IAB Tech Lab’s Ads.txt Update Illuminates the Supply Path: Q&A With VP, Product Shailley Singh

Ad Ops professionals are always looking for more transparency in the supply chain to guarantee they’re receiving their just due spend.

This week, we were presented with a major IAB Tech Lab ads.txt update as they announced two new values for publishers to add to their ads.txt files, and both have the power to impact the adtech game in a big way.

“Ownerdomain” and “managerdomain” have two separate functions within ads.txt, yet both present visibility in understanding seller relationships through sellers.json. This IAB Tech Lab ads.txt update also contributes to ads.text’s ability to reduce fraud in buying and selling advertisements across websites, mobile apps, and connected TV.

The ownerdomain function specifies the domain of the publisher that owns the website that the ad is being served on. This helps connect the seller domain for publisher entries in sellers.json files. Previously it was hard to track programmatically leading to mismatched seller domains, especially when a business owns a few publisher properties.

Managerdomain, on the other hand, can help smaller and medium publishers function like tech giants by helping the publisher determine the primary or exclusive monetization partner of a site’s inventory, giving them a greater chance of retaining better supply path optimization (SPO) results.

Why does this happen? Because publishers that outsource yield management, and operate via manager’s seller ids can sometimes have to go through many hops to access their inventory, making it tough when SPOs seek to only buy from the least amount of hops possible.

With managerdomain in ads.txs buyers can be confident in knowing that if there are multiple hops, you may have to cross those bridges to access the publisher’s inventory.

We spoke with Shailley Singh, Vice President of Product and Global Programs over at IAB Tech Lab about how these new additions will not only provide increased benefits to publishers but also help to take some items off of their plates.

Yakira Young: While the pros of “ownerdomain” and “managerdomain” ads.txt values are more than evident, are there any cons or bumps in the road that publishers should be aware of when utilizing these updates? 

Shailley Singh: For both these domain declarations, publishers should ensure that the domain listed in sellers.json file matches ads.txt entries, that’s the primary diligence they need to do with their sellers.

For managerdomain, publishers should note the geographic/ country vs global manager domain declaration.

YY: Even with Google’s sellers.json, 53% of seller accounts are listed confidential. How can these updates help rectify the “unmapped sellers” dilemma pertaining to sellers.json?

SS: This does not rectify unmapped sellers dilemma. We strongly appeal that all SSPs and exchanges fully publish all seller accounts without exceptions.

YY: What makes the “managerdomain” extension so beneficial for smaller and medium-sized publishers? 

SS: Managerdomain is a declaration where the site is primarily or exclusively monetized by another entity. Example, A.com allows SSP.com to manage all its inventory. Today there is no way to declare that, and it causes two issues — the seller id may belong to ssp.com and results in domain mismatch and although ssp.com is the direct path to buy A.com, it is not clear unless you are aware of this relationship. By adding managerdomain a website will be able to transparently declare this relationship.

YY: Why is it important for buyers to have a clear understanding of the supply path?

SS: All buyers implement supply path optimization. The new value of owner and manager domains gives them the information that this seller is the most optimal way to buy from a publisher. Also, they help buyers identify corporate owners of the publishers and sellers.

YY: What are the benefits of these new updates for publishers?

SS: It helps quality small and medium publishers who do not manage their monetization but designate exclusive sellers. Their buying paths are typically longer than the publishers who manage their own monetization. This will help them signal direct paths to their inventory through manager domain sellers and help likely increase inventory sales to scrupulous buyers.