Google wants to encourage publishers to create an app-ads.txt file and publish it to the developer domain in App Store and/or Google Play store listings. This will help app publishers prevent their inventory from being spoofed by bad actors while ensuring advertiser spend reaches the intended audience.
What is app-ads.txt?
App-ads.txt is a standard released by the IAB Tech Lab that helps prevent unauthorized or domain-spoofed app inventory from being transacted across mobile, connected TV, and other devices. It defines a simple method for app publishers to publicly declare who is authorized to sell or resell their digital advertising inventory. App-ads.txt is an extension of the original ads.txt standard that was first published by the IAB in 2017. The ads.txt standard is one of the most successful industry standards and is now widely adopted by web publishers.
Google’s support for IAB Tech Lab’s app-ads.txt
“We’ve actively contributed to the specification of app-ads.txt since the beginning and will support the standard across all relevant products including AdMob and Ad Manager. Starting August 27, 2019, we 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.
We strongly encourage you to create an app-ads.txt file and publish it to the developer domain you have listed in your App Store and/or Google Play store listing. This will help prevent unauthorized and domain-spoofed app inventory from damaging your brand and revenue. Publishers who do not implement an app-ads.txt file will see no changes to their ad serving, but they will not benefit from these added spoofing protections,” Google mentioned on its official blog post.
To help advertisers verify correct file implementation, Google is currently rolling out verifications and warnings in the user interface for both AdMob and Ad Manager when errors are detected. The warnings will appear if Google detects your publisher ID is missing from your app-ads.txt file.