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IAB Transparency Tools

A Guide to IAB’s New Supply Chain Transparency Tools

Posted Oct 23, 2019

In 2018, digital advertisers lost $35 billion to digital ad fraud, or $51 million a day. This year that number is expected to jump to $42 billion, due to new, sophisticated techniques by fraudsters. Another reason is advertisers, particularly small and mid-size brands, are not adopting anti-fraud solutions like ads.txt and openRTB 3.0 spec.

Because our industry is so vulnerable to fraud – in forms old and new – it’s more important than ever to take advantage of new technical specifications that organizations like the IAB are working hard to create. The only way we can, as a whole, increase the level of trust in the supply chain (specifically in RTB and programmatic) is if everyone adopts these methods as they are released. 

Fortunately for mobile publishers, there is absolutely nothing you need to do! It’s all on everyone else. Sellers.json and SupplyChain are specifications to be implemented by advertising systems: DSPs, SSPs/exchanges and ad servers. You don’t need to provide a SupplyChain object via tags that are not sent on behalf of intermediaries.

Open RTB

However, you as a mobile publisher must be using app-ads.txt in order for these to be effective. These new initiatives are meant to be used in tandem, and in addition to the ads.txt authorized sellers. If you haven’t yet started with that, follow our easy guide for app-ads.txt implementation.

Our own head of strategy and business development Matt Barash shared his thoughts on app-ads.text and the importance of supply chain transparency with App Developer Magazine.

When app-ads.txt is in place, the addition of these two files adds an extra layer of transparency:

  • Sellers.json enables buyers to verify the entities who are selling, directly or indirectly, the inventory they wish to purchase. 
  • OpenRTB SupplyChain allows buyers to see all parties who are selling or reselling a given bid request, using a chain of nodes from beginning to end that represent each party.

Guide for SSPs/exchanges, DSPs and Ad Servers

  1. Post your sellers.json (JavaScript Object Notation) file on your root domain and any subdomains as needed. at the following location:
  2. Upgrade your OpenRTB integrations (on versions 2.x or 3.0) to include support for the SupplyChain object.

Quick tip: If you’re none of the above and are simply a direct buyer, your job is simple: Target inventory sold through authorized (ads.txt and app-ads.txt) channels, to ensure that you always know you’re buying valid inventory. You can verify identifiers within sellers.json files and review SupplyChain object for full confidence in your spend.

Questions? Check the IAB’s FAQ documentation to address possible issues.

Join the Conversation
Are you an early adopter of these two new IAB initiatives? Or have you already experienced the many benefits of app-ads.txt? Tweet us at @AdColony. For the latest AdColony mobile news and updates, follow @AdColony on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or connect on Linkedin.

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