Low-quality content is a waste of your time and money and, when it comes to your advertising budget, every dollar counts. Most advertisers waste over 12% of their programmatic display ad budget on made-for-advertising sites, that number climbs to 24% for programmatic web video. These fraudulent websites are everywhere, usually filled with spam, clickbait, and stolen content, making it harder to optimize your ad budget. Although made-for-advertising (MFA) sites can be hard to spot, there’s an easy way to avoid them while strengthening your ad targeting at the same time.

What You’ll Learn About Made-For-Advertising Sites

  • What are made-for-advertising websites?
  • How do low-quality websites avoid detection?
  • What is brand suitability?
  • How can you avoid MFA websites?
  • What is an inclusion and an exclusion list?
  • How can you reduce digital advertising waste?

Understanding Made-For-Advertising Sites

Made-for-advertising websites offer little valid to users with low-quality content, bad design, poor usability, high ad densities, rapid ad refresh rates and are primary visited inorganically through clickbait, clickjacking, paid traffic and other nefarious paths; they are designed to trick measurement, exploit metrics and sell ad slots. (As experts in MFA, DeepSee.io consulted with trades groups including the ANA, the 4A’s, WFA and ISBA to define it. Check out the definition here: https://www.aaaa.org/leading-trade-groups-define-made-for-advertising-websites/)

They frequently evade detection by displaying different content based on the user’s origin. For example with direct traffic, for example, a user may have a normal ad-viewing experience. However, if the site identifies paid traffic , it will aggressively serve the user with monetized ads. This type of dynamic behavior helps MFA sites to avoid scrutiny from advertising partners, allowing them to easily navigate compliance checks from supply site partners. Avoiding these websites is tricky since many of them have found ways to circumvent SSPs (Supply Side Platforms) that check for low-quality pages; so, often they go undetected, wasting millions of dollars in the process. (Check out our study on traffic arbitrage and made-for-advertising websites).

A Typical Made-For-Advertising Site

These fraudulent pages often host low-quality or stolen content to appear more legitimate. Combine that with a website that is overloaded with advertisements jockeying for position in front of the user, and you end up with a chaotic and unpleasant viewing experience for anyone visiting the page.

Placement on these sites is often relatively inexpensive, making it an attractive option for advertisers looking to get the greatest number of impressions out of their budget. These pages boast high view counts and completion rates due to non-stop ads but, unfortunately, the organic traffic to these websites is usually minuscule and inconsequential.

According to a recent study by the ANA find that MFA consumes 15% of advertising spend and produces 21% of impressions. (Source: https://www.ana.net/miccontent/show/id/rr-2023-06-ana-programmatic-transparency-first-look)

How Made-for-Advertising Websites Pose a Brand Suitability Risk

Brand suitability is centered on identifying a brand’s needs and increasing value through online content placement. Displaying high-quality ads alongside relevant content is the goal, but brand suitability is about finding the advertising space that fits your brand across multiple channels.

Made-for-advertising websites threaten brand suitability by placing your ads in an environment that discourages organic traffic. In a 2019 study, ads that were viewed in “high-quality mobile web environments” were seen “74% more favorably than the same advertisements seen in low-quality context.” By keeping programmatic ads on MFA sites, you reduce the quality of your brand suitability by not directly optimizing ad placement. It’s almost like throwing money away.

Avoiding Made-For-Advertising Websites

Brand suitability relies on being aware of your brand image. The clearer your vision is for your brand, the easier it is to target your advertisements to relevant websites. Putting your ad spend in the right places lets you effectively increase traffic and reduce digital advertising waste.

Part of finding a higher-quality environment for your advertisements involves developing an inclusion list that highlights the pages where your programmatic ads will succeed. Avoiding made-for-advertising websites gives you more control over where your ads are found. By narrowing in on these sites, you avoid the clickbait headlines that often drown out your ads while simultaneously creating a better space for consumers to view your content.

Deepsee.io offers our subscribers a Publisher Risk Portal for marketers who want to effectively and easily remove made-for-advertising sites from their inclusion list.

Our platform gives advertisers the ability to audit websites where their ads are displayed, as shown in their campaign delivery reports, to identify possible risks and avoid any pages that might host exploitative behavior. Deepsee.io also provides access to dynamic domain lists, manual domain lists, and other powerful tools to help agencies and advertisers increase the quality of their programmatic spending at scale.

Want to learn more? Get a free media audit from us and see the impact on your KPIs first hand.