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The battle against deceptive practices is relentless.

A recent report by Adalytics has shed light on a concerning trend: the pervasive presence of ads on “Made for Advertising” (MFA) websites. Despite efforts from industry players to curb this phenomenon, the reality is stark – advertisers are unwittingly pouring millions of dollars into these low-quality platforms.

Adalytics groundbreaking analysis for a Fortune 500 advertiser has uncovered startling revelations. Despite initial assumptions of minimal exposure to MFA inventory, the truth was far from reassuring. Six months after the release of the ANA report on Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency, a staggering 94% of named brands participating in the study were still found on MFA sites. Even the Global Head of Media for the Fortune 500 company in question was taken aback by the extent of their presence on these dubious platforms. 

The term “Made for Advertising” encapsulates websites that are primarily designed for arbitrage, exploiting the ad ecosystem for profit. These sites are characterized by low-quality content and excessive ad placements, serving as a drain on advertising dollars and offering little genuine engagement opportunities.

Adalytics’ meticulous examination of various advertising channels – including programmatic, private marketplace, direct buy, social media, and retail media investments – revealed that the Fortune 500 brand had unknowingly allocated over $10 million to MFA websites. This eye-opening revelation underscores the urgent need for advertisers to scrutinize their ad placements rigorously.

Despite industry efforts to define and combat MFA sites, their prevalence persists. Major brands, continue to have their ads served on these platforms, both through programmatic and non-programmatic channels. Advertisers must remain vigilant against deceptive practices as the digital advertising landscape evolves.

What can advertisers do to better manage this wasted digital spend?

The first step is awareness. Adalytics’ findings serve as a wake-up call, prompting brands to re-evaluate their advertising strategies and prioritize transparency and integrity in their media placements. But awareness alone is not enough. Advertisers must take proactive steps to mitigate the risks associated with MFA sites. This includes implementing stringent ad verification processes, leveraging technology to identify and blacklist suspicious domains, and collaborating closely with trusted partners who prioritize brand safety and transparency.

At Ebiquity, we understand the importance of maximizing the value of your digital media investments. Our Digital Media Governance solution empowers advertisers to navigate the complex digital advertising ecosystem with confidence, ensuring that every dollar spent delivers maximum impact and ROI. Implementing the governance programme could reduce your wastage in digital by between 10-45%. 

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