What is Ads.cert? What’s the Difference Between Ads.txt and Ads.cert?
Not many buyers know what is ads.cert, yet it is one of the main tools that guarantees fair play on the programmatic market. Ads.cert provides inventory assurances through cryptographically signed bid requests. It lets you know if any information from the original ad request was altered, as all of the information about inventory will be containing in the bid request. For example, let’s say that the device type was altered and was not portrayed correctly with malevolent intent, the buyer will be able to see that this information has been changed thanks to ads.cert.
Ads.cert vs Ads.txt: what are the differences?
Ads.txt is the predecessor to Ads.cert and the Interactive Advertising Board (IAB) upgraded it to incorporate bid requests that have an encrypted signature which allows you to see the entire history of the inventory and provide authentication. To put it in layman's terms, it is the responsibility of Ads.txt to verify that each company has obtained permission from the publisher that they are authorized to sell their content. This gives assurances to the buyers that the inventory they would like to purchase is being sold by an authorized seller.
Ads.cert takes this to another level and confirms all of the information that goes back and forth from seller to buyer at every step of the digital ad campaign. Think of it as a digital signature that allows buyers to ascertain the inventory of a particular site and works as an extra deterrent against ad fraud.
In general, for targeting media-buyers use information such as IP address, creative type, location and many other pieces of user data that determine the cost of the impression. This information can be faked by fraudsters to make it look more valuable. The job of ads.cert and the ads.txt is to prevent this from happening. If a person would like to add some additional information to a request, they will have the opportunity to accompany it with a digital signature, thus adding a whole new level of transparency to the impression. Every publisher included in the supply chain has the option to provide their signature, as wrongdoing can easily be tracked within the system.
Changes after Ads.cert adoption: is it an end for Ads.txt?
Ads.txt is very popular, and according to recent statistics, 72% of the top 5000 websites that sell or buy programmatic ads are using ads.txt. Since Ads.txt has such great popularity among publishers, more and more advertisers are adjusting their campaigns to run on ads.txt verified sites. These numbers indicate that Ads.txt is not going anywhere anytime soon, despite Ads.cert’s stronger security measures.
According to Digiday, Ads.cert can only be implemented if the infrastructure has been upgraded from Open RTB 2.5 to Version Open RTB 3.0. This new infrastructure was developed by the IAB tech lab to handle new sorts of programmatic buying and selling to include things such as header bidding and content sales.
As we’ve mentioned before, Ads.cert enables the demand partners to validate numerous fields of the bid request and have a clear chain of custody. In order to dig deeper into signed bid requests, you may want to read IAB tech lab “signed bid requests” framework in greater details. The most important takeaway of it is, the Ads.cert will now ask publishers to “sign” the “message” in order to confirm information about inventory. The signature combines all field values of the request. This is how it all will look like after adoption:
Ads.cert 2.0: when does transition happen?
All of the signs are pointing to the fact, that ads.cert will become mainstream very soon. Businesses are starting to explore the capabilities of blockchain tech in advertising because it successfully validates the information that bears the greatest importance for fair trading. For the buyer, the quality that a blockchain brings is fewer discrepancies. The advertiser will know exactly how their money is spent and will choose intermediaries wisely. For the seller, this means faster and certified payments. The next step would be for the biggest players to push blockchain-level certification on the buy side.
Once blockchain technology is fully incorporated in all transactions, media buyers will be able to track how many impressions they are getting and make sure that the ads are targeted at the right audience. This virtually eliminates the possibility of ad fraud since all members of the blockchain network are approved by one another. This way, every impression advertiser buys will belong to verified publishers.
SmartyAds is always looking for innovative solutions to safeguard publishers and advertisers against ad fraud so that you know what value you are getting for your money. That’s why we incorporated blockchain technology in our reliable advertising stack.
Your secure blockchain-driven advertising ecosystem is here! Contact us and our dedicated manager will help you enhance your advertising experience!
Karen Karalash, Business Development Manager of SmartyAds