. Also, the initial industry reaction to ads.txt
had been very positive. But still, for some reason adoption rates
didn’t seem to take off. Even premium publishers, who have every reason
to protect their inventory against domain spoofing, were slow to get on board. By September of 2017 the overwhelming majority
of publishers still did not offer ads.txt. Adoption only seemed to gain traction in the
third quarter of 2017 after Google started to push the implementation by advocating for
ads.txt through various channels, including a number of changes to its popular Double Click
manager. Double Click stops short of actually blacklisting
inventory without ads.txt, but in cases where ads.txt is implemented, inventory now cannot
be traded without positive authorization via ads.txt. As you would expect, the rest of the programmatic
ecosystem did not miss Google’s message, and started to follow the lead. For instance, AppNexus’ DSPs will also disable
inventory transactions that aren’t cleared by ads.txt from January 24th 2018 on. In conclusion: At the end of 2017, ads.txt
had an adoption rate of more than 50% and very strong momentum. After the slow start in early 2017, the adoption
rates exploded during Q3 and Q4, and several major advertisers announced that they would
insist on ads.txt when buying programmatically. It looks like ads.txt is finally on track. However, the wide adoption of ads.txt does
not mean that programmatic ad fraud is over. Advertisers still have to monitor their campaigns
closely for signs of fraudulent activity. This is especially important for programmatic
video, which is the prime fraud target because of rising spend and comparably limited inventory. If you have questions regarding fraud prevention
– do get in touch, we’d be happy to help. And that’s it for today. Subscribe to this channel, follow us on linkedin
or twitter. Our website is admetrics.io. Until next time, take care.

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