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Why Ads.Txt for mobile in-app is more important than ever

November 1, 2018
Brian Stempeck
Chief Strategy Officer & Director

A year ago, The Trade Desk announced our decision to join Ads.txt, the industry-wide effort to improve marketplace quality. As publishers post the ads.txt files on their web servers, buyers can verify that the source of those impressions are indeed authorized sellers.

And so far in 2018, the success of the ads.txt initiative has been undeniable. Ads.txt adoption has already increased by 5.4X over the first half of the year with 73% of the top 5000 programmatic web domains participating. Not to mention, according to recent reports from AdExchanger, the publishers who have failed to adopt this initiative are actually losing money. As advertisers give preferential treatment to DSPs that block unauthorized impressions across the web, like The Trade Desk, publishers that have failed to adopt the initiative are being left behind.

So, today, considering the success of ads.txt across web domains, we’d like to encourage the industry to help us advocate for the next step in ensuring marketplace quality: ads.txt adoption for mobile in-app.

As we know, fraud generally tends to hide and thrive in those corners of the industry that are left dark and untended. And when our industry came together last year to shine light on and stop fraudulent inventory across the web, one key corner of the digital advertising ecosystem was left behind – mobile in-app.

But especially with mobile driving the majority of ad spend growth worldwide, ads.txt implementation is equally crucial across mobile devices. While the current ads.txt initiative protects the advertising ecosystem from fraudulent impressions across the mobile web, it does not yet account for mobile in-app inventory.

That will change in the very near future, as the IAB will soon release documentation on how to implement ads.txt for mobile in-app. We need our industry partners across the advertising supply chain to act decisively in support of this cause. With the successful widespread adoption of ads.txt for the web over the past year, there is no question that we, as an industry, can achieve the same feat for mobile in-app. It’s just a matter of industry-wide players coming together to do their part.

At the end of the day whether across the web or in an app, ads.txt is a win-win for all those involved. It ensures verified publishers are able to monetize their inventory, protecting them from attempts at domain-spoofing along the way. It allows advertisers to buy ad inventory confidently, without paying for fraud. Best of all, it’s an easily-implemented solution that enforces a more transparent, more productive marketplace.