Add made-for-advertising (MFA) sites to the array of data signals the world’s biggest media agencies have begun filtering their programmatic buys for.
At least one, GroupM, has begun integrating signals that identify MFAs in the bid stream of the programmatic media buys it makes for its clients in order to weed them out.
The move, which follows a damning study released by the Association of National Advertisers in June, which found advertisers were wasting $13 billion – or about 15% of their programmatic media buys – on low-quality MFA sites, many of which publishing bogus content.
GroupM -- which already filters bidstream data for other meaningful signals governing brand safety, content quality, carbon impact -- has long been moving toward building its own premium programmatic marketplace via direct deals with quality publishers, but the new protections are part of an ongoing effort to safeguard clients from unsavory content and low-quality traffic.
“The challenges associated with MFA domains are likely to grow even more complex as the media ecosystem continues to evolve rapidly,” notes GroupM Senior Director of Global Investment, Programmatic Rory Latham, explaining why it is partnering with Jounce Media to filter MFAs out of its programmatic buys.
Jounce scrapes data signals from a variety of sources that enable it to identify publishers generating patterns such as low-quality traffic indicating they are MPAs.
Importantly, GroupM’s Latham noted that removing MFAs helps GroupM achieve one of its other programmatic filtering goals: reducing the carbon impact of programmatic buys because MFA sites contribute a significant carbon footprint.
Multiplying the estimated 44,000 MFA domains cited in the ANA’s report by as many as 35 supply-path connections Jounce estimates that a typical MFA domain executes and adds a lot of carbon to the pipeline.
“If you multiply those numbers, you’re talking about 1.5 million supply paths in a typical campaign,” says GroupM’s Latham.
While a variety of industry watchdogs – including the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and NewsGuard – have recently begun offering their own solutions for filtering MFA sites in response to the ANA report, GroupM’s deal with Jounce is believed to be the first internal solution by a major agency holding company.