- Sell-side platform PubMatic on May 1 will start enforcing IAB Tech Lab's Authorized Sellers for Apps specification, more commonly known as app-ads.txt, to help fight fraud in the in-app advertising ecosystem, per materials shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Apps won't be able to monetize traffic through PubMatic unless authorized by the seller's app-ads.txt file after the deadline. PubMatic is building the technology to enforce the policy and is working with app publishers to support the adoption of the new standard.
- The IAB Tech Lab's OpenRTB working group last week released the final version of the mobile ad standard, an extension of ads.txt, to help prevent digital ad fraud in mobile apps and through over-the-top (OTT) video, per an announcement.
PubMatic’s quick adoption of IAB Tech Lab’s app-ads.txt specification is another sign that the technology is making its way into the mobile advertising marketplace. The app-ads.txt specification is another step toward addressing the need for a transparent media supply chain for automated buying strategies. The specification lets mobile and OTT app publishers indicate which adtech vendors are authorized to sell or resell their ad inventory. Programmatic ad buyers can check these approvals to ensure sellers that claim to offer an app’s inventory are authorized to do so. However, a tool like apps-ads.txt is only effective if it is widely adopted, and IAB Tech Lab has assured publishers and app stores that they could adopt a test version of the technology before releasing the final one last week.
The app-ads.txt specification didn't have any changes in the directions for app publishers during a public comment this year, IAB Tech Lab said in its announcement. The organization still encourages app publishers to follow an advisory when posting their app-ads.txt files. The final version of app-ads.txt 1.0 specification marked an end to the beta testing period. The OpenRTB working group, which consists of more than 400 representatives from dozens of companies in digital media, is now encouraging app publishers, buyers and app stores to implement the guidelines, and remove misrepresented app inventory from the programmatic supply chain, per its announcement.
PubMatic's plan to adopt the apps-ads.txt standard is a positive development in supporting the growth of in-app mobile ads, a key source of revenue for many app developers. App metrics firm AppsFlyer estimated mobile ad fraud grew 30% to between $700 million and $800 million in Q1 2018 from a year earlier. Ad fraud-detection company Pixalate found that 23% of all ad impressions in mobile apps are fraudulent in some way. Juniper Research estimated digital ad fraud will cost at least $19 billion this year, but others said the figure could be three times that, according to a report by BuzzFeed.