Made-for-Advertising Sites: Why They Gobble Up Your Online Ad Budget

Imagine pouring money into online advertising, only to find it on websites filled with clickbait headlines and recycled content. This frustrating scenario is all too real, thanks to a type of website cleverly designed to siphon off your ad budget: Made-for-Advertising (MFA) sites.

What are “Made for Advertising” Websites?

“Made for advertising” websites are platforms specifically designed to host advertisements. Unlike traditional websites focusing on content creation or e-commerce, these platforms prioritize displaying ads as their primary function. They attract a large traffic volume through various means, such as search engine optimization (SEO), affiliate marketing, or social media promotion.

These websites come in different forms:

  1. Content Recommendation Platforms: These platforms use algorithms to recommend content based on user’s browsing behavior. They intersperse sponsored content and advertisements among these recommendations.
  2. Ad Networks: Ad networks aggregate ad space from various websites and offer them to advertisers. They often employ targeting options to ensure ads reach relevant audiences.
  3. Free Services with Ads: Some websites offer free services, such as email, file storage, or website hosting, in exchange for displaying ads to users.
  4. Social Media Platforms: While not exclusively designed for advertising, social media platforms offer robust advertising systems that allow businesses to target specific demographics with their ads.

According to Bob Hoffman

A few days ago, Adalytics reported that “made for advertising” websites (MFAs) were devouring ad dollars faster than Gen Z’s at a burrito truck. An MFA is a website built to attract ad dollars, not viewers. There are millions of them. There is no agreed-upon definition for an MFA, but here’s an example of what one might look like:
   a) It steals material from other sites
   b) Pastes it into its site
   c) Names itself something close to a legitimate site
   d) Attracts little to no real human traffic
   e) Contrives to look like a substantial site to the programmatic ad system.

MFA sites prioritize ad revenue over user experience. They churn out low-quality content, often sensationalized and irrelevant to your target audience. Their tactics include:

  • Clickbait headlines: Designed to outrage or intrigue you into clicking, but with little substance behind them.
  • High ad-to-content ratio: You’ll see more ads than the actual content on the page.
  • Rapidly refreshing ads: These intrusive formats disrupt your browsing experience.
  • Paid traffic: They rely on buying website visits instead of attracting a genuine audience.

The deceptive part? MFA sites often appear legitimate. They might boast high impressions (ad views) and low invalid traffic rates. But these metrics don’t translate to reaching real potential customers.

The high cost of low-quality clicks:

Industry studies show that MFA sites can consume a significant chunk of your online ad budget – up to 15%, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). That’s money wasted on clicks that won’t convert into sales or brand awareness. Worse, it can damage your brand image by associating it with irrelevant or low-quality content.

Taking control of your ad budget:

Here’s how to fight back against MFA sites:

  • Work with reputable ad networks: Choose platforms with robust measures to identify and exclude MFA sites from your campaigns.
  • Prioritize quality over reach: Focus on websites that align with your brand and target audience, even if it means fewer impressions.
  • Track and analyze campaign data: Monitor where your ads are showing and adjust your targeting accordingly.
  • Consider contextual targeting: This ensures your ads appear alongside relevant content, reaching the right people.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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