People with malicious intentions are always on the go to trick ad platforms with fake clicks, fake impressions, and domain spoofing. Such ad frauds cost lakhs and crores of rupees to be wasted by advertisers and publishers every year. An ads.txt file is what protects publishers from such ad frauds. It is an initiative brought about by IAB Tech Lab, a non-profit organization, that permits publishers to declare who can sell their ads on their website. This initiative is supported by Google’s advertising platforms like Google Adsense, Ad Exchange, and Doubleclick; and other leading digital advertising platforms too. This idea has helped improve digital advertising standards today and potentially increase ad revenues for businesses. So, if you want to achieve the benefits of this program too, you need to learn how to create and manage an ads.txt file in WordPress.
But, before we start, it is imperative that you understand how the ads.txt file works. The ads.txt file improves transparency of online advertising by allowing publishers to announce who can sell their ad inventory. If a particular individual approaches an advertiser saying that they can display the advertiser’s ad on their website, it is better to check the website’s ads.txt file first. Doing so will show whether the company has the permission to sell advertising space on the website or not. This data is publically available, and can be crawled, stored, and searched by advertisers, publishers, and resellers.
Now, let us see how to create an ads.txt file. First of all, you will have to install and activate the Ads.txt Manager plugin, and then visit the Settings >> Ads.txt page to configure the plugin settings. This provides a simple text area where a line can be added to affirm each individual platform or reseller. The statement is depicted as follows.
[domain],[publisher ID],[direct/reseller],[advertising platform ID]
- The domain is that of the company permitted to sell/resell your ad inventory.
- The publisher ID corresponds to your account ID in the advertising platform.
- The third option declares the relation type – whether it is direct or reseller.
- The last field represents the ID of the advertising platform.
Easy creating an ads.txt file, right? But, remember to replace the default ID in the second field to your own publisher ID, or you may receive the following error message in your Google Adsense account –
“Earnings at risk – One or more of your ads.txt files doesn’t contain your AdSense publisher ID. Fix this now to avoid severe impact to your revenue.”
This warning indicates that your ads.txt file does not have your publisher ID. But, don’t worry. It is very easy to solve this error. All you have to do is go to Settings >> Ads.txt page and input the correct publisher ID in the plugin settings.
Nevertheless, note that an ads.txt file is supposed to be in the root directory of a domain name, which is why the plugin works only for root level domains, and not for WordPress installed in sub-domains, sub-directories, or a single site in a multi-site network.
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