Why Keeping Ads.Txt Updated is Vital for Publishers

September 29, 2023

Rapid Rise of Digital Advertising and Ad Fraud

The rapid expansion of the digital advertising market has posed a formidable challenge with the rise of ad fraud.  Per eMarketer, global expenditure on digital advertising will soar to $586 billion by the end of 2023, accounting for 65.9% of total media ad spending. Statista has estimated that likewise, digital advertising fraud worldwide would also grow exponentially. 

One of the most infamous instances of ad fraud was the case of Methbot, which, in early 2016, pilfered a staggering $3 to $5 million daily from unsuspecting advertisers. Adapex is committed to working with our publisher partners to put an end to these impostors once and for all.

Ads.txt: IAB Tech Lab’s Answer to Ad Fraud

In May 2017, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab introduced ads.txt as a countermeasure against ad fraud in programmatic advertising. However, the widespread adoption of ads.txt gained momentum when Liane Nadeau, VP and Director of Programmatic at DigitasLBi, issued an open letter to all publishers, delivering an ultimatum that failure to implement ads.txt might result in the loss of advertisers.

Quick Review: What is Ads.txt?

Ads.txt is a publicly accessible text file where publishers catalog authorized partners for the sale and resale of their ad inventories on a website. This empowers advertisers to verify the legitimacy of the ad inventories they purchase.

Ads.txt is created to stop domain spoofing, a type of ad fraud where imposters trick advertisers into showing ads on their sites by pretending to own premium sites. It helps publishers prove they’re genuine partners.

Keeping your Ads.txt Updated is Critical

Publishers need to keep on top of ongoing and consistent updates to their ads.txt files or they will see potential loss of revenue. Neglecting to keep these files current could open the door to unauthorized inventory sales, bot traffic, or fraudulent activities, which in turn can undermine the trust of advertisers. 

This loss of trust may lead advertisers to divert their investments elsewhere, causing a direct impact on a publisher’s earnings. Therefore, maintaining an accurate and up-to-date Ads.txt file is not just a best practice; it’s a crucial safeguard to ensure that publishers continue to maximize their revenue and maintain the confidence of their advertising partners.

Benefits of Ads.txt Maintenance 

  • Maximize Advertiser Spend: Keeping your ads.txt files current is crucial because it ensures your eligibility for all platform ad campaigns. As platforms frequently update default buyer settings, having up-to-date files means more advertisers can bid for ad space on your site, leading to increased revenue. Additionally, DSP and SSP partners may modify or retire their ads.txt lines, underscoring the importance of always having the most current lines to avoid revenue loss. Consistently updating your ads.txt guarantees that you know which entities are authorized to sell your inventory, leaving no potential ad revenue untapped.
  • Enhanced Buyer Trust: Up-to-date ads.txt files provide buyer verification, allowing buyers to confidently confirm they’re purchasing from a trustworthy source. By promptly removing any sellers or resellers with whom you no longer collaborate, you ensure that your inventory accurately represents your partnerships, instilling buyer confidence and trust.
  • Unlock Cookieless Revenue: Unlike highly competitive cookie-based reseller lines, cookieless reseller lines promote competition for your under-monetized inventory. Don’t miss out on demand from over 10 DSPs eager to target your previously unaddressable inventory, potentially increasing your revenue streams.

How to Keep Your Ads.txt Up to Date

Ensuring the integrity of your Ads.txt files involves these key steps:

  • Regular Monitoring. Conduct consistent checks to identify any missing partners or errors in your Ads.txt file, such as typos or incorrect numbers and symbols. These seemingly minor issues can have a significant impact, potentially leading to consistently low buyer bid rates. Low bid rates result in fewer ad impressions, reduced fill rates, and ultimately, decreased revenue.
  • Ongoing Vendor Communication.
    Maintain continuous communication with your most valued SSP partners through scheduled quarterly business reviews. This practice allows you to stay updated on what’s working well, what’s delivering value, and what might require adjustments. Staying in sync with your partners ensures a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Leverage Cookieless Reseller Lines. 
    It’s worth emphasizing that cookieless reseller lines differ from traditional resellers reliant on cookies. These cookieless reseller lines enhance competition for your undervalued inventory, potentially unlocking additional revenue streams.
  • Automatic Updates.  Adapex offers a comprehensive solution to enhance publisher partners’ Ads.txt management. With this tool, we identify errors and missing links in your Ads.txt and then provide an update automatically.  This relieves publishers of the hassle of manually checking and updating their Ads.txt files.

Always remember that Ads.txt serves as a transparency tool in the ecosystem, showcasing authorized partners who can sell your inventory. Failing to set up and maintain your file correctly could inadvertently block potential advertising partners from running campaigns on your site.

Conclusion: The Importance of Keeping Ads.txt Up to Date

In conclusion, the importance of keeping Ads.txt files up to date cannot be overstated in today’s digital advertising landscape. With ad fraud posing a persistent threat and digital advertising spending on the rise, maintaining the integrity of these files is not just a best practice but a safeguard for publishers. It ensures eligibility for platform ad campaigns, enhances buyer trust, and unlocks cookieless revenue streams. 

Failing to update Ads.txt files could lead to revenue loss and undermine the trust of advertisers. In this era of transparency and accountability, staying vigilant and proactive in Ads.txt maintenance is the key to maximizing revenue and preserving the integrity of the digital advertising ecosystem.

Adapex continuously supports our partners in efficiently maintaining and optimizing their ads.txt files. This proactive approach ensures a strong defense against ad fraud while maximizing revenue potential.

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