How The Adoption Of App-Ads.Txt Can Clean Up The In-App Ecosystem

Post on October 14, 2019 by Brittany Lefave

Brittany Lefave Ad Solutions Manager, Australia & New Zealand Ad Solutions

With users continuing to flock to apps, problems with fraud and brand safety in-app are escalating. Pubmatic Ad Solutions Manager, Australia & New Zealand Brittany Lefave, explains how a few changes could help solve some of the problems.


We spend more time than ever before on our phones, with each individual spending over 2.5 hours per day* on their mobile devices in Australia/globally.

A majority of this time is spent In-App, and with more opportunities than ever to show relevant ads to an engaged audience in-app, why do brands still have reservations around advertising in this environment?

One of the biggest concerns we hear at PubMatic is around brand safety along with the lack of measurement and transparency within app environments. These are valid concerns and we are seeing a growing number of advertisers turning to both publishers and Ad Tech providers to help eliminate these concerns. So what are we doing about it?

We at PubMatic are focused on ensuring buyers have the confidence to run across in-app with our fraud-free guarantee and quality focus. We have also been working closely with the IAB who has been hard at work creating an industry-wide solution to help fight ad fraud within the In-App environment known as App-Ads.txt.

This is an extension to Ads.txt which was rolled out in 2018 to give publishers and authorised partners a way to determine legitimate sellers of digital ads across desktop. So what does this mean for publishers and buyers?

What does app-ads.txt mean for publishers?

App-Ads.txt gives publishers the opportunity to publicly declare the companies they authorise to sell their digital inventory. This will help provide transparency to buyers and help publishers take control over their inventory in market making it harder for bad actors to profit from selling counterfeit inventory across the ecosystem. PubMatic will reject any inventory where PubMatic is not listed as an authorised seller according to app.ads.txt.

What does app-ads.txt mean for buyers? 

Buyers can have increased confidence in accessing fraud-free, legitimate inventory on behalf of brands in the In-App environment. As publishers adopt ads.txt, buyers will be able to more easily identify the Authorised Digital Sellers for a participating publisher, providing them the assurance that they are buying authentic publisher inventory.

Other initiatives to combat fraud

Adoption of App-Ads.txt is just one part of the equation. Knowing where your supply has come from is another step in the right direction in achieving greater transparency and brand safety on behalf of advertisers in the digital supply chain.

We’ve seen an increasing trend over the last 12-24 months of advertisers taking the step to work directly with their SSP partners to take more control of their supply. Deciding to work with a consolidated number of SSP partners who have rigorous inventory quality initiatives can make a huge difference in avoiding ad fraud.

As another step towards combating fraud and ensuring brand safety, PubMatic has made a conscious decision to remove all supply paths where unnecessary double hops have been discovered in the supply chain.

This means any inventory not coming from a direct publishing partner or channel partner who have a direct, contractual relationship with the originator of the inventory will be removed from PubMatic’s supply. This is another initiative and commitment to our buyers and Advertisers when it comes to unlocking quality, brand-safe In-App inventory.

Other industry initiatives like SupplyChain object and sellers.json will shine further light onto the supply. As publisher adoption increases we need to focus on educating and up-skilling advertisers on the quality initiatives taking place in our industry so they can take confidence in expanding their in-App presence.

This adoption and education is everyone’s responsibility and we at PubMatic are focused on driving adoption and education across both our publishers and buyers alike.


This post originally appeared on B&T.
*Reference: The State of Mobile 2019