Eye-opening new figures from a report by the US based ANA indicate that over 21% of online ad impressions come from made for advertising sites (MFAs), accounting for 15% of online spend.
MFAs operate with the sole objective of maximising advertising revenue and do little to provide quality content or a good user experience, relying on sensational “click bait” headlines to drive traffic to their sites.
The quest for cheap CPT’s had led to some advertisers prioritising quantity over quality, but this approach is not without cost. Best case scenario is an ad gets shown on a page so full of ads it gets little attention but the consequences can be more serious. “Pixel stuffing” means impressions can be served (and paid for) even when an ad is not visible on the page and appearing next to divisive, explicit or sensational content can lead to damaging brand associations. The ANA study reads, “It is hypothesised that the ‘long tail’ of the web adds minimal reach yet likely performs badly in areas such as fraud, viewability and brand safety.”
The ANA recommends that advertisers seek to balance quality and cost, seeking viewable, fraud free and brand safe inventory, even when it is associated with an increased CPT. The body suggests that global efficiency gains of $20bn could be achieved if course correcting improvements, such as reducing MFA spend were implemented.
None of this comes as a huge surprise to us. We know the benefits of online advertising, we love how it can enhance offline activity, how targeted it can be, how efficiently we can track response and sales but we also know how careful you need to be. Anyone can deliver impressions by the million but if they’re not in the right place, they won’t be doing any good and they could be harmful.
As an agency that specialises in Direct Response campaigns we keep a close eye on attributable results and we know that quality trumps quantity every time. This is why you won’t find any of our clients sitting on MFA sites, we only use sites we know to be trusted and reputable. What’s more, you’ll never, ever find us clicking on a button that promises to show us what the world’s heaviest cat looks like…never. Ever.