Will Ads.txt Help Or Hurt Website Ad Earnings?

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Will Ads.txt Help Or Hurt Website Ad Earnings?

Ads.txt is an increasingly popular file that publishers are adding to their websites. Its purpose is to prevent domain-spoofing and eliminate ad inventory fraud across the online ad ecosystem. Many publishers have asked, will Ads.tx help or hurt website ad earnings?

An Ads.txt file has the potential to both harm and improve your website’s ad earnings. However, the more likely outcome is that it simply provides a neutral effect.

Today, I’m going to show you why Ads.txt could both help or hurt website ad earnings. Additionally, I’ll provide some updates on an FAQ I did a while back on ads.txt files.

Article updated on 4/27/2020

What is an ads.txt file and who needs one?

Ads.txt is a file that allows digital publishers to authorize who has the ability to sell their ad inventory (ad space). This is an ecosystem creation that is sponsored by the IAB.

 

ads.txt ad revenue

With Ads.txt, a publisher like The New York Times can ensure that only select parties can sell the ad space of their website. This allows advertisers to bid for that inventory safely knowing that the ad space they are buying on The New York Times is authentic.

Moreover, any digital publisher interested in controlling who is authorized to resell their ad inventory should implement an ads.txt file.

Larger digital publishers are far more likely to be the target of domain-spoofing fraud than smaller publishers. Domain-spoofing is the primary behavior that is prevented with an ads.txt file.

How do you set up ads.txt files for AdSense?

Setting up ads.txt files for AdSense is quick and easy. Below is an example of The New York Times’ file.

Ads.txt example properly set up can help website ad earnings. This one is from the New York Times's file.

It’s important to remember that the “pub—*number*” needs to be your unique publisher ID from Google.

Google Support offers an ads.txt guide that shows you how to add the file through logging into your AdSense account.

You can download the file from Google, and then upload the file to the root directory of your website. This is a top-domain level folder. You can use an FTP server like FileZilla to get the file onto your root directory. If you use a web host like WPEngine, you can upload the file using the SFTP address and port number seen below.

Upload your Ads.txt file using SFTP server and port number

 

While it is not mandatory to have an ads.txt file, Google strongly urges to do so:

“We strongly recommend that you use an ads.txt file. It can help buyers identify counterfeit inventory and help you receive more advertiser spend that might have otherwise gone toward that counterfeit inventory.”

It has become commonplace to have an ads.txt file on any website that displays ads programmatically (display ads, native ads, etc.). However, there are downsides if it’s not implemented correctly.

Is there a downside to adding the file to your site?

There is no downside to adding an Ads.txt file to your site if you have a correctly implemented file. The file is correctly implemented if it’s updated with all partners and resellers.

Remember: Ads.txt tells the ecosystem who can sell your ad inventory. If this file isn’t properly set up you may end up blocking ad partners from being able to display ads on your site.

Making sure you have your publisher ID correct could determine whether ads.txt will help website ad earnings.

 

For example, if you use AdSense to display ads, and then accidentally enter your Google Account ID incorrectly on a line of the file, this blocks Google AdSense from showing ads on your site.

If you’re a site using multiple sources of demand, this might hurt competition if even one of the partner files is wrong.

Additionally, sellers update their list of verified partners on their Ads.txt files all the time. If you have an out-of-date partner file, you could be missing out on the advertising partners that one of your authorized sellers made available.

In both of these instances, competition is potentially harmed by improper ads.txt management. Using a reliable ads.txt management tool helps a lot with this.

What is the benefit of adding an ads.txt file?

There are really two main benefits to add an ads.txt file to a website.

1.) Avoiding lost ad revenue as platforms change default buyer settings

2.) Helping to do your part in stopping industry domain-spoofing

Let’s assume that you are far more interested in #1.

ads.txt demand partners

The real potential for increased ad earnings comes in two distinct forms.

1: If you have been the victim of domain-spoofing, ads.txt will prevent this from happening in the future. This could result in your brand seeing more ad dollars as a result of reduced marketplace supply for your inventory.

Unless you’re a large brand or major web property, the chances of you being affected much by #1 are slim; although some believe that there is a bit of a trickle-down effect that occurs. The chances of your business being negatively impacted in a big way by domain-spoofing are low, so it is unlikely that average sites would see much benefit for this measure alone.

2: Google has now opened up an option for advertisers to buy only from publishers with an ads.txt file. Additionally, Google made this the default setting for all of its advertiser platforms (DFP and Google Ads).

As for Google’s mechanism for selling ads.txt certified inventory, the chances of publishers missing out on revenue without this file is high.

Additionally, having an ads.txt file means you are eligible for all ad platform ad campaigns (more buyer demand). Without an ads.txt file, it is likely that less and less ad demand will be available when the major ad platforms change their default settings to favor verified inventory.

What’s the best way to manage your ads.txt file?

