What’s in your ads.txt?

Keeping your ads.txt up to date is a crucial part of keeping your site running smoothly and your revenue rolling in.

what's in your ads.txt?

If you’re hosting ads on your website, you’ve got an ads.txt. As a busy web developer or site manager, you may not consider how often your ads.txt is actually being updated. It can be easy to overlook. But if you’ve monetized your website and you’re not keeping on top of your ads.txt, you could be leaving money on the table from advertisers.

We’ll help break down what your ads.txt is, how it’s used by advertisers, and why it’s so important to keep it up to date.

The beginning of ads.txt

Even though ads.txt isn’t a new development in AdTech, it’s only become industry standard in the last decade. Ads.txt was created by the iAB Tech Lab to combat ad fraud across vendors and consumers. The ADS in ads.tx stands for ‘authorised digital sellers,’ and operates as a changing list of verified advertisers that can place ads on a specific site.

Ads.txt is meant to provide a solution to the obscurity within the online advertising landscape. Any consumer can see the ads.txt document for any website, simply by typing ‘ads.txt’ behind the website’s URL. It’s a full, comprehensive list of vendors permitted to sell on that particular website, and offers transparency to site users. If a vendor isn’t listed on the ads.txt, they can’t bid or purchase any advertisements on that particular site.

Web’s most wanted

The reason we have ads.txt at all is to prevent advertising fraud. It serves to correctly identify not only the advertiser, but the site vendor. Each advertiser that’s been cleared to sell a particular site’s inventory should appear on a domain’s ads.txt. Then when a programmatic bidder wants to purchase inventory (ad space) from a publisher, they know they’re getting the genuine product.

Before ads.txt, buying and selling online advertisements was sort of like the Wild West. Say an advertiser wanted to place an ad for their new mobile game on a news site like Pocket Tactics. Before ads.txt, the advertiser wouldn’t have any way to verify if the ad space they were bidding on was actually owned and permitted for sale by Pocket Tactics. With ads.txt acting as a guest list of verified vendors and publishers, there can finally be transparent purchasing within online advertising.

Are you missing out?

Now that ads.txt has become industry standard, vendors and publishers will only buy and sell if the ads.txt document from the publisher has current information. It’s a checks and balances system – the programmatic bidder will trawl through different sites’ ads.txt, confirming that they’re a listed vendor for that specific publisher. If the vendor isn’t listed on the ads.txt, the bid doesn’t happen.

This is exactly why you should ensure your ads.txt is updated. When you work with an ad network like us here at Publisher Collective, we have a constantly shifting list of authorised buyers that enter and exit our ads.txt document.

Say an ad network has eight vendors that leave the network, but fifteen new buyers enter the marketplace. If the other publishers’ ads.txt goes unupdated, they’d have eight vendors no longer listed (and no longer generating revenue) on their ads.txt. There would still be programmatic bids happening with the currently active buyers, but the publishers that don’t update their ads.txt would be missing out on those fifteen additional buyers that could be generating programmatic bids. An un-updated ads.txt means missed revenue, plain and simple.

Evergreen ads.txt

We’re looking out for our partners here at Publisher Collective. We’ve invested in automating your ads.txt, so when we have an updated list of vendors, you don’t need to lift a finger. We’ll automatically update your ads.txt to ensure you don’t miss out on any revenue. The newest buying technologies are vetted by our team and verified to sell your inventory at the best rate. With a constantly updating ads.txt, we keep you ahead of the competition and ensure your revenue remains rock steady when it comes to new buyers. You can check if we auto-update your ads.txt by confirming our watermark at the top of your ads.txt page.

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