Leading Trade Groups Define “Made For Advertising” Websites | About the ANA | ANA

Leading Trade Groups Define “Made For Advertising” Websites

ANA, 4A’s, WFA, and ISBA Reveal How Marketers Can Easily Identify MFAs

NEW YORK (September 26, 2023) A consortium of marketing and advertising trade organizations today released a detailed definition of so-called “Made for Advertising” websites that the ANA said in a recent report comprise 21 percent of impressions and 15 percent of ad spend.

The group included the ANA, the 4A’s, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA). The MFA definitions were also developed in consultation with Chris Kane, Founder of Jounce Media, and Rocky Moss, Co-Founder and CEO of  DeepSee.io. 

MFA sites, also referred to by the 4A’s as “Made for Arbitrage” sites, are created for that singular purpose—to simultaneously buy and sell advertising inventory. MFA sites typically use sensational headlines, clickbait, and provocative content to attract visitors and generate page views, which in turn generate ad revenue for the site owner, the ANA said. MFA sites usually feature low-quality content and may use tactics such as pop-up ads, auto-play videos, or intrusive ads to maximize ad revenue.  In its recent report, the ANA said MFA sites generally are designed to fool digital advertising buyers. MFA websites exhibit high measurability rates, good viewability rates, low levels of invalid traffic, and usually have brand-safe environments.

The trade organizations said MFA sites usually exhibit some combination of the following characteristics:

  1. High ad-to-content ratio
    • Usually at least twice the internet average, e.g., ad-to-content ratio of 30+ percent for desktop.
  2. Rapidly auto-refreshing ad placements
    • Numerous refreshing banner ads.
    • Autoplay video ads flood the site.
    • Slide shows forcing visitors to click through multiple pages to access content, with multiple ads.
  3. High percentage of paid traffic sourcing
    • Made For Advertising publishers often have little-to-no organic audience and are instead highly dependent on visits sourced from clickbait ads that run on social networks, content recommendations platforms, and even on the websites of reputable publishers. Buying paid traffic is the primary cost driver of operating an MFA business. Overcoming paid traffic acquisition costs requires MFA publishers to engage in aggressive monetization practices and arbitrage.
  4. Generic content (non-editorial or templated, low-quality content)
    • Often syndicated, dated and non-unique (articles regurgitated).
  5. Usually poorly designed, templated website designs

The ANA said a high percentage of impressions and ad spend indicated that advertisers are not in control of their media placement decisions as much as they should be. In its recent report the ANA recommended that advertisers should determine, independently, if MFA sites fit with their brand suitability standards for content and user experience and clarify their tolerance for the inclusion of MFA inventory in their campaigns.

The recent ANA report, the ANA Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study, was designed to accelerate the ongoing industry discussion on transparency and productivity in the programmatic media supply chain. It was the first segment of a two-part report; the follow-up will be released later this year and will address additional issues including ad quality, pricing, and SSP optimization.



The mission of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.

The 4A’s was established in 1917 to promote, advance, and defend the interests of our member agencies, employees and the advertising and marketing industries overall. We empower our members to drive commerce, spark connections, and shape culture through infinite creativity. With a focus on advocacy, talent and the value of creativity and technology to drive business growth and cultural change, the organization serves 600+ member agencies across 1,200 offices, which help direct more than 85 percent of total U.S. advertising spend. The 4A’s includes the 4A’s Benefits division, which insures more than 160,000 employees; the government relations team, who advocate for policies to support the industry; and the 4A’s Foundation, which advocates for and connects multicultural talent to the marketing industry by fostering a culture of curiosity, creativity and craft to fuel a more equitable future for the industry.

ISBA is the only body that represents brand owners advertising in the U.K. We empower them to understand the industry and shape its future because we bring together a powerful community of marketers with common interests; lead decision-making with knowledge and insight; and give a single voice to advocacy for the improvement of the industry.  ISBA is a member of the Advertising Association and represents advertisers on the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice, sister organizations of the Advertising Standards Association, which are responsible for writing the Advertising Codes. We are also members of the World Federation of Advertisers. We can use our leadership role in such bodies to set and promote high industry standards as well as a robust self-regulatory regime.

WFA is the only global organization representing the common interests of marketers. It is the voice of marketers worldwide, representing 90 percent of global marketing communications spend – roughly $900 billion per annum. WFA champions more effective and sustainable marketing communications.

John Wolfe
Director of Communications
Office: 212.455.8011
Cell: 914.659.8663
Email: jwolfe@ana.net

Rupa Raman
VP of Communications
Office: (212) 850-0792
Email: rraman@4As.org