The best way to properly manage your ads.txt file begins with knowing the most common ways to reduce all the associated risks listed above.

free ads.txt manager tool
screenshot from Free Ads.Txt Manager

Here are four things you must do when implementing ads.txt

  • 1: Make sure your ads.txt file includes all existing demand/ad partners
  • 2: Make sure the account network IDs are correct for every authorized seller
  • 3: Ensure that you have the most up-to-date file from every partner
  • 4: Maintain this file. You cannot set it and forget it. Your authorized sellers constantly update their records. You need to update yours at the same time.

Ultimately, failing to do any of these steps leads to potential losses of ad earnings.

But there are easier ways to manage your ads.txt file. Ezoic created Ads.txt Manager, a free tool used by thousands of websites to quickly and easily implement ads.txt on your website.

Will Ads.txt help website Ad earnings or not?

Ads.txt helps website ad earnings because It keeps you from losing money as more platforms make their default buying configurations verified inventory-only.

Publishers should implement ads.tx, and they should implement it with care.

There are no guarantees it can increase website revenue, but everyone agrees that it should prevent revenue loss in the future. In contrast, if you implement it incorrectly it could cost you ad earnings.

Ultimately, ads.txt is a shift in the entire ecosystem. It’s been here since 2017 and is now backed by all the industries’ largest parties. This is why you should implement an ads.txt file.

Do you have any thoughts or questions? Leave them below and I’ll chime in.

By Tyler Bishop

Tyler is an award-winning digital marketer, founder of Pubtelligence, CMO of Ezoic, SEO speaker, successful start-up founder, and well-known publishing industry personality.

54 comments

  1. After ads.txt Implementation, I Lost My 60% Income and 50% CTR in Google Adsense
    on my site themes24x7.
    Be careful when you are using an Ads.txt file on your website, without knowing what are you doing…… my income has gone down after using infolinks ads.txt list

  2. If you implemented ads.txt incorrectly, yes. Ads will still show without ads.txt but it will be the default for advertisers in Google soon, so it’s possible fewer advertisers will bid on non-ads.txt inventory

  3. Hi! I hava a blog with my own adsense on it, but I’m going to work with an agency who also want to put ads on it (also Adsense). Should I use this then? Since we would be having 2 different publisher ID’s on 1 website.

  4. That doesn’t seem like it is line with AdSense policy. What type of agency are you attempting to work with?

  5. An online ad agency, it would be a mix of sponsored posts, (adsense if the ad positions aren’t sold to a specific brand they work with) and bought bannering by brands.

  6. Interesting. Why can’t they use your AdSense to fill any non-direct impressions? It’d be worth asking them some detailed questions about exactly how they report on all of this as well. Just my 0.02.

  7. Hi Tyler. Thanks for the article. I need a little bit if clarification, however.
    What if I have ads on my website (besides Adsense) but I don’t know the publisher ID of the account? I’ve contacted them and they are clueless as to what ads.txt is and even asked why I would need such info (the publisher ID/account ID).
    In such cases, do I just leave them out of the ads.txt and only list the ones I have all the info (pub ID) of?
    Thanks for your time.

  8. If you do not have a provider on your authorized ads.txt file they will not be able to resell your inventory; meaning they cannot show ads on your site.
    I’m not sure who you are contacting for this info, but they should definitely be aware of ads.txt.

  9. My blog is on the blogger. I have added the ads.txt file to the blog but after a few days, it has got removed. This problem has happened in the past. What can I do now?

  10. Be careful when you are using an Ads.txt file on your website, without knowing what are you doing…… my income has gone down after using infolinks ads.txt list

  11. If you implement ads.txt incorrectly you run a risk of losing revenue.

  12. Thank you for sharing guide of ads.txt i was about to implementation but I understand that i will not implement ads.txt does’t matter earning increases or not.

  13. Did anyone try to put multiple entries of account in ads.txt?
    I am asking this because my sister has an Adsense account and wants to partner with me on my blog. And she wanted to use her own Adsense block if she was the one who published the article.
    If yes, how?

  14. That’s against AdSense policy so it is something I’d be careful about.

  15. It takes approximately 24-48 for the ads.txt file to be cached after making changes.

  16. Where I can get an updated list of sources/resellers that Ezoic deals with, since all ads are coming in via Ezoic/Adsense? I have of course no idea who is actually selling/reselling ads for the site. Adsense makes it very clear, but from ads coming in from Ezoic, I am in the dark.
    Also assuming that I create a file with one entry only ( adsense, since that is all I have ), would this PREVENT Ezoic ads from being displayed on the site ? In other words, the absence of the ads.txt file means that anyone can sell/resell ad space. Does the presence of the file mean that anyone NOT mentioned in the file is prevented from showing ads ? If yes, how would someone like me, who only has contact with ad sources via Ezoic, find out about new sources to update the file ?
    I must have understood incorrectly, or incompletely, how ads.txt works because to me it seems this mechanism actually limits the competition between resellers in the ad space preventing a new one from establishing itself and is also very difficult to maintain.

