Ads.txt Error – Check, Fixes and Causes in WordPress Websites

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Last updated on March 26th, 2024 at 06:48 am

Do you want to know “How to Fix Ads.txt Error”?

Imagine you’re running a website and you want to make sure that only the right people can sell ad space on it.

You don’t want scammers to trick advertisers.

Do you know around 41% of the top 10,000 websites have ads.txt errors, which means it’s a common issue?

So, there’s this organization called the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) that came up with a simple text file called ads.txt (Authorized Digital Sellers).

It’s like a list where website owners can say who’s allowed to sell ads on their site.

But here’s the catch: sometimes, making and managing this list can be tricky because mistakes and problems can pop up.

This article will help you understand how to fix ads.txt errors.

What exactly is ads.txt Error?

Think of ads.txt as a VIP guest list for your website.

It’s a file that tells advertisers which companies are authorized to sell ad space on your site.

Now, an ads.txt error is like having a typo on that VIP list.

It can confuse advertisers and cause issues with displaying ads.

Checking for ads.txt Errors

Imagine you’re the bouncer at the entrance of a club.

You want to make sure everyone on the VIP list is correct, right?

Similarly, checking for ads.txt errors means making sure the information in that file is accurate.

Over 20% of the top 5,000 websites have ads.txt errors, which can lead to potential revenue loss.

So, it’s crucial to regularly inspect and fix any mistakes.

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Common Causes of ads.txt Errors

Picture this: you’re planning a party, and you accidentally misspell a friend’s name on the invitation.

Ads.txt errors happen for similar reasons.

Typos, missing information, or even outdated details can lead to errors.

In fact, 43% of ads.txt errors are due to simple mistakes.

Regularly updating and double-checking the file can help prevent these errors and keep your website’s ad game strong.

How to Fix Ads.txt Error?

fix ads.txt error in wordpress

Using ads.txt on your website to show authorized advertisers can sometimes lead to mistakes that cause problems with ads and reduce your earnings.

These mistakes could be putting things in the wrong place, using old web links, or not using the right format.

Even a tiny error in the ads.txt file can stop ads from showing correctly and make you lose money.

1. Correcting Syntax Errors

Syntax errors in the ads.txt file occur when the formatting is incorrect, leading to a failure in recognizing the content by ad verification systems.

These errors often result from missing or misplaced characters, incorrect delimiters, or improper spacing.

It is essential to adhere to the correct syntax to ensure the ads.txt file is properly interpreted.

Example of a syntax error in ads.txt:

# Incorrect format – missing comma

google.com pub-1234567890 DIRECT f08c47fec0942fa0

# Correct format – separated by a comma

google.com, pub-1234567890, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

2. Resolving Domain Authorization Errors

Domain authorization errors occur when a publisher lists an unauthorized seller or reseller in their ads.txt file.

This can happen if a publisher mistakenly includes a third-party reseller without granting them permission to sell their ad inventory.

Example of a domain authorization error in ads.txt:

# Unauthorized seller listed

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example.com, reseller-5678901234, RESELLER, abcdefghijklmnop

# Authorized seller listed

example.com, pub-9876543210, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

3. Handling Incorrectly Formatted Fields

Incorrectly formatted fields in ads.txt can lead to errors and result in ad verification systems being unable to process the information correctly.

Common formatting issues include missing or misplaced columns, incorrect account type values, and typos in the publisher or seller IDs.

Example of an incorrectly formatted field in ads.txt:

# Incorrect account type value

example.com, pub-1234567890, DIRRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

# Correct account type value

example.com, pub-1234567890, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

4. Dealing with Missing or Incorrect Data

Missing or incorrect data in the ads.txt file can create significant issues in the ad serving process.

It is important to ensure that all the required fields are present and contain accurate information.

Publishers should regularly review their ads.txt file and cross-check the data with the details provided by their ad partners.

Example of missing data in ads.txt:

# Missing account type and certification authority ID

example.com, pub-1234567890

# Complete data with DIRECT account type and certification authority ID

example.com, pub-1234567890, DIRECT, abcdefghijklmnop

5. Validating ads.txt Changes

Before implementing any changes to the ads.txt file, it is essential to validate the modifications to avoid potential errors.

One way to do this is by using any ads.txt validator tool provided by industry organizations or third-party services.

These tools analyze the ads.txt file for syntax errors, missing fields, and unauthorized sellers, ensuring that the file is properly structured and compliant with the IAB standards.

A simple error can lead to ads not displaying correctly or, in the worst-case scenario, the site losing ad revenue due to misconfigurations.

For instance, let’s say a publisher wants to add a new authorized seller to their ads.txt file:

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# Current ads.txt entry

example.com, pub-1234567890, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

# Updated ads.txt entry with new authorized seller

example.com, pub-1234567890, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

new-seller.com, pub-9876543210, DIRECT, abcdefghijklmnop

6. Uploading the Corrected ads.txt File

After making necessary corrections and ensuring the ads.txt file is validated, the next step is to upload the corrected file to the website’s root directory.

The publisher should upload the ads.txt file to the root directory of their domain, accessible at https://example.com/ads.txt.

You can use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or their website’s content management system (CMS) to access the server and replace the existing ads.txt file with the updated version.

7. Verifying Changes

After updating and uploading the corrected ads.txt file, publishers should verify that the changes are successfully implemented.

Verification can be done by manually checking the file’s content or using various online tools and resources that can validate the ads.txt file against known ad networks and sellers.

Also, publishers should monitor their ad performance and revenue to ensure that the ad delivery process remains uninterrupted and that authorized sellers are correctly representing their inventory.

Wrapping Up – How to Fix Ads.txt Error

Understanding how to fix ads.txt errors is important for publishers to maintain a transparent and secure advertising ecosystem.

The correct implementation of ads.txt not only helps prevent fraudulent activities and ad misrepresentations but also builds trust with advertisers and ad networks.

A clean and accurate ads.txt file streamlines the ad delivery process, leading to increased ad revenue and a positive user experience for website visitors.