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Study: Only 20% of publishers’ websites use ads.txt


Marketing Dive—While ads.txt and other measure being taken by digital marketers this year have suggested a more concerted effort to address fraud, the MediaRadar report highlights how fighting fraud can only be effective if the measures are adopted. While ads.txt was only introduced in May, it is considered a fairly straightforward way to address a significant chunk of the fraud currently taking place. Ad fraud in the digital space remains rampant, with  up to $16 billion forecast to be lost to fraudulent players, according to a report from Adblox. That only 20% of publishers have adopted, means the industry needs to do a better job of evangelizing ads.txt and other solutions, according to Krizelman. 

To a certain extent, publishers are going to be brought into ads.txt usage whether they want to or not. On Nov. 8, Google started blocking purchases of unauthorized inventory identified by ads.txt, a move that so far has driven up the price of digital advertising sold through its ad platform. According to Google, more than half of ad inventory available via DoubleClick comes from publishers using ads.txt.

Ad tech company Kargo, which recently became the first to achieve 100% ads.txt compliance, told Marketing Dive earlier this month that it has been working with publishers and DSPs to understand ads.txt. Once they recognize that it supports monetization of premium publishers and the development required isn’t significant, it has become a bigger priority for publishers.


– A study of 3,000 publishers’ websites found only 20% have adopted the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) ads.txt tool meant to prevent ad fraud, per a press release made available to Marketing Dive by MediaRadar, which conducted the research.

 – The largest sites are moving quickly but overall, adoption is moving slowly, pointing to the power of inertia, said Todd Krizelman, CEO of MediaRadar, in the release.

– Formal specs for ads.txt were released by the IAB in May, giving publishers way to identify and label partners and systems permitted to sell their ad inventory. This ensures buyers know when the space they are buying is legitimate.