It’s time to ditch the junk food of low-quality ad inventory


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The media industry has a junk food problem.

Marketers, their agencies and DSP partners have increasingly focused on vanity media metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC) and video views, with approximately half of all ad supply being created for advertising purposes. Inventory (MFA) – Sites and pages that use clickbait headlines and filler content to generate traffic, use cluttered layouts with a terrible user experience, and stuff more display and video ads into the page .

A recent Jounce report found that MFA inventories provide marketers with a “trap”, luring them in with exaggerated vanity metrics, but ultimately “not affecting consumer behavior.” ” concludes. Marketers can’t afford to keep wasting marketing dollars on MFA junk food. You should move to “clean” inventory that delivers high quality impressions. Some companies, such as Sharethrough, have started offering options to clean up their inventory and remove his MFA site.


made by market demand

In general, when DSPs don’t receive real-time feedback on consumer behavior, they optimize for media KPIs like CTR, video views, and mouse hover rate.

These KPIs, once associated with advertising’s impact on consumer behavior, have quickly become the standard for measuring campaign success. And it didn’t take long for an entire industry to emerge to manufacture those impressions.

We’ve all experienced this kind of site before. Typically endless “listicles,” slideshows, and other fluffy filler content are overwhelmed by what the Jounce report describes as “high density of auto-refreshing ads,” creating “user-creating” adversarial experience. ”

Jounce’s research confirms that these sites don’t work and shows that MFA inventory results in a “significant conversion deficit.” Not only does MFA inventory drive lower than expected conversions, but it also underperforms, as Jounce concludes, “has no impact on consumer behavior at all.”

At best, MFA inventory is a waste of money. And often, the negative audience sentiment generated by a chaotic and unpleasant user experience is transferred to the advertiser’s brand, undermining brand perception.

But the reality is, marketers are hooked. Media KPIs are still used to define campaign goals, directing agencies and her DSPs to her MFA inventory. Much like the proliferation of junk-his-hood in our world, marketers crave higher media KPIs, fueling the insidious propagation of the MFA ecosystem.

Supply side complexity

At the beginning of 2022, Jounce reported that the average publisher monetized through the integration of 17+ sell-side technologies, growing to 28 by the end of 2022. of video auctions. This makes Supply his pass buy-side less transparent and more risky to rely on site listings.

MFA sellers are getting smarter about blocking domains and finding new ways to obfuscate the nature of low-quality inventory. For example, many use subdomain rentals. You’re paying to essentially take over a subdomain of a more reputable publisher site. Marketers and agencies are frustrated by their inability to avoid low-quality inventory.

put pressure on

Just as market forces gave rise to MFA junk food, market forces are now starting to push back against MFA junk food in the following ways:

  • Marketers take supply path optimization (SPO) seriously.

In response to increasing complexity, marketers are increasingly adopting and rapidly maturing supply path optimization (SPO) strategies. Agencies also offer more than just lip service, such as aggressively blocking low-quality supplies or shortening the approved issuer list.

  • Marketers prioritize a sustainable advertising supply chain.

Tactics like renting and reselling subdomains add more and more layers to an already complex digital advertising ecosystem. More layers means more servers spinning around to support each intermediary. Also, the MFA inventory can’t provide any marketing value, but all those extra servers create extra carbon. As more companies make his ESG a top priority, the marketer realizes that ‘clean’ supply is also low-carbon supply.

Increased “clean” inventory supply

It’s hard for marketers to quit junk food. Her DSP checkbox for “Avoid MFA Sites” is still missing.

Manually curating your own site list is very time consuming and site lists are problematic for reasons already explained. However, more “cleaner” exchanges are emerging, some of which create a safe place for marketers to buy high-quality inventory without worrying about seeing low-quality impressions. Some have For example, Sharethrough uses his Jounce data to curate all his PMP deals towards quality supply.

It’s like changing where you shop and looking for a curated health food store without all the tempting junk food.

A clean exchange also helps marketers keep their ad inventory in order. But more fundamental changes are needed. Marketing teams need to stop paying attention to vanity metrics.

Agencies and DSPs need proper incentives. Campaign goals in terms of clickthroughs or CPCs lead to MFA inventory. Marketers shouldn’t measure success by what happens on their site. What really matters is what happens beyond your visit to the site.

Support quality publishers

It’s hard for marketers to rip off the Band-Aid and ditch MFA entirely.

Your metrics will drop significantly, but remember that these metrics don’t drive business outcomes. Once the right things are measured, marketers can quantify downstream outcomes and business value in terms of key terms: actual sales conversions, purchases, revenue, and marketing ROI.

Junk food in the media world is much like public health’s view of real junk food. It’s not just a negative cost to the individual. Negative externalities pervade the entire digital advertising ecosystem. We are feeding the beast of low quality inventory and depleting premium his publisher revenue.

Moving away from junk food collectively means we can offer more revenue to premium publishers, the kinds of content creators we want to support as advertisers and as a responsible society.



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