Our Simple Ads.txt Overview for 2020

Contributor, February 25, 2020

Ads.txt is a digital tool created by the IAB Tech Lab Project to enable publishers to allow for a public declaration of the companies that are approved to sell their digital inventory.

Developed to increase transparency in the programmatic advertising ecosystem, Ads.txt provides publishers the control over the end-to-end distribution of their inventory.

As a result, Ads.txt works to eliminate counterfeit inventory (display, video and mobile ad units) from being sold across the programmatic ecosystem.

According to recent reports regarding Ads.txt adoption, more than 70% of all publishers globally have adopted the standard.

How Does it Work?

By viewing a publisher’s Ads.txt file, prospective buyers will be in a position to evaluate requests being sent to their buying platform from websites, which in turn aims to raise confidence that the inventory they are seeking to purchase is 100% authentic and non-fraudulent.

Publishers put a file on their server that says exactly which companies they sell their inventory through.  The file lists partners by name, but also includes the publisher’s account ID.  This is the same ID buyers see in a bid request, which they can use as a key for campaign targeting.

Buyers use a web crawler to download all the ads.txt files and the information contained within on a regular basis and use it to target their campaigns.   This means buyers know that if they bid on request that comes from an authorized ID, it’s coming from a source the publisher trusts or has control over.

The emergence of Ads.txt marks a milestone in the industry and provides empowerment to publishers to take back control of who represents their inventory and brand.

Why You Should Know About Ads.Txt

The fight against fraud in the ecosystem appears be heating up as publisher adoption of the tool is increasing. Though only time will time how the ecosystem will look once both the Sell and Buy side integrate it into their products and processes.

From our experience throughout the rollout of Ads.txt over the past two years, we noticed that the big buyers & more and more buyers, in general, are not working with Publishers that did not implement the Ads.txt file on their site. Case in point, Google Display & Video 360 has defaulted to ads.txt inventory since August 2019.

Next Steps

Implementing ads.txt onto your website is an important step to take as a publisher. Actually, adding it is not as hard either though you don’t have to go at it alone. We would be more than happy to assist you.

If you are having any issues implementing an Ads.txt file onto your website, you can contact us on the form below.