On March 13, 2019, Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab (IAB Tech Lab) released the final version of the app-ads.txt specifications. It intends to combat elements that disguise themselves as other company’s app in order to siphon the money that advertisers are spending on mobile and OTT advertising.
What is app-ads.txt?
app-ads.txt is a text file that app publishers upload to their website, which lists the ad sources authorized to sell that publisher's inventory.
How does all this work?
A DSP* looking to bid on app inventory scans the app-ads.txt file on a publisher's website to verify which ad sources are authorized to sell that app’s inventory. The DSP will only accept bid requests from ad sources listed on the file and authorized by the app publisher.
Benefits of correctly setting up the app-ads.txt file.
Capturing revenue from Brand spends:
The expectation is that DSPs that adhere to app-ads.txt won’t purchase inventory missing the app-ads.txt file. Developers who don’t implement app-ads.txt are likely to be removed from DSPs’ pool of targeted media.
Fighting Ad Fraud:
Bad actors may forge apps that impersonate legitimate apps and mislead DSPs to spend brand budgets on their forged inventory. Legitimate developers end up losing out on ad revenue that was originally intended for them. App-ads.txt blocks unauthorized publisher impersonations and minimizes instances of fraud that ultimately hurt publishers.
How to create and host the app-ads.txt?
Step 1: Reach out to all your ad sources
Contact your ad sources and ask them for their app-ads.txt line, according to the structure provided by IAB below.
AdSourceDomain, YourPublisherID, TypeOfRelationship, AdsourceID
Example: spotx.tv, 123456, DIRECT, 7842df1d2fe2db34
Create a text file and name it app-ads.txt and add this line in that file. If you have multiple ad sources, add each source in a different line.
Step 2: Host the freshly created app-ads.txt file on your website
Place the file in the root directory of your website. This will allow the web crawlers to view your app-ads.txt file and verify it.
The file should be accessible at yourwebsite/app-ads.txt
How to get my website linked with my MAZ app?
Once you have hosted your app-ads.txt file on your website, you can provide us with your website URL in the channel setup for each app platform.
MAZ Dashboard >> Content >> Channels >> Channel Setup
And that's it! We will take care of the rest. We will place the URL on the app stores, from where the web crawlers can check out your app-ads.txt file and tell your DSPs that your app is legitimate.
Learn more about app-ads.text specification here.
*DSP: Demand Side Platform is a system for advertisers to purchase and manage ad inventories from multiple ad sources through a single interface. This is normally done using intelligent software which bids on the inventories using an auction process. This makes the buying and selling of ads cheaper and more reliable.