Need to add an ads.txt file to WordPress? Or, have no idea what an ads.txt file is?
If either of those situations applies to you, you should read this Ads.txt Admin review because I'm going to:
- Explain what ads.txt is and whether or not your WordPress site needs it.
- Show you how you can use the free Ads.txt Admin plugin to easily add and manage an ads.txt file for your WordPress site.
I'll start by explaining ads.txt in general. Then, I'll dig into how the plugin helps you add and manage your ads.txt file (it's pretty simple!).
What Is Ads.txt?
Normally, I like to start off my reviews with the plugin's features. But I think that ads.txt itself is going to be a foreign concept to a lot of webmasters so it deserves some explanation before digging into the plugin.
Like robots.txt, ads.txt is a simple file that allows you to communicate important information via code.
The difference is that, while robots.txt focuses on how crawler bots interact with your website, ads.txt focuses on...you guessed it, advertisements.
So why do you need a file that communicates behind-the-scenes information about advertisements?
Well, it all has to do with the sometimes super shady world that is programmatic advertising.
With programmatic advertising, you don't sell your inventory to a specific advertiser, but instead open it up to the highest bidder. Placing Google AdSense on your site is probably the best example for most WordPress sites if you're not familiar, but there are tons of these companies.
What's The Problem With Programmatic Advertising?
There's nothing inherently wrong with programmatic advertising. But because it's all done programmatically, there are lots of opportunities for fraud.
Unscrupulous people do things like:
- Sell phantom ad inventory on sites they don't own
- Put ad inventory on different sites than the one listed
These various types of fraud were such a big issue that the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) came up with ads.txt.
So What Does Ads.txt Do Then?
Ads.txt lets you explicitly list all of the places that are allowed to sell the ad inventory on your website.
You put all of the services that are authorized to sell your site's advertising inventory in the file. Then:
- Advertising systems can verify that they're actually allowed to sell inventory on a site
- Individuals can verify that the site they purchase ad inventory on actually supports the advertising system
Essentially, the goal is all about increasing transparency in programmatic advertising by creating a public record of exactly who is allowed to sell a website's ad inventory.
Is Ads.txt Actually Used By Services?
Yes! While not all services require you to use ads.txt, most at least recommend that you use ads.txt on your site.
For example, here's how Google phrases it in the AdSense support docs:
You don't have to use ads.txt, but we recommend that you do. An ads.txt file can help buyers identify counterfeit inventory and help you receive more advertiser spend that might have otherwise gone toward that counterfeit inventory.
Does Every WordPress Site Need An Ads.txt File?
No. Like I said, Ads.txt focuses on a specific thing:
So if you're not selling ads on your site via programmatic services, you don't need to worry.
But if you are selling ads via services like:
- Google AdSense
Then you should definitely consider using ads.txt on your site to prevent unauthorized resellers from misrepresenting your inventory.
Additionally, some services will actually require that you list them in your ads.txt file in order to use the service. So while ads.txt is optional for something like Google AdSense, it might be required for other services.
What The Ads.txt Admin WordPress Plugin Does
Ok, so now that you know what ads.txt is, here's how Ads.txt Admin can actually help you:
- It creates the ads.txt file for you.
- It lets you manage all of your authorized sellers or resellers right from your WordPress dashboard, without needing to manually edit the file on your server.
Yup! It really is that simple. And better yet, it's all free and listed at WordPress.org
Here's how it works:
Hands-on With Ads.txt Admin
Once you install and activate Ads.txt Admin, there's nothing that you need to configure.
Instead, you can go straight to the Ads.txt Admin by Unveil Media tab in your dashboard to manage your ads.txt file:
To use the plugin, all you need to do is enter the four parts that make up an ads.txt entry:
- Domain name of the advertising system - the actual domain name of the approved advertising system.
- Publisher's Account ID - your own account ID at that advertising system.
- Type of Account/Relationship - whether you're selling directly via this service or it's a reseller.
- Certification Authority ID - this is an ID that identifies the advertising system. You should be able to get it from each individual advertising system.
For example, here's how that information might look if you wanted to add Google AdSense to your ads.txt file:
Once you save the file, you can click the Open ads.txt file link to see the actual ads.txt file on your server:
And if you ever need to remove authorized advertising systems, you can either:
- Click the Remove button to remove a single advertiser
- Click the No Authorized Sellers / Resellers to remove all advertising systems
That's pretty much all there is to the plugin! It's simple, but if you need to create an ads.txt file, it makes the process a lot simpler.
How Much Does Ads.txt Admin Cost?
Here's the fun part:
Ads.txt Admin is 100% free with no restricted features.
You get everything in the plugin without paying a dime.
Final Thoughts On Ads.txt Admin
Ads.txt Admin is definitely solving a niche problem, so it's not something that every WordPress site is going to need.
But if you do sell ad space programmatically (which a lot of WordPress sites do), you should use an ads.txt file on your site to control the authorized advertising systems.
And if you need to add an ads.txt file to WordPress, Ads.txt Admin makes the process about as painless as it can be.
You won't need to ever look at any code or upload files with FTP. Just enter the information for each advertising system through the human-friendly interface. And if you ever need to remove an authorized seller, all you need to do is click the Remove button, rather than needing to dig into your file manually.
So, if you need to use ads.txt on your WordPress site, Ads.txt Admin solves the problem well. Give it a look!