Ads.txt Publishers Appear to be Winning Despite Heavy Financial Pounding

Brian Blondy, December 14, 2017

Publishers are estimated to be losing in upwards of $1.3B a year as a result of third party sellers fraudulently impersonating publisher inventory on global ad exchanges according to new study published by Google.

Google believes that certain nefarious actors are submitting in upwards of 700M false ad requests per day, which as a result causes publishers to lose significant amounts of revenue every day.  The December 12 report states that publishers are losing up to $3.5M per day based on a $5 video CPM evaluation.

The report was composed in concert with notable publishers such as Business Insider, The New York Times, The Washington Post in addition to AdTech specialists Amobee and Quantcast.

The act of counterfeiting impressions occurs most frequently when a seller switches the URL of a high-quality site with that of a low-quality publisher or when the seller produces fake impressions and then repackages them with the URL of a high-traffic publisher.  In either of the aforementioned scenarios the seller then presents the fake inventory to the world’s ad exchanges and supply-side platforms (SSPs), obviously without the premium publisher’s knowledge, with the intent to fool advertisers into thinking that they are buying premium inventory.

Despite the heavy financial pounding publishers have taken, Google believes that Ads.txt is just the solution in order to fight back against the unchecked fraud that has taken place.  Within the study the authors managed to identify roughly 1000 accounts in more than 24 marketplaces offering counterfeit advertising inventory.  As a result, the accounts were terminated, thus reducing available inventory and raising prices for authorized advertising buys.

Throughout 2017, Google has promoted Ads.txt as the best means for ensuring transparency and increasing brand safety for publishers and advertisers. In short, Ads.txt works by allowing publishers put a file on their server that says exactly which companies they sell their inventory through.  The file lists partners by name, but also includes the publisher’s account ID.  This is the same ID buyers see in a bid request, which they can use as a key for campaign targeting. Buyers use a web crawler to download all the ads.txt files and the information contained within on a regular basis and use it to target their campaigns.   This means buyers know that if they bid on request that comes from an authorized ID, it’s coming from a source the publisher trusts or has control over.

As of early December 2017, nearly 50% of the world’s top 2,000 websites have already added Ads.txt onto their websites.

 

At Total Media, we have already have an abundance of experience working with premium publishers seeking to maximize their ROI with Ads.txt.  If you would like assistance with Ads.txt, we can help you with everything along the way in addition to providing you with the finest consultation. If you would like assistance with Ads.txt you can reach us here or if you would like to join Total Media’s monetization program for premium publishers click here.

Brian Blondy is the Marketing Manager at Total Media.  You can contact Brian by email at [email protected] or on LinkedIn