The Ads.txt Information That Websites Should Know
Ads.txt is an ad ecosystem innovation that aims to eliminate the ability of bad actors to profit from counterfeit ad inventory in the open digital marketplace. As with any major ad ecosystem changes, improvements, or innovations, there is a lot of misinformation going around about the Ads.txt project.
Read our most recent updated article here:
What is Ads.Txt?
As mentioned above, Ads.txt is a project sponsored by the IAB and other market leaders aimed at eliminating domain-spoofing. This will prevent bad actors from profiting on the open digital marketplace.
The mission is to increase transparency in the ecosystem between advertisers and publishers. The project aims to remove parties that may be trying to misrepresent themselves (or their traffic) in the marketplace to acquire ads in exchange for revenue.
Ads.txt is a file that allows publishers to identify who can represent their inventory so that they can be authentically represented in front of buyers. This methodology allows publishers to verify that they are in fact who they say they are; allowing brands to safely buy inventory on their site (knowing that they will reach their intended audience).
Who is Ads.txt meant for?
There are a lot of different players involved in the Ads.txt project. It is meant to protect the programmatic system for both advertisers, publishers, and the major platforms that sit in-between. It is a way for publishers to authenticate themselves to buyers and platforms.
For publishers, Ads.txt will be something that will need to be implemented by your webmaster; however, it is not something to be taken lightly, as incorrectly implementing, validating, or leaving off potential buyers will almost certainly have a negative impact on digital ad revenue.
How does Ads.txt affect Google earnings?
Google is standing behind the Ads.txt project; they view it as a positive signal in the effort to clean up the digital ad space. As a platform for both advertisers and publishers, Google is a critical player in the market.
For publishers wondering how this may affect AdSense or the Google Ad Exchange (from the publisher side), it actually may end up playing a major role.
Google announced that in Q4 of 2018 that all Google advertiser products will only buy from ads.txt certified inventory by default. It is now the default in Google AdX and Google Ads, which means more advertisers are buying ads.txt inventory only.
This means publishers without an ads.txt file on their sites will miss out on that digital ad revenue from Google.
Is Ads.txt relevant to my website? (updated)
This is one of the most important and critical questions in the marketplace right now. Everyone knows why a bad actor would want to misrepresent themselves as the New York Times in order to secure ad revenue from potential advertisers, but what about websites that aren’t major brands?
Thought leaders on the subject claim that these efforts by bad actors currently exist with major brands and eventually trickle down to smaller sites; this gives them an incentive to implement something like Ads.txt as well so that they aren’t eventually spoofed in the marketplace.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Google and other ad platforms have configured their systems to only buy from ads.txt verified sites by default.
This means that web publishers without an ads.txt file will miss out on revenue that would have typically been provided through these platforms.
Many advertisers might not care about buying ads.txt inventory; however, few will likely change away from the default platform settings. This means the likelihood of missing out on revenue because of a missing ads.txt file is pretty high for all publishers.
Final verdict: Yes
Should you implement Ads.txt?
Ultimately, that’s up to every individual publisher (Read more here).
However, when implemented correctly, Ads.txt will help you ensure that you don’t miss out on revenue long-term when all of the ad platforms configure their advertisers to only buy from ads.txt verified publishers by default, which is already happening. While some sites have seen incremental positive changes in revenue since adding ads.txt, others have seen over 50% increase in their average EPMV.
More and more ad platforms are requiring or highly suggesting publishers have an ads.txt file. As more of these platforms do so, publishers who do not have an ads.txt file will lose out on revenue.
What are the risks and benefits of Ads.txt?
There is only one real risk, but it is a pretty major one.
If you implement Ads.txt incorrectly — improper validation, leave off buyers, incorrect file implementation — you will not be able to monetize any of the traffic affected by the error. This could range from all your revenue (improper validation or implementation) to revenue just from certain buyers (leaving off certain buyers in the file).
We recommend this free tool to ensure that your file is implemented correctly.
This means that it is critical for your webmaster to implement and validate the Ads.txt file correctly. Additionally, it is also very important that you have the most up-to-date file available to ensure that you aren’t excluding credible buyers from accessing your site (costing you competition and ad revenue).
Will anything change if a publisher does nothing in relation to Ads.txt?
Publishers who do not implement ads.txt will not be able to work with Google AdX or Google Ads right now. Additionally, publishers will almost certainly lose out on revenue if they don’t.
The ecosystem is now geared towards ads.txt and publishers without ads.txt files will see a decrease in the demand available to them through major platforms like Google.
It is highly recommended that publishers implement an ads.txt file.
Critical dates and information for Ads.txt
Google made ads.txt inventory only the default for advertisers on all of their buying platforms in Q4 of 2018.
What else should Ezoic users be aware of?
We recommend using Ads.txt Manager to implement your ads.txt file. It is free and easy-to-use.
Other valuable information about Ads.txt
If you implement Ads.txt, stay up to date on the progress of the project. You won’t want to miss any major changes that could affect your monetization in the future.
Other questions about Ads.txt? Leave them below.