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If you’re a WordPress publisher navigating the world of online ads, you’ve likely encountered the term “ads.txt.” This comprehensive guide is designed to demystify ads.txt, providing insights into its significance, the creation process, and crucial implementation details, particularly for AdSense users on WordPress. While the primary focus is on AdSense, the principles discussed are applicable to various ad networks and content management systems.
What is Ads.txt?
Ads.txt, a standard introduced by the IAB Tech Lab, tackles the pervasive issue of ad fraud in the digital advertising space. It serves as a verification tool, allowing advertisers to confirm a publisher’s authorization for a specific media agency to sell ad space on their site.
Fun fact: The acronym “ads” in “ads.txt” stands for Authorized Digital Sellers.
For WordPress users, the creation of the ads.txt file can be a manual process or facilitated by plugins. Notably, the popular Site Kit plugin does not manage ads.txt. An alternative solution is the use of plugins like Advanced Ads, which streamlines the creation and integration of the ads.txt file into your WordPress site.
Step-by-Step Guide with Advanced Ads
- Install and activate Advanced Ads.
- Navigate to Advanced Ads > Settings > General > Ads.txt.
- Enter the required information and save the settings.
- Advanced Ads can recognize and import third-party ads.txt entries.
- Verify the results under your domain (yourdomain.com/ads.txt).
Manually Adding Ads.txt in WordPress: A Step-by-Step Guide
You can manually create and add one to ensure proper verification of your publisher ID. Follow these steps to seamlessly integrate ads.txt into your site:
- Create an ads.txt file:
- Use a plain text editor like Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac) to create a new text (.txt) file.
- Sign in to your AdSense account.
- Navigate to your site with the “Not found” ads.txt status.
- Click “Copy” to copy the line provided.
- Paste the line into your ads.txt file. The format should resemble:
google.com, pub-0000000000000000, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0.
- Include other ad networks (Optional):
- If you use additional ad networks, add their information to your ads.txt file. Contact the respective ad network for their ads.txt details.
- Upload ads.txt to the root directory:
- The root directory is the folder following the top-level domain (e.g., example.com/ads.txt).
- Upload your ads.txt file to this location.
- Verify correct publication:
- Confirm the correct publication by accessing the ads.txt URL in your web browser (https://example.com/ads.txt). If you can view the file, AdSense is likely to successfully find it.
- Add your publisher ID (if missing):
- If your publisher ID is missing, sign in to your AdSense account.
- Navigate to the site with the “Unauthorized” ads.txt status.
- Click “Copy” to copy your publisher ID.
- Paste the line into your ads.txt file.
- Check for updates:
- If you make changes to your ads.txt file and they’re not immediately reflected, ask AdSense to recheck.
- Sign in to your AdSense account, go to “Sites,” select the site, and click “Check for updates.”
By following these steps, you can manually add and manage the ads.txt file in WordPress, ensuring a smooth and verified integration of your publisher ID for improved ad space authorization.
The ads.txt file, a straightforward text document, contains a list of accounts authorized to sell ad inventory. Different types of entries include accounts owned by the domain owner, networks, and more.
Example of Ads.txt for AdSense:
google.com, pub-0000000000000000, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0
- Ads.txt should be placed in the root domain.
- Entries consist of Data Records, Variable Declaration Records, and Comments.
- Regular bot checks ensure ads.txt correctness.
Site Kit Limitations
It’s essential to note that Site Kit, a popular WordPress plugin, does not manage the ads.txt file. Publishers must take manual control or leverage alternative solutions like Advanced Ads.
Reference: AdSense Ads.txt auto placement via SiteKit #371
Alternative Ads.txt Plugins
For those seeking alternatives, several plugins cater to ads.txt management. A quick search on WordPress.org yields a variety of options.
Reference: Search results for: ads.txt
Testing and Accessibility
After implementation, testing accessibility via HTTP and HTTPS is crucial. The ads.txt file should be accessible without the www prefix.
Example URLs for Testing:
Note: An ads.txt file on
www.domain.com/ads.txt will only be crawled if
domain.com/ads.txt redirects to it. Ensure accessibility via both HTTP and HTTPS.
Google Adsense Support
Google Adsense provides support for ensuring ads.txt files can be crawled. Publishers are advised to wait for a few days for the ads.txt status to update, especially if the site doesn’t generate many ad requests.
Ads.txt plays a pivotal role in the fight against ad fraud and promotes transparency in digital advertising. While not mandatory, its adoption is encouraged by ad networks. For WordPress publishers, understanding the limitations of plugins like Site Kit and utilizing alternatives like Advanced Ads ensures effective ads.txt implementation. Stay informed, test your implementation, and contribute to a healthier online advertising ecosystem.