February 28, 2021 Last updated February 28th, 2021 921 Reads share

A Comprehensive Guide to Employing Ads.txt

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Ads.txt was introduced by IAB Tech Lab with an intention to provide a shield against programmatic ad fraud so as to protect the advertising industry. The programmatic advertising realm has only grown more transparent since the inception of ads.txt.

Even though the ads.txt initiative is somehow old now, a study by Alexa suggests that it is yet to be implemented by more than 56% of the publishers.

This can be primarily because of the following reasons:

1. Many opportunities for further enhancement of ads.txt initiatives haven’t yet been unveiled
2. Not all the publishers are fully aware of the benefits of the ads.txt initiative
3. Some publishers might also feel like ads.txt is too complicated to implement

In this blog post, we discuss what is ads.txt, what are its favorable execution protocols with AdSense, Blogger, and WordPress, and what are its benefits.

What is ads.txt?

Ads.txt is a simple, flexible, and secure method for publishers & distributors to prevent their inventory from fraudulence. The feature allows them to authorize who can sell their inventory and thus, helps them to improve the transparency of their programmatic buyers.

Ads.txt is the acronym for Authorized Digital Sellers and refers to the text file that helps prevent all types of ad fraudulence including domain theft, or alleged domain hijacking.

The transparency of the publisher’s ad inventory is improved by revealing where the impressions are purchased & resold.  Ads.txt prevents fraudulent instances of unauthorized inventory sales as unauthorized traffic sales are avoided by dodging any instances of fake sellers.

How Does ads.txt Work?

The publishers augment ads.txt files on the website. Once the ownership of the website is confirmed & the partner accounts are indicated, they become eligible to sell their ad inventory. Consequently, the advertisers can access the list of publishers who are authorized & who have their ad inventory online.

You can download the personalized ad.txt file that includes your publisher id.

For producing an ads.txt file to your website you can follow the steps below:

Step 1: Sign in to your AdSense account.

Step 2: If there exists an alert on the homepage, click Fix now, else click Sites.

Step 3: Click the Down arrow to create an ads.txt file for…” message.

Step 4: Click Download. The ads.txt file is automatically downloaded.

Step 5: If one is using another ad network, one has to add a network to their ads.txt file & for that, they have to contact their ad network for ads.txt information.

Step 6: One has to upload the ads.txt file to the root directory of their site. The root directory of a site in the directory or folder following the top-level domain.

To verify that the file has been correctly published one has to successfully check the content of one’s file while accessing the ‘ads.txt’ URL in their web browser. If one sees the file in their web browser, it’s likely that AdSense will successfully find it.

Adding publisher ID to your ads.txt file

If your publisher ID is missing from your ads.txt file, you can copy the same from your account and add it to your ads.txt file. This can be done by following the steps below:

Step 1: Signing in to your AdSense account.
Click Fix now, if there’s an alert on your homepage else click Sites.

Step 3: Open the “Add your publisher ID to these ads.txt files” message by clicking the down arrow.

Step 4: Click Copy.

Step 5: Paste the line into each of your ads.txt files. In order for your ads.txt file to be verified, it must be formatted as specified by the IAB Tech Lab.

Integrating ads.txt File Using Blogger

For uploading the ads.txt file using the blogger platform one can follow the steps below:

Step 1: Sign in to Blogger.

Step 2: Click the Down arrow in the top left.

Step 3: Click the blog you want to set up an ads.txt file on.

Step 4: On the left, click Settings.

Step 5: Under “Settings,” click Search preferences.

Step 6: Under “Monetization,” find “Custom ads.txt” and click Edit.

Step 7: Click Yes.

Step 8: Click the lines that Infolinks has provided and paste them in the text box. The lines can be found in the URL: https://publishers.infolinks.com/members/new

Step 9: Click Save Settings.

Step 10: You can check the content of your ads.txt file by visiting the URL HTTP://<your blog address>/ads.txt.

Businesses must make it a point to add ads.txt file to all their registered domains.

How to Create ads.txt in WordPress?

The WordPress ads.txt plugin makes creating ads.txt files in WordPress quite easy. Using the plugin the users can edit the file on their dashboard instead of a server, offering a higher level of clarity.

Adding ads.txt file in WordPress

Step 1: Once you sign into WordPress install and activate the Ads.txt Manager plugin.

Step 2: After the successful activation clicks on settings and then on the Ads.txt page’ to configure plugin settings.

4 compulsory pieces of information are to be filled in the text area for the plugin:

1. The domain name of the enterprise which will sell or resell the ad inventory (example: google.com)
2. A publisher ID corresponding to the business’s account ID in the advertising platform (example: pub-0000000000000000)
3. Direct or Reseller Relationship type indication
4. An optional ID of the advertising platform.

Each of the above fields should be separated by commas and once the necessary fields have been inserted all the changes must be saved.

Benefits of ads.txt

Ads.txt is beneficial both for the publishers as well as for the advertisers. The following are some of the benefits of using ads.txt:

1. It helps curb fraudulent practices in the advertising world such as arbitrage.
2. Ads.txt helps buyers determine whether digital sellers are authorized or not.
3. Creating an ads.txt file doesn’t require a high degree of technical expertise, has an accessible format, and can be created and updated within a few moments.

Wrap Up

Ads.txt ensures that only authorized people are representing your ad inventory. This fraud prevention file is being adopted by the entire ad industry. Every business should get this file implemented on their website at the earliest. This prevents any potential revenue impact.

Once implemented, this file needs to be updated frequently. In order to prevent the file from being out of date, businesses need to check their dashboard and inspect their Ads.txt site health.

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