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Ads.txt adoption: IAB’s program grows 5.4x in 2018

Sep 27, 2018 11:16:02 AM

Ads.txt adoption increased 5.4x over the first half of 2018, rising from about 90,000 domains to about 500,000 domains. The IAB’s ads.txt program aims to reduce “domain spoofing," a problematic — and costly — type of ad fraud in which the source of an ad impression is misrepresented in order to make the inventory appear more valuable.

Widespread adoption of ads.txt has a positive overall impact in the industry’s ongoing battle against ad fraud. Pixalate’s latest data reveals that sites with ads.txt typically have lower ad fraud rates than sites without ads.txt — although it’s not a solution to all types of ad fraud.

Pixalate has tracked the growth of ads.txt in the programmatic marketplace for over a year, and our Q2 2018 Ads.txt Trends Report brings you the latest updates on the state of adoption.

(Click here to download the full Q2 2018 Ads.txt Trends Report)

Ads.txt adoption increased 5.4x in 2018


The total number of domains with ads.txt rose from about 90,000 at the start of 2018 to about 500,000 by the end of Q2 2018, representing an increase of 5.4x.

Below are quarter-over-quarter increases in adoption rate:

  • Q4 2017: 77,996 publishers added ads.txt
  • Q1 2018: 216,882 publishers added ads.txt
  • Q2 2018: 188,489 publishers added ads.txt

75% of the top 1000 and 73% of the top 5000 programmatic domains now have ads.txt

  • Among the top 1,000 sites in terms of programmatic ad volume, as measured by Pixalate, 75% had ads.txt files at the end of Q2 2018. This number was at 57% at the start of 2018. 
  • Among the top 5,000 sites in terms of programmatic ad volume, 73% have ads.txt. This is an increase from 48% at the start of 2018.

Now that three-fourths of the world’s leading programmatic publishers support ads.txt, it’s possible for some buyers to go “ads.txt-only” with their campaigns.

According to Digiday, Dentsu Aegis Network’s 360i has enabled ads.txt-only buying across all of its clients after conducting a test which found that doing so had minimal impact on reach and price. Google has also made available the option for ads.txt-only buying.

Learn more about ads.txt

You can download the full list of domains with ads.txt here. This list is updated monthly.

You can also download our Q2 2018 Ads.txt Trends Report for a comprehensive update on the state of ads.txt adoption.


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