IAB urges industry to reduce ad spend on Made for Advertising sites

Jonas Jaanimagi - Technology Lead, IAB Australia (1)

21% of impressions and 15% of spending via programmatic buying are wasted on MFA sites.

IAB Australia has urged the Australian advertising industry to take Made for Advertising (MFA) sites more seriously and work collaboratively to minimise ad spend on these sites and with any associated participants.

To help with understanding the issue, the IAB Executive Tech Council has issued a Made for Advertising guidance paper with clear definitions and recommendations.

The guidance paper describes MFAs as a blatant waste of investment for brands that expose their ad campaigns to such sites, and says that MFAs are harmful for publishers that invest resources into quality content. It also noted MFAs result in poor consumer experiences, which erodes trust in the industry.

Jonas Jaanimagi, IAB Australia’s tech lead, said: “Our goal with this document is to support each part of the ecosystem with guidance that will not only reduce exposure to MFA sites – but as a direct consequence, reduce wastage, benefit genuine publishers, ameliorate consumer experiences online, and ultimately improve both campaign performance and advertising ROI.

“Our guidance is not exhaustive, but we highly recommend that buyers, sellers and vendors review and consider these recommendations. We welcome feedback from all on our guidance.”

IAB has indicated that it will be providing additional information later this year and has invited industry participants to provide case studies, analytics-based insights, or further recommendations.

MFA sites are built on catchy headlines, clickbait, and controversial content to drive traffic and ad revenue.

IAB said that MFA sites are not always sources of fraudulent inventory, however, once a brand’s campaign gets stuck in the world of MFA, it leads to wasted ad spend.  

Media quality concerns regarding MFA websites are increasingly significant for advertisers. In June 2023, the ANA released a report indicating that 21% of impressions and 15% of spending via programmatic buying were wasted on MFA sites.

These websites typically rely on attention-grabbing headlines, clickbait, and controversial content to boost page views and ad revenue. MFA sites often provide substandard content and employ tactics such as pop-up ads, auto-play videos, and other intrusive advertising methods to maximise revenue.

Top image: Jonas Jaanimagi

To Top