- Google introduced support for app-ads.txt, the IAB Tech Lab's anti-fraud system for app publishers, on its Ad Manager and AdMob mobile ad network, per a company blog post. Starting on Aug. 27, the platforms will block unauthorized app inventory as identified by a publisher's app-ads.txt file.
- Google said it strongly urges publishers and app developers to create an app-ads.txt file and publish it to the developer domain in their App Store or Google Play store listings. "This will help prevent unauthorized and domain-spoofed app inventory from damaging your brand and revenue," per Google's blog.
- The company provided a series to steps to ensure compliance with its support for app-ads.txt. The standard helps to prevent unauthorized or domain-spoofed app inventory from being sold among mobile, connected TV and other devices.
Google's support for the app-ads.txt standard is a major step in stomping out mobile ad fraud, given the company's prominence in digital advertising. Global losses to digital ad fraud — including desktop and mobile platforms — vary anywhere from $5.8 billion to $42 billion, depending on the research methods used. Programmatic ad buying, which relies on software to buy and sell ad placements, has given marketers greater flexibility in their digital media buys. Unfortunately, it's also given rise to sophisticated fraudsters who continually seek to exploit weaknesses in the ad delivery chain.
App-ads.txt is designed to prevent fraudulent ad activity on apps that consumers download for their connected devices, including mobile phones and smart TVs. App publishers post a public text file that lists which ad exchanges are permitted to sell their inventory. Programmatic media buyers can scan the files to ensure they're buying from a legitimate publisher. App-ads.txt, also known as Authorized Sellers for Apps specification, is an extension of IAB Tech Lab's ads.txt standard for websites.
"The ads.txt standard is one of the most successful industry standards and is now widely adopted by web publishers," according to Google.
Google's blog post about implementing app-ads.txt on Ad Manager and AdMob follows a separate announcement to include the anti-fraud standard to its demand-side platform (DSP), Display & Video 360 (DV360). Google in April said it would make ads.txt and app-ads.txt the default setting for all new web campaigns created with the platform starting in August. It also introduced Brand Controls to give DV360 users a single view of brand suitability settings, campaigns using ads.txt-only authorized sellers and verification services among all campaigns.
Google is the latest company to announced support for app-ads.txt. Sell-side platform PubMatic this year started enforcing the standard to help fight fraud in the in-app advertising ecosystem. Ad-tech firm Centro last month announced it will enforce app-ads.txt in Basis, the company's DSP. Cross-promotion platform Tappx in April started offering free hosting of app-ads.txt files for app publishers that didn't have a website. Tappx said fewer than 1% of apps had set up app-ads.txt correctly, Martech Today reported, suggesting that marketers and developers still struggle to adopt the new specifications.