Categories: Programmatic Advertising|By |2.5 min read|

What is Ads.txt?

Since it was first announced in June 2017 by the IAB Tech Lab (see Ads.txt – Authorized Digital Sellers) the entire AdTech world has adapted to ads.txt. We think ads.txt is a great and simple approach to ensure buyers know what they are buying, or at least be able to understand where they can buy certain domains. So, we are all in on ads.txt

However, today whilst there is rapid change on the AdTech side, publishers on a whole are still lagging behind from a deployment perspective. This will most certainly change over time, (especially if the threat of lost revenue is mentioned) but I thought it would be a good time to share some of the initiatives we’ve been working on at Gourmet Ads over the past few months.

So what are we doing around ads.txt ? The easy answer lots.

Custom ads.txt for Each Publisher

For a few months now, all publishers within their reporting console, have had access to a fully customized ads.txt they can download and save to the root folder of their website. Rather simple, but easy.

Built into WordPress Plugin 

Within our Publisher WordPress Plugin (that makes it super easy to install our ads tags) we save a customized ads.txt version for that website. Over time this will be refreshed automatically ensuring the latest setup is correct with all publishers.

Transparency to Buyers

Buyers already get an updated sitelist every month, so as part of it we’ve built in a column which indicates the publisher has installed ads.txt and we provide a link to it. We think this is important to buyers, header bidding partners and possibly DSPs in the coming months as they start to add ads.txt into buying algorithms.

ads.txt Specific Crawler

We’ve built a smart crawler that allows us to understand which of our publishers has ads.txt installed and who hasn’t. or who has it but hasn’t got the correct setup etc. We’re working on building reminders and alerts into our publisher console to help aid in the deployment.

Workflow in Onboarding new Publishers.
We’ve added to our comprehensive onboarding process, ads.txt which means before we fully sign off on a publisher installation, that we check ads.txt is in place. Simple but effective.

Compliance, Reporting and Targets
If we managed a handful of sites it would be really easy to ensure compliance. But managing 1700 publishers will mean it’s going to take some time to get 100% compliance. So, as we roll out all our ads.txt initiatives we’ve set reporting from a % perspective and realistically monthly goals towards this. I’d love to say we’ll be all done by the end of this month, but that’s not going to happen. Today we are around 20% compliant which is greater than the wider publisher industry on a whole but we’re going to work hard over the next quarter to get closer to the 100%. Change takes time.