Nearly half of advertisers suspicious of publishers not using ads.txt, study finds
- Nearly two out of three advertisers think ads.txt is a step in the right direction in reducing ad fraud, according to a new study by Oath made available to Marketing Dive.
- More than 50% of advertisers said ads.txt makes them more comfortable with programmatic ad buys, and 48% said they're suspicious of publishers that don’t use ads.txt. One-third said they would only advertise with publishers using ads.txt.
- About 20% of advertisers have never heard of ads.txt, the study found. Sixty-three percent said they wanted to learn more about ads.txt, and 56% think ads.txt will become more important over the next few months.
The findings show positive signs for ads.txt, a technology solution developed by IAB Tech Lab that initially saw sluggish adoption when it launched almost a year ago despite being backed by a number of industry players and trade groups as a solid means for combating online ad fraud. Oath reported 60% of the top U.S. publishers have implemented ads.txt, while a MediaRadar study from December found just 20% of publishers had done so, suggesting adoption has accelerated over the past several months. Advertisers growing increasingly suspicious of publishers that hold out could spur further adoption and awareness.
This trend emerges as Google and other major companies are embracing ads.txt and showing successful results. Google began blocking purchases of unauthorized inventory identified by ads.txt in November, which caused the average price of digital advertising sold through its ad platform to increase. At the time, that increase signaled that ad fraud was on the decline because ads.txt was likely reducing counterfeit and unauthorized programmatic impressions.
Still, online ad fraud continues to cause major problems in the digital marketing space, and marketers need to be more proactive about recognizing the scale of the issue and implementing concrete solutions. Three-quarters of companies reported being exposed to brand safety issues over the past year, but only 26% have taken an action to remedy the situation such as moving toward programmatic buys with publishers that use ads.txt, according to research from GumGum and Custom released in January.