The MFA Report 2024: From Made for Advertising to Made for Attention

MFA Report 2024 Cover

Recent research from the Association of National Advertisers shows that low-quality websites are a major reason why 23% of programmatic ad spend is essentially squandered. This amounts to more than USD$100bn (£78.3bn) in wasted ad budget per year.

A primary subset of these low-quality domains are “made for advertising” (MFA) websites. Defined as low-quality sites designed with the specific purpose of advertising arbitrage, MFA websites have proved to be a quandary for the ecosystem. On the one hand, these are low-quality environments with low organic traffic, high ads-to-content ratios, generic content from higher-quality sources, and rapidly refreshing slots designed to capture as much ad spend as possible. On the other, they look fabulous on paper to advertisers focused on legacy metrics: high measurability, availability of inventory, viewability rates, and low levels of invalid traffic.

The problem is that these legacy metrics don’t correlate to business outcomes. Previously published data from Lumen shows that as much as 70% of technically viewable ads are entirely ignored. This is where programmatic losses, disguised as wins, start to affect campaign effectiveness and efficiency - the true price of ignorance. 

Buying MFA inventory incentivises advertising malpractice, encouraging publishers to rely on this source of revenue to remain competitive. MFAs are a threat to news media and other genuine content. Creators and buyers should take a strong stance against it to support the open web and the press. - Wilfried Carrie, global managing director, biddable media, Havas Media Network

But there is hope. The future will see a move from ‘made for advertising’ websites to ‘made for attention’ buying strategies. 

In partnership with ExchangeWire, Lumen wanted to understand how advertisers are planning media around MFA websites, and how attention-focused buying strategies can militate against spend wasted on these domains. To that end, we conducted a survey of 100 media professionals across the US and UK in April 2024, and interviewed leading marketers, to detail the current state of the market.

In the MFA Report 2024: From Made for Advertising to Made for Attention, we will cover: 

  1. The MFA landscape in 2024
  2. Media planning and current MFA strategies
  3. How attention can eliminate MFA ad waste
  4. Getting started with a Made for Attention strategy 
  5. The Made for Attention strategy: A case study
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