14 august 2019 1 comments reading time: 4 minutes

Google supports app-ads.txt

Google introduces support for app-ads.txt across Google AdMod and Google Ad Manager. Starting 27 August, it will block ad serving of app inventory that is not listed in app-ads.txt. This standard helps to prevent unauthorized or domain-spoofed app inventory from being transacted across mobile, connected TV, and other devices.

What is app-ads.txt? 

Appads.txt is a text file. Mobile app publishers can list the ad tech vendors that are authorized to sell their ad inventory. Ad buyers, programmatic platforms and ad agencies can check these lists. App-ads.txt is an extension of the original ads.txt standard that was first published by the IAB in 2017

Ads.txt against ad fraud

Ad buyers, sellers and publishers could buy low-quality inventory that was intentionally mislabelled as originating from a premium site with its original prices. App-ads.txt makes it harder for bad actors to profit from selling counterfeit inventory across the ecosystem. As publishers list their trusted companies, the programmatic supply chain becomes transparent that allows to exclude unauthorised sellers. 

What is Google’s support?

Google has contributed to the specification of app-ads.txt since the beginning and aims to support the standard. Starting August 27, 2019, they will “begin to block ad serving of unauthorized app inventory in both AdMob and Ad Manager as identified by a publisher’s app-ads.txt file”.

What do you need to do?

Google advises to create an app-ads.txt and publish it to your developer domain you have listed on Google Play and/or App Store. These steps would guarantee that unauthorized app inventory would not hurt your brand or revenue. 

Follow these steps to correctly create app-ads.txt.

  • “Provide a developer website URL in app store listings on Google Play or the App Store.
  • Publish an app-ads.txt file in the root directory of your site (e.g. example.com/app-ads.txt).
  • Include all authorized publisher codes for the networks your app sells through in the file.

Once you finish implementing the app-ads.txt file, we encourage you to carefully review it to ensure that it contains lines in the following format: 

google.com, pub-0000000000000000, DIRECT

As the sample line shows, your app-ads.txt file should include the name of the ad network you are working with (e.g. ‘google.com’) as the domain name and you should replace the publisher ID with your property code.” 

If you choose not to use app-ads.txt, you will see no changes. However, it puts you at risk of inventory spoofing.

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20 october, 10:53
Great article, thank you Anna.
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