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What’s app-ads.txt got to do with it?

by Jimmy Schmidt on Oct 18, 2019

We’ve got a product update for our developers which helps increase transparency, and ultimately further prevents fraud by adding a simple way to verify your app. 

What is app-ads.txt?

App-ads.txt is a way for app developers to verify to advertisers that they own the app where an ad request is originating from, thus preventing in-app advertising fraud. 

Developers host this file on the root domain of their website, which is linked from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. When an ad request with an app is sent out, an advertiser can check the app marketplace page for the app, find the corresponding app-ads.txt file, and verify that the developer ID included in the ad request matches the corresponding ID in the app-ads.txt file. 

This prevents malicious actors from faking ad requests under the guise of an app because the developer ID in their ad request will not match the developer ID included in the app-ads.txt file. You can read more about it from Interactive Advertising Bureau here

App-ads.txt and AppLovin

While app-ads.txt is not a requirement for AppLovin customers, many of our partners have adopted it, so adding it can help improve your eCPMs. If you don’t implement app-ads.txt, it may hurt your eCPMs because there will be fewer advertisers willing to pay you for ads.

According to Ad Exchanger adoption is growing for both demand-side and supply-side platforms: “Demand-side platforms and exchanges are beginning to enforce App-ads.txt, and sell-side players are cautioning their publishers that ignoring the spec could result in a revenue hit.” 

Tips for implementing app-ads.txt:

  • Don’t add any code to your file from a company that you don’t directly work with. 
  • For example: A company, DemandCorp claims to buy your inventory via an exchange, AdExchange that you work directly with. If DemandCorp approaches you to add their line(s) to your app-ads.txt file, you should ask them to work with AdExchange to have these lines included in AdExchange’s recommendations. DemandCorp may be illegitimately pretending to be your app (degrading your brand), or trying to show that they have access to a high percentage of apps to impress advertisers/investors when in reality they are insignificant to you.
  • If you don’t have your own website, there are services out there to host these files for you. Please note that AppLovin has not vetted these options, so please use at your own discretion. 
  • Excluding certain companies on your app-ads.txt will not explicitly block them from buying your inventory, but it may stop them from wanting to buy from you. 

Where can I get the lines I should add to my app-ads.txt file for AppLovin?

For more information on app-ads.txt from AppLovin, and to learn how to add your app-ads.txt files, visit our support site here.

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Jimmy Schmidt is Director of Product at AppLovin.