Ads.txt: Guide For Publishers

It has been a while since the IAB Tech Lab has introduced ads.txt whose intent is to protect the advertising inventory and to repel the programmatic types of ad fraud. It is providing a transparent ecosystem in the programmatic advertising industry.

Even though the ads.txt initiative is not new, there are still opportunities for further enhancements. Publishers are still hesitant about the ads.txt initiative because they are not fully aware of all the benefits it can bring or think it is too complicated to implement. According to Alexa data, today more than 56% of publishers have not implemented ads.txt.

In this article, we want to give you a brief overview of ads.txt, sharp implementation practices in Wordpress, and AdSense platforms and core benefits for publishers and advertisers!

What is ads.txt?

Ads.txt or so-called Authorized Digital Sellers is designed to reduce ad fraud types as domain theft or alleged domain hijacking. Ads.txt increases the transparency of the publisher’s ad inventory by knowing where impressions are purchased and resold.

Ads.txt is a text file, which gives control to publishers to authorize who's allowed to sell ad inventory, preventing fraudulent practices in unauthorized inventory sales. It is a simple method that combats online ad fraud by merely listing the publisher's authorized ad inventory sellers. Ads.txt allows ad buyers to validate the sellers, that is why they can avoid unauthorized traffic sales.

How does adx.txt work?

The publishers add the adx.txt file on the website, confirming the ownership of the domain and indicating the partner accounts which are eligible to sell their ad inventory. As a result, the advertisers can easily search the web and receive a list of all the authorized publishers and provided ad inventory.

Example: https://www.forbes.com/ads.txt
ads.txt.ezample-compr-2

Answering the question of how to verify the content, the answer is relatively simple.

When the advertiser receives a bid request from the publisher, the advertiser can easily check if the publisher is legit. All the advertiser has to do is to match the publisher's account ID with ads.txt file. And if everything matches the advertiser can feel confident that the publisher is an authorized dealer. On the other hand, if the buyer finds out that the publisher's ID is not validated, the buyers can make a decision not bid on the particular publisher's inventory.

How to create ads.txt in Wordpress?

Thanks to Wordpress ads.txt plugin, the ads.txt file creation is quite easy. The plugin allows editing the ads.txt file on your dashboard instead of on the server.

How to add ads.txt file in Wordpress?

The first step you have to take after signing in the Wordpress dashboard is to install and activate the Ads.txt Manager plugin. After successful activation you have to do the following steps on the left side of the panel:

  • Click on the Settings
  • Then Ads.txt page to configure plugin settings

Afterward, using the text area in the plugin each line has to be filled with four fields of the corresponding information:

  • The domain name of the enterprise which is allowed to sell or resell ad inventory (google.com);
  • Publisher ID which corresponds to your account ID in the advertising platform (pub-0000000000000000);
  • Relationship type indication as Direct or Reseller (DIRECT);
  • The ID of the advertising platform is optional (f08c47fec0942fa0).

Example:
google.com, pub-0000000000000000, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

Lastly, don't forget to separate each field with a comma.

Finally, after you have inserted all the necessary data, click on the Save Changes.

How to create ads.txt in Google AdSense or Google Ad Manager?

Another approach to set ads.txt up is via Google AdSense or Google Ad Manager. All you have to do after the ads.txt file creation is to include a separate line in the file for each authorized partner. You have to include the following information:

  • the name of the domain of the advertising system;
  • account ID;
  • status of your partner - direct or reseller (if you are working with a third party).

How to add ads.txt file in AdSense?

The ads.txt file set up for the publishers in Google AdSense is not rocket science. The first thing you have to do after logging in is to locate your publisher ID and create a text file. You can access it by clicking to Settings > Account > Account information.

Keep in mind that the publisher ID is the format which consists of sixteen-digit numbers like this example - pub-0000000000000000. The publisher's Google AdSense account format will look like this example: google.com, pub-0000000000000000, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

Afterward, when you locate the publisher ID, copy the text line and host the text file in the HTML root domain. In the situation when you do not own a root domain, you will need to reach out to your webmaster to add the Publisher ID to the ads.txt file!

Ads.txt benefits for publishers and advertisers?

Ads.txt brings several benefits both for publishers and advertisers. To start with arbitrage, which is the most common fraudulent practice in the industry. According to the statistical data, advertisers lost more than $23 billion globally to ad fraud in 2019.

There is a considerable risk of not being aware of the sellers who are authorized to sell a particular publisher's ad inventory. That is why ads.txt helps the ad buyers to determine the authorized digital sellers. Besides, publishers don't need technical know-how to create the ads.txt file. Thanks to the accessible format, the ads.txt file can be created and updated in just a few minutes!

Is ads.txt mandatory?

According to Google ads.txt can help you to secure your brand from fake inventory but it is not mandatory to have it. However, Google highly recommends it. If you have created your own ads.txt file you can make sure that users who want to sell your ad inventory can be identified.

We strongly suggest to have ads.txt file for all publishers who want to monetize their blog with ads.