  17. If anyone is NOT listed on your ads.txt file, THEY WILL NOT be able to show ads on your website.
    The easiest way to manage an ads.txt file is adstxtmanager.com — if you use Ezoic, AdSense, etc. it will automatically allow you to select or turn on any networks or demand sources. Support team members at Ezoic can help you with this during implementation as well if you have questions.

  18. It’s really a helpful article for those bloggers who use Adsense as their primary income source. Thanks a lot for publishing such a nice article…

  19. My AdSense account is activated, but from 2 days ads cannot show on my website, I am adding ads.txt file before 2 days. after adding ads.txt file ads are can’t show.please resolve this issue.

  20. Ads.txt can take up to 24 hours to propagate. The more changes you make in this period, the greater the chance that you continue to experience errors. It is impossible to diagnose your issue given the information you’ve provided.

  21. Thanks for this information about ads.txt but sire.. i am facing another problem with google adsense, when i sent traffic on my website through social media.. my ads got hide automatically.

  22. I have added ads.txt as per AdSense. Can I add infolinks ads.txt also in blogger? Is that against to AdSense policy?

  23. Hey Tyler, im very much impressed with your article but I came here to find solution for something else like
    “what If the publisher is new” and starting an website like Eg: I’m getting around minimum 100 visitors per day and I’m using Google Adsense for displaying ads.
    Here my doubt is As I’m a small publisher, Should i also need to use “ads.txt” file or not?

  24. Thanks for the information about ads.txt but sire.. i am facing another problem with google adsense, when i sent traffic on my website through social media.. my ads got hide automatically.

  25. plz solve my problem. My AdSense account is activated, but from 3days ads cannot show on my website, I am adding ads.txt file before 2 days. after adding ads.txt file ads are can’t show.please resolve this issue.

  26. I recommend using Adstxtmanager.com for implementation and then waiting 24-48 hours. Incorrect implementation can cause ads to be removed for that time period. The more attempts to “fix” things can make this time period longer.

  27. Hi Tyler,
    Thanks for this article, it is really helpful, but I still need help.
    I copied the ads.txt file on domain root. Then I created my account on adstxtmanager.com, then authorized sellers, then clicked import ads.txt, then I set a redirect (.htaccess file redirect).
    And when I click validate it says: YOUR ADS.TXT FILE IS CURRENTLY NOT INTEGRATED
    My website shows ads.
    I am not sure if I did everything correct. What else should I do to validate my ads.txt file?
    Many thanks for your help!

  28. Hi
    I have a LOT of ads.txt files on my blogger blog, and I have no idea where they’re from. i’m not too technical so manage by using online tutorials for this kind of thing. I didn’t know anything about it until I was fixing my adsense ads.txt file and noticed all the other names in the box. I want to delete them but not sure if it would ruin anything on my blog. I’m not associated with any other ads agency or run ads from any other agency so I’m assuming it should be ok to delete everything and just leave the google adsense ads.txt file? Please advise, thank you.

  29. I recommend against that without knowing how the file was configured. Google AdSense could include multiple buyers or bidders and you may do major damage to your site’s ability to leverage AdSense if you alter your ads.txt file.

  30. I’ve been using ads.txt for a few months now and had no problems since last month I see the message ‘Profit at Risk – You need to fix some issues with the ads.txt file to avoid a significant impact on your revenue’.
    The message appeared every weekend and then disappeared. But now for 7 days I see it constantly.
    I really can’t understand what the problem is.I haven’t changed anything.
    Ιf this has any significance i’m on the blogger platform with custom domain
    Is there any idea?

  31. Thanks so much for this article. I’m quite dense when it comes to technology, so I’d like to double check on something. I added my ads.txt file via my cPanel (via YouTube tutorial) and thought the problem was fixed. I was still getting a notice from Adsense to fix the problem. I was told it can take up to a few weeks for them to get rid of the warning. Yesterday I had no AdSense revenue, and when I looked at my website today, ALL my ads were gone.
    I just fixed the ads.txt problem via a WordPress plug in, and the AdSense warning is gone. My ads.txt file is showing up on my site.
    I still have no ads, however, on my website. Can I assume that within 24-48 hours they will show up again? I’m just trying to figure out if they disappeared b/c of the ads.txt not being on my site. If this is not the reason they are gone, what else could it be?
    Thanks for any insight.

  32. I don’t think that ads.txt file impact on Earning. Now it’s complacency to put this file in our website folder so that google can detect can their code easily. If you have any idea to make profit out of it then please reply to me.

  33. Hey! Tyler Bishop nice article. I follow all steps but in blogger I have face issues to index my posts. My post not indexing in google. I have done everything in search console but my post not indexed. For this I do everything. my robots.txt file ok I check this several times. But my bad luck I don’t find the actual reason not indexing my post.

  34. This article is really helpful for me as I was using Adsense on my website but after getting a lot of profit from ezoic , I shifted here. Thanks allot keep you service like this.

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