Jul 10, 2023
There has been a lot of talk recently about MFAs, or “Made for Advertising” websites, following a recent ANA study. They divert up to 21% of advertisers' ad budgets. But the industry still grasps to get a clear picture of what MFAs really are. In fact, they can take a lot of shape. That’s the role of Ad Verification services like Adloox to flush them out. What you need to understand is: what is the economic model behind it, and why it is a really common yet elaborate advertising fraud scheme.
MFAs fraudsters create cheap mass traffic to resell it overpriced
The main strategy used by MFA publishers is simple:
They create cheap, replicable article websites on popular topics like news, food, sports, travel, etc. to attract organic traffic.
Their content production strategy involves AI-generated or adapted content.
They purchase forced, incentivized and robotic traffic which generates low- quality inbound traffic using clickbait methods, costing around $0.20/CPM.
They sell ad placements on ad exchange platforms for significantly higher prices, ranging from $2 to $5/CPM.
The largest MFAs generate hundreds of millions of unnecessary bid requests per day: between 15 and 20 BILLIONS according to our data.
How ‘Vanity KPIs’ makes it work
By artificially inflating and/or generating a lot of disinterested traffic, with a very high bounce rate, MFA publishers manage to put on a yield strategy, at the expense of advertisers. They happily take advantage of the OpenWeb model to divert advertising budgets. But then, one might wonder how this can go on for so many years? Well let's say that the industry in general is a victim of the principle of 'vanity KPIS' and metrics. For example, if MFA publishers manage to ensure a viewability rate above 90% on their sites, this will be enough not to attract attention. Good viewability and attention metrics will mislead by giving the impression of being a good site to advertise. But advertisers need to understand that this is not enough. Robotic or disinterested traffic has minimal conversion potential and tarnishes their brand image.
How Adloox fights MFAs, at scale
🔵 Data science: MFA detection is one of the main goal for Adloox’s research team. We capture a lot of data on multiple dimensions (web, traffic, semantic/lexical, behavioral, bidding ...) & we built statistical rules and ML models to identify MFA domains.
🔵 Monitoring: Our data analysts carry out reviews on a daily basis, to observe and analyze how these sites evolve and flush out even the most elaborate ones.
🔵 Native prebid: Adloox offers Prebid protection against MFAs on the main DSPs: Google Display & Video 360, Xandr and The Trade Desk.
Daily, Adloox blocks $30 million worth of media buys on MFAs.