Why In-App, not MFA, is the advertising solution made for advertisers | Pocket Gamer.biz

Focus on In-App Advertising: The Solution for Advertisers

Advertising plays a pivotal role in user acquisition for game makers. However, simply investing money into advertising is not a guarantee of success. It is important for developers to carefully consider their spending and where they direct their efforts.

In this guest post, Mintegral general manager for the Americas Jeff Sue discusses the emergence of Made for Advertising (MFA) websites and explains why developers should focus on in-app advertising as part of their user acquisition strategies.

Have you ever experienced this? You are browsing a favorite website and click on a related link, only to encounter a poorly designed website that bombards you with autoplay videos or provides poorly written content about the topic you were exploring. Frustrated, you immediately close the website and continue scrolling.

What you encountered is a “made for advertising” website, which is essentially a deceptive platform in the realm of programmatic advertising exploitation. The modern Internet is filled with these poorly constructed websites that serve no editorial purpose and aim to extract advertising dollars without providing any value.

To the average user, these websites are visually unappealing and offer nothing of substance. Most users click away from them without even noticing the numerous display ads and autoplay videos.

Advancements in brand safety and controls for invalid traffic have given advertisers a false sense of security that their programmatic advertising is being placed in desirable locations. However, the rise of made-for-advertising (MFA) websites challenges this notion. As long as there is advertising, there will always be opportunistic bad actors trying to exploit the system. These websites are specifically designed for “publishers” who want to deceive advertisers while doing as little work as possible.

The most concerning aspect of these deceitful sites is that they artificially inflate the success metrics of many advertising campaigns. If your campaign focuses on viewability stats like views and CPMs, you may not realize that what you consider a success (a high number of views) is actually a waste of money. This highlights the limitations of relying solely on web 2.0 metrics.

Even if someone were to visit an MFA site and attempt to read the content, they would be