3 Minute Read

Put your developer hat on — it’s time to create your very own ads.txt file. 

The process is relatively straightforward as far as ad tech goes, but it’s important to get it right. The tiniest mistakes with ads.txt can slow down or even completely stop revenue from flowing through the programmatic ecosystem and landing in your pockets.

But with this quick and simple guide to writing your ads.txt file, you won’t have to worry about that too much. Let’s dive in.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple, one-step solution to creating and implementing your ads.txt file? There is — it’s Playwire. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

-- Article Continues Below --

ABCya Case Study

Learn how Playwire helped ABCya save time and increase their revenue.

What is an Ads.txt File?

If you were trying to build, say, a bicycle, but you didn’t know what bicycles were supposed to do, you would probably have a hard time building a good one. The same goes for ads.txt files. You need to fully understand what these files are and how they’re supposed to work before you start trying to put one together.

Your ads.txt file is a text file hosted on the root domain of your website. It’s an essential part of the IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt initiative because it tells advertising buyers which sellers you have authorized to sell your digital ad inventory.

In its simplest form, your ads.txt file is a list of the sellers you have authorized. And if you want to participate in ads.txt — which helps prevent ad fraud and shows buyers that your inventory is high-quality and can be trusted — you have to have one.

Creating an Ads.txt File

To get an ads.txt file onto your website, you will have to create one. You can get really fancy with these files, including items like comments and variables, as well as dynamic updating. But you don’t have to. For an ads.txt file to work, it has to include just a few pieces of information for each seller you want to authorize. Below, we’ll cover what you need to know to create a simple ads.txt file.

Understanding the Ads.txt Fields

To actually authorize a seller to sell your ad inventory, you need to include specific bits of information in your ads.txt file. Through automation or manual review, buyers can check these pieces of information in your ads.txt file to make sure the seller is legitimate.

Here are the four key fields to include for each seller:

  1. Name. This is either the business name or domain name of the seller you are authorizing.
  2. Your ID. Inside the supply-side platform (SSP) or exchange you are authorizing, you will have a unique publisher ID, which you will include in this field.
  3. Relationship. This field defines the relationship between your inventory and the seller you are authorizing. Options here include DIRECT and RESELLER.
  4. TAG ID. If the seller you are authorizing is certified with the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), you can include their TAG ID to show this certification to buyers. This field is optional.

    -- Article Continues Below --

Math Playground Case Study

Math Playground case study

Putting Them All Together

With the required information in hand, you’re ready to write the first line of your ads.txt file. Begin by opening a blank text file in Notepad (PC) or TextEdit (Mac). Then, put each of the four pieces of information described above on a single line. Separate each with a comma.

That’s it — you’ve added an authorized seller to your ads.txt file. To add more sellers, it’s a simple matter of lather, rinse, repeat. Starting on a new line of the file, add the four pieces of information for the next seller. Repeat that until you’ve added all your sellers.

What makes it even simpler: your demand partners should be able to simply provide you the entire line you need to add to your ads.txt entry if you ask.

Building an Ads.txt File with Google AdSense

Because Google has been pro-ads.txt since the project’s inception, Google AdSense has made it easy to get your ads.txt file started. You can download an ads.txt file — with Google listed as an authorized seller — from your AdSense account.

Inside your AdSense dashboard, find Sites. Click the down arrow and find "Create an ads.txt file for..." You will see an ads.txt file when you click this, but keep in mind that, if you

would like to authorize sellers in addition to Google, this won’t be a complete file. You will have to manually add your other sellers. When you’re done, click download.

Never Worry About Your Ads.txt File Again with Playwire

While creating an ads.txt file is a fairly simple task in the world of coding and web development, it’s not something that your average publisher can just sit down and do well in an afternoon. The problem, though, is that you don’t have to just do it well — you have to do it perfectly. Otherwise, you risk breaking the authorization of those who sell your inventory, which means your revenue tanks.

That’s enough to get top billing in most publishers’ nightmares. The good news is that you don’t have to worry about it at all. You just have to let Playwire handle it.

Apply Now