Ads.Txt: A Crucial Stepping Stone To Trust & Transparency In Digital

A little over a year ago P&G’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard took the stage at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting and urged brands to demand transparency from the digital advertising industry. This was a pivotal moment in our space — the elephants in the room had been addressed, and in a very big way. Pritchard went on to highlight issues of ad fraud, called out the unethical practice of agency kickbacks, and denounced the Duopoly’s black-box methods of operation. By the end of his speech the tone had been set for the rest of 2017. Six months later the IAB Tech Lab responded with the launch of Ads.txt.

According to the IAB, Ads.txt “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.” Publishers use a simple text file on their web servers that lists partners they’ve authorized to sell their inventory. Programmatic platforms also use Ads.txt to inform their media buyers of the publishers that have authorized them to sell their inventory. This system enables buyers to verify if they’ve purchased inventory from an authorized, trusted source in a simple way that help eliminates fraud and the ‘ad tech tax’ of arbitraged inventory in order to stretch a brand’s advertising dollars further and, in turn, provide increased Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

At ViralGains, we understand and prioritize the value of transparency, trust, and driving business outcomes for a brand across the digital spectrum, and have therefore enthusiastically chosen to support the IAB’s initiative through adoption of Ads.txt. While we’ve always been committed to buying brand-safe, fraud-free inventory through our programmatic pre-bid solution, with Ads.txt we can provide an added layer of fraud protection for all of our advertisers and ensure that media dollars are maximized by avoiding arbitraged inventory.

ViralGains works with the most well respected advertising exchanges in the world, including AppNexus, SpotX, and FreeWheel. It is through these exchanges and their direct publisher relationships that we’re able to implement Ads.txt while providing extensive reach, content variety, and audience engagement across desktop and mobile.

In order to increase trust and transparency, we as an industry must support initiatives like Ads.txt. ViralGains has taken the added step of working with industry inventory supply leaders like AppNexus who, for example, has a publisher set that has aggressively adopted Ads.txt and has helped AppNexus hit a 75% adoption rate. According to eMarketer, in the last six months alone the globe has seen a 500 percent  increase in Ads.txt adoption—from 8.5 percent to 51 percent—and although there is still more work to be done, Ads.txt is a crucial driver in creating confidence and accountability within our space. Together, we can build a better digital ecosystem for consumers, brands, and publishers alike.

Learn more about the work we’re doing to create a healthier ad industry on our Platform page.

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