Authorized Digital Sellers

Overview

Authorized Digital Sellers for web (ads.txt) is an IAB initiative to improve transparency in programmatic advertising by allowing publishers to identify who is authorized to sell their inventory. Declaring authorized sellers in an ads.txt file helps protect buyers from counterfeit inventory. The files are publicly available and crawlable by exchanges, Supply-Side Platforms (SSP), and other buyers and third-party vendors.

Authorized Sellers for apps (app-ads.txt) is an extension to the Authorized Digital Sellers standard. It expands compatibility to support ads shown in mobile apps.

Publisher participation

A publisher is considered to be participating if their inventory has an associated ads.txt file:

  • For web-based inventory (e.g. mydomain.com), an ads.txt file is posted and reachable from the root domain at mydomain.com/ads.txt.

  • For app-based inventory, the app has a published Google Play or App Store listing that references the developer's app website (e.g. myappwebsite.com) and the developer's app website has an app-ads.txt file posted and reachable from the root domain (e.g. myappwebsite.com/app-ads.txt).

A publisher is considered to be non-participating if their web or app inventory does not have an associated ads.txt file. while the use of ads.txt is not mandatory for publishers, it is highly recommended. Display & Video 360 excludes non-participating inventory on new campaigns by default, but buyers may purchase non-participating inventory at their own risk by modifying the ads.txt targeting option.

Seller authorization

A seller can be authorized to sell inventory by declaring a row with the following details in the ads.txt or app-ads.txt file:

  • Field 1: Exchange/SSP domain name (e.g. google.com, myssp.com)
  • Field 2: Exchange-specific publisher ID
  • Field 3: Type of account/relationship (must be DIRECT or RESELLER)
  • (Optional) Field 4: Certification authority ID
Example of ads.txt/app-ads.txt declaration:

google.com, pub-0000000000000000, DIRECT​, f08c47fec0942fa0
greenadexchange.com, 12345, DIRECT, AEC242
blueadexchange.com, 4536, DIRECT
silverssp.com, 9675, RESELLER

Authorized Sellers are sellers whose publisher ID has been declared in the ads.txt file on the inventory being monetized. Authorized sellers may be categorized as Direct or Resellers, depending on whether the seller directly owns or resells the inventory being monetized.

Unauthorized Sellers are sellers whose publisher ID has not been declared in the ads.txt file on the inventory being monetized. Display & Video 360 automatically excludes and disallows bidding on unauthorized sellers, protecting you from buying counterfeit inventory that is intentionally mislabelled.

Ineligible inventory

Inventory such as Out-of-Home, linear TV not currently covered by the ads.txt or app-ads.txt specification. Authorized Seller targeting options may also not be visible on some Line Item types which exclusively target inventory for which ads.txt restrictions does not apply.

Authorized seller targeting in Display & Video 360

Display & Video 360 allows buyers to apply ads.txt targeting options at the Partner, Campaign, Insertion Order or Line Item level. Ads.txt targeting options for new entities (e.g. Line item) inherit the settings applied on the parent entity (e.g. the Insertion Order that the line item belongs to).

The following targeting options are available:

  • Authorized Direct Sellers and Resellers: All authorized sellers, including those that directly own or resell the inventory being monetized, as indicated by a DIRECT or RESELLER declaration in the ads.txt file respectively. Note that this is the default option for new Display & Video 360 campaigns.

  • Authorized Direct Sellers only: Only authorized sellers that directly own the inventory being monetized, as indicated by a DIRECT declaration in the ads.txt file.

  • Authorized and Non-Participating Publishers: All authorized sellers, including publishers that have not posted an ads.txt file. Display & Video 360 automatically disallows unauthorized sellers.
Display & Video 360 excludes non-participating inventory on new campaigns by default, but buyers may choose to purchase non-participating inventory based on their inventory quality policy.
 
Authorized seller targeting options currently only apply to web-based inventory and may also not be visible on some line item types which exclusively target ineligible inventory. Learn more about ineligible inventory

Authorized seller bidding in Display & Video 360

Web inventory

Has ads.txt? Seller status Targeting status Does Display & Video 360 bid?*
Yes Unauthorized N/A No
Yes Authorized Direct Authorized and Non-Participating Publishers Yes
Yes Authorized Direct (Default**) Authorized Direct Sellers and Resellers Yes
Yes Authorized Direct Authorized Direct Sellers only Yes
Yes  Authorized Reseller Authorized and Non-Participating Publishers Yes
Yes Authorized Reseller (Default**) Authorized Direct Sellers and Resellers Yes
Yes Authorized Reseller Authorized Direct Sellers only No
No Non-Participating Authorized and Non-Participating Publishers Yes
No Non-Participating (Default**) Authorized Direct Sellers and Resellers No
No Non-Participating Authorized Direct Sellers only No

* Other bid rejection reasons may apply
** The default value set at the partner level. This can be overwritten at the campaign, insertion order, or line item level

App inventory

Has app-ads.txt? Seller status Targeting status* Does Display & Video 360 bid?**
Yes Unauthorized N/A No
Yes Authorized Direct Authorized and Non-Participating Publishers Yes
Yes Authorized Direct (Default) Authorized Direct Sellers and Resellers Yes
Yes Authorized Direct Authorized Direct Sellers only Yes
Yes  Authorized Reseller Authorized and Non-Participating Publishers Yes
Yes Authorized Reseller (Default) Authorized Direct Sellers and Resellers Yes
Yes Authorized Reseller Authorized Direct Sellers only Yes
No Non-Participating Authorized and Non-Participating Publishers Yes
No Non-Participating (Default) Authorized Direct Sellers and Resellers Yes
No Non-Participating Authorized Direct Sellers only Yes

* Ads.txt targeting options do not apply to app-based inventory at this time
** Other bid rejection reasons may apply

Authorized seller reporting in Display & Video 360

In Display & Video 360 you can use the "Authorized Seller state" dimension to report on the ads.txt participation or authorization status of inventory bought. The "Authorized Seller state" dimension categorizes inventory into Authorized Direct Sellers, Authorized Resellers, Non-Participating Publishers, and Ineligible. Learn more about publisher participation and seller authorization.

The reach impact of ads.txt targeting options can also be estimated using the Inventory Availability report. Learn more about how Display & Video 360 calculates potential reach.

Frequently asked questions

How does app-ads.txt enforcement affect campaign delivery?

The enforcement of app-ads.txt by Display & Video 360 does not currently impact apps without an app-ads.txt file. Display & Video 360 will only stop buying unauthorized app inventory (apps that have an associated app-ads.txt file in which the seller's publisher ID is not declared).

How can I improve ads.txt adoption on desired web or app inventory?

Ads.txt/app-ads.txt files need to be posted by the publisher. Publishers can reference the following setup FAQs and work with their webmaster to ensure their files can be crawled by Google.

How does the Authorized Seller targeting option affect app-based inventory?

The Authorized Seller targeting options only affect web-based inventory. App-based inventory is not affected by the targeting options at this time.

How can I assess the impact of Authorized Seller targeting on campaign reach?

You can estimate the reach impact of applying ads.txt targeting options by using the Inventory Availability report. Learn more about how Display & Video 360 calculates potential reach.

How can I troubleshoot the impact of Authorized Seller targeting on campaign spend?

App-based inventory is not affected by the Authorized Seller targeting options at this time. 

For web-based inventory, you can check the Channels section of the Troubleshooter to determine the detected Authorized Seller state for a domain and whether the associated impressions are being excluded by your Authorized Seller targeting selection. Learn more about the Troubleshooter.

Why does the Troubleshooter show a domain/app as non-participating when it has an ads.txt or app-ads.txt file?

For Display & Video 360 to categorize a domain/app as participating, the ads.txt/app-ads.txt file must be posted according to the IAB specification and must be discoverable by the Google crawler.

For apps specifically, publishers must:

  • Ensure the app is registered with the Google Play or App Store

  • Include a valid developer website in the Google Play or App Store listing

  • Ensure that the app-ads.txt file is reachable from the root domain or a valid subdomain, as allowed by the app-ads.txt specification

Why is the Authorized Seller targeting option not visible on some line items?

The Authorized Seller targeting option may not be visible on some Line Item types which exclusively target ineligible inventory by default, or inventory for which ads.txt (or app-ads.txt) enforcement does not apply. Learn more about ineligible inventory
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