What is Ads.txt and How does it work?

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What is Ads.txt and How does it work

Publishers and distributors can use Ads.txt to publicly list the companies that they have authorized to sell their digital inventory using an easy, flexible, and secure method. Buyers can use this file to locate the ads of a particular publisher or network.

Google AdSense introduce ads.txt in the hopes that it will help prevent the very thing it is currently experiencing: ad fraud. Digital ad-blocking tools and bots can now look at ads.txt data to verify if an inventory seller is authorized to sell that site’s inventory and take action if they are not.

This tool will end up saving advertisers, publishers, and consumers money as well as preventing Google from losing money every time a valid publisher’s inventory is stolen and sold to smaller, unauthorized sites.

What is Ads.txt?

Ads.txt is an initiative to improve the transparency of programmatic advertising on the open web by allowing publishers to list authorized digital sellers of their inventory in a text file on their domain. When a publisher adds this file, advertisers can use it to determine if they’re buying legitimate inventory from that publisher or not.

The main purpose of Ads.txt is to combat domain spoofing and help improve ad quality by increasing transparency in the marketplace, which should ultimately benefit everyone involved when it comes time for brands to negotiate advertising deals with publishers who sell ad space on behalf of third parties.

How does Ads.txt work?

Ads.txt files are hosted on publishers’ websites and contain one line per partner that’s authorized to sell their ads (e.g., “1234567890” as an example). If an ad buyer sees this file on your site, then it knows you have authorized DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM)—DBM’s own demand-side platform (DSP)—as well as Pubmatic, Amazon Associates Program, and many other partners to sell your inventory across the web.

Once you’ve uploaded your ads.txt file to your site, it will be publicly available to anyone who wants to crawl the site and read it. It’s a simple text file with a list of companies that are authorized to sell ads on your site.

In order for an ad server or other company to know that they can buy ads on your website, they need this list of authorized players. If they don’t find one there, then they won’t buy any inventory from you (and no ad revenue for you!).

Advantages of using Ads.txt

Ads.txt also has a number of advantages for publishers, advertisers, and partners:

  • Increase transparency and control for publishers through explicit declarations
  • Protect against domain spoofing with lists published by authorized sellers.
  • Help protect publisher revenue from unauthorized resellers who claim to sell publisher inventory, but instead sell it themselves to advertisers.

Bottom line

The ads.txt standard is designed to prevent unauthorized sellers of ad space on a publisher’s website, commonly known as “media entities” or “demand partners,” from selling their advertising space on a website without the publisher’s consent. Ads.txt also helps publishers obtain more revenue for their inventory and a greater share of the money being spent on digital ads.

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