In an effort to improve transparency in the programmatic mobile in-app advertising ecosystem, the IAB has released three key tech standards since 2019: app-ads.txt, sellers.json and the OpenRTB supply chain object (also sometimes known as Schain object). For all demand-side platforms (DSPs), it’s important to understand what each tech standard entails and how it benefits their operations:
As the buyer in most programmatic transactions, DSPs have a critical role to play in ensuring that the rest of the programmatic advertising ecosystem is using these IAB Tech Lab standards. DSPs should make sure that they only work with ad networks, exchanges and supply-side platforms (SSPs) that have both a sellers.json file and a related Schain object. InMobi’s sellers.json file can be found at inmobi.com/sellers.json. In addition, the DSP should make sure that their chosen partners are listed properly on the end publisher’s app-ads.txt file.
It’s also critical to note that compliance here is not a one-time action. DSPs should make sure that the rest of the ecosystem is constantly updating their sellers.json or app-ads.txt files when necessary and when appropriate. This means that DSPs should have systems and practices in place to constantly review these files to make sure they are up to date and that nothing fishy is present on them.
With all three, the end goal is greater transparency.
This added transparency brings the subsequent benefit of helping to stamp out ad fraud. When both the buy side and the sell side have a clear understanding of who should be and was involved in a transaction, fraudsters have less room to hide in the margins.
As InMobi’s Sergio Serra has noted, "It's crucial that everyone in the space evangelize the importance of supply path transparency in the spirit of fair and more reliable advertising and programmatic trading.”
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