Given the significant amounts of fraud still spread across the digital video ad ecosystem, specifically in the programmatic and CTV segments, it’s crucial to uphold the key ad standards in order to foster supply chain transparency.
Even though the global effort to fight online video ad fraud (not just the IVT and SIVT, but the more complex schemes, too) has been increasingly successful over the past years, the case of ViperBot only proves that the challenge is still on.
In this respect, the implementation of ad verification tech solutions is, obviously, significant in order to ensure online video ad measurement authenticity. At the same time, as the experts admit, upholding the key video ad standards, like ads.txt is what can definitely improve the transparency of the programmatic supply chain and help verify ownership of the publishers’ inventory.
Recent Upgrades to (App)Ads.txt
While the global adoption of (app)ads.txt has reached exceptional levels, there’s always room for improvement. Namely, many businesses in the online ad niche have been looking forward to the launch of the ads.txt update, which would include the CTV inventory verification, as well as the better cross-referencing capabilities with sellers.json.
Well, the good news is, both are already here.
Namely, back in March 2022, the IAB Tech Lab has added the ability to designate a third-party domain (aside from the publisher’s proprietary website/app) to validate the publisher ID, i.e. through the newly-introduced INVENTORYPARTNERDOMAIN variable in the ads.txt // app-ads.txt. This new variable is specifically aimed at verifying the inventory ownership on video streaming services (also known as vMVPD), pointing at the website/app partner domain, which [partially] owns this website/app ad inventory, if needed.
More importantly, in April 2022 the IAB Tech Lab also released ads.txt 1.1 for public comment, introducing the new field/s: OWNERDOMAIN // MANAGERDOMAIN.
This particular update is aimed at providing digital businesses with more transparency on the inventory sellers’ identity by simplifying the cross-reference of sellers’ domains and publishers’ identities in sellers.json.
How it works?
The OWNERDOMAIN variable points to the fact that a specific domain is the inventory owner of the website/app (e.g. example.com is the owner of example1.com, exampleb.com, etc.), and is recommended for adding even if the OWNERDOMAIN value is exactly the same as the domain, where the ads.txt file is being hosted (i.e. OWNERDOMAIN=example.com).
Note! The OWNERDOMAIN value should match as the seller_domain value in all of the Publisher’s entries in a corresponding sellers.json file.
As for the MANAGERDOMAIN variable, it’s optional and is utilized to declare the publishers’ exclusive monetization partners in a specific geographical region.
Note! Even though there may be several MANAGERDOMAIN values included in the ads.txt file, there can be only one MANAGERDOMAIN value declared per one geo. If no geo is listed for a MANAGERDOMAIN variable, the default, global value will be applied, but this will be overridden by other entries with specific country extensions, if any.
OWNERDOMAIN=example.com MANAGERDOMAIN=examplemediamanager.com, FRA exampleadexchange1.com, 12345, DIRECT …
Countdown to the Official SHARC Release
Even though the talks around the new Secure HTML Ad Rich-media Container (SHARC) standard have been circling around for quite some time now, it hasn’t been until the beginning of Q2 2022, when its first draft has been published for the first time.
In brief, the new standard basically introduces the so-to-speak “safe container API”, which should enable the interactive ad serving in a secure iFrame that would prevent the ad itself from getting access to the sensitive data, in any HTML-enabled environment (desktop & mobile web, mobile apps, etc.).
The first SHARC draft is still raw to comment on in many details, but we should definitely stay tuned for its updates in the months to come in Q3 – Q4 2022.