Wherever services can be exchanged for money, you’ll find not-so-great artists trying to make as much money with as little effort as possible. Made-for-advertising sites are a barely-legal scam that everyone recognizes when they see it, but it’s still going to eat up around $20 billion dollars in ad spend this year. How does this happen, and – more importantly – how can you minimize its impact on your business? Genius Monkey is here to break down what you need to know about these sites and how to beat it.
The Industry is Still Working to Define MFA
While the term “MFA” has been around for some time, the details that define a site as such have never been truly standardized. Recently, four ad trade groups banded together to give a more concrete definition.
Made-for-advertising websites are designed to rake in marketing dollars while spending as little time and effort as possible on the content. They generally have:
- High percentage of paid traffic sourcing
- Ads that automatically play or refresh at a rapid pace
- High ad-to-content ratio
- Poor-quality content, i.e. poorly written, old information, or non-editorial
- Busy, unattractive website layout for more ad space
Besides this, MFA sites are known for daily content with a particularly aggressive social media push, using tactics such as misleading clickbait titles and partial screenshots. The key play for MFA is to spend less driving traffic than they make from marketing dollars, and unfortunately they have been largely successful.
Why MFA Sites Should Be Avoided As Much As Possible
It Wastes Your Money
MFA generally squeezes as many ads as possible on the page, sometimes overlapping other ads and obscuring the content. Jumbled up in a mess of text and images, there’s a high probability that your ad will not be noticed or seen, even if your metrics are tracking a lower CPM.
The Association of National Advertisers reported that an estimated $20 billion in ad spend is wasted every year on these sub-par advertising conditions. That’s as much as 23% of the ad spend of the entire programmatic industry!
Sometimes MFA content is poor-quality but ultimately harmless. Other times, however, it can upload viruses, display unwanted risqué imagery, and feature other malicious content that you don’t want your business name anywhere near. Getting your brand to stick in user’s minds is hard enough; you don’t want people associating your name with the unseemly side of the internet.
How MFA Sites Keep Getting Ad Space Filled
Ideally, every programmatic platform should use a verification system that checks a website’s visibility, ad frequency, traffic, context, and other variables to ensure that ads are served in a quality environment. If a site can exceed standards on one or more variables – particularly with high visibility and traffic – it can trick a verification system into thinking it’s a good place for ads.
One such trick is called “pixel stuffing” where the site shrinks down your advertisement to the size of a couple pixels. This technically renders them highly “visible” by existing relatively far away from other shrunk down ads, though the user cannot actually see the content. This tactic bloats your impression numbers and ad spend without any actual connection to your audience.
MFA sites use a variety of tricks like this, all the while boasting low CPMs and tantalizing verification systems with misleading stats. So how can your company avoid this scam and increase your ad spend efficiency?
Take Control of Your Programmatic Marketing
One of the most important things you can do to avoid MFA sites is use a platform that has a placement verification system and brand safety check in place. Programmatic is not a set-and-forget formula; it requires attention and subtle adjustments throughout the campaign to optimize for your audience and content. Different programmatic platforms use a variety of techniques, and not all are created equal.
Too many programmatic platforms out there will let campaigns run with no human oversite or adjustments, causing the technology to be tricked and your ad dollars wasted – Genius Monkey has always fought to be the opposite. Genius Monkey uses a triple-verification system that catches 130% more ad fraud than the industry average, leveraging a combination of A.I. and human oversight to not only make sure the ads are served in a quality environment, but ones that make sense for your target audience.
Creating an amazing advertisement is only a quarter of the battle; you need to also make sure it gets in front of the right people, at the right time, and in the right environment for them to notice and really engage with it. Genius Monkey has been a leader in the programmatic ad space for over a decade and we know how to safely get your ads in front of your target audience! Come and see how we can help evolve your marketing to the next level!