What’s the problem?

With Billions of dollars at stake, the digital advertising industry has attracted bad players who are fraudulently siphoning revenue from our industry, costing both publisher and brands dearly.  It is estimated that it could cost the ad business over $16 billion globally in 2017 out of a total $85 billion in spend.  As a result, the industry is looking for ways to deal with this problem and Ads.txt is at the top of the agenda as a way to help resolve this problem.

What is Ads.txt?

Ads.txt is an initiative driven by the IAB Tech Lab that helps publishers declare who is authorized to sell their inventory therefore helping to prevent profit from counterfeit / fraudulent inventory.

The IAB Tech lab state that their mission is to “Increase transparency in the programmatic advertising ecosystem. Ads.txt stands for Authorized Digital Sellers and is a simple, flexible and secure method that publishers and distributors can use to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory.”

The idea is simple; publishers place a file on their server identifying exactly which companies they sell their inventory through.

Why is important to the buyer?

As publishers adopt ads.txt, buyers will be able to more easily identify the Authorized Digital Sellers for a participating publisher, allowing brands to have confidence that they are buying authentic publisher inventory.

Buyers are also trying to reduce layers of intermediaries – they want to feed more money to the publishers and prefer to work with networks like Sovrn that have a direct relationship with the publisher, so you’re in a good place with us.

Sovrn enables its publisher to get access to large buying groups through our simple to use platform that might previously have been unavailable to our content creation partners,  therefore benefiting both the publisher and the buyer.

As of October 2017 many key buyers and buying platforms, including Google’s DBM are making it clear that they will show a preference to publishers with the Ads.txt file installed and the director of programmatic at DigitasLBi said in an open letter “We will be looking to adopt this protocol in our buying as soon as the fourth quarter of 2017, so we encourage your participation as soon as possible.”

“By the end of October, DoubleClick Bid Manager will only buy inventory from sources identified as authorized sellers in a publisher’s ads.txt file when a file is available. Presumably, at some point, ads.txt will be a requirement for DBM.” – March Today

Why is this important to the seller?

Ads.txt gives publishers control over their inventory in the market, making it harder for bad actors to profit from selling counterfeit inventory.  This is clearly a big issues for major brands, but the adoption across the industry as a whole is important as it will deliver an industry standard that we can all work forward with.

What next?

Sovrn fully supports the rollout of Ads.txt and are keen to help our publishers to get up and running immediately.  We encourage all our publisher to install an Ads.txt file ASAP – this link shows you how.  As more sites adopt Ads.txt, buyers will more frequently prefer to buy from sites with the file live, so we recommend you do this sooner rather than later and make sure you include Sovrn as a trusted source.  You should also consider, familiarising yourself with the IAB Tech Labs Ads.txt spec: View Final Ads.txt Spec Version 1.0 Here

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