How to Implement app-ads.txt

Aug 28, 2019
By: Jonathan Harrop

Earlier this year, IAB Tech Lab released the specification for app-ads.txt, a text file that a developer can upload to their website that lists the ad sources authorized to sell that app’s inventory. Anyone paying attention to the ads.txt standard shouldn’t have been surprised.

App publishers who adopt this file can better control their inventory in the market, making it harder for malicious intermediaries to profit from selling fraudulent inventory across the app ecosystem. Additionally, this allows programmatic ad buyers to confirm buyers to know who is authorized to buy and sell specific in-app ad inventory, and who isn’t.

While developers are slowly moving toward implementation, Digital Turbine is encouraging our partners to adopt this file and join us in combating ad fraud. We’ve created an easy guide to help you implement app-ads.txt.

  • Update your developer website.
    If not done already, make sure that the “developer website” field is up to date in the stores hosting your apps. These websites will be used by the advertising systems to retrieve the app-ads.txt file.
  • Create your app-ads.txt file.
    The contents of the app-ads.txt file follow the same rules as ads.txt for the web with the only exception of subdomain directive. Reach out to your account manager to get your publisher ID to indicate that Digital Turbine (or AdColony and Fyber) is an approved vendor.
  • Upload the file. Make sure that the file is named “app-ads.txt” and is uploaded to your developer website. Please see the app-ads.txt spec for full details on where this file should be located.

Quick tip: App developers who want to partition the authorized sellers between individual apps must use separate developer domains/subdomains. The standard provides no provisions for indicating that an individual seller is only authorized for a subset of apps within an individual app-ads.txt file on that linked domain.

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies. The IAB develops technical standards and best practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing.

By Jonathan Harrop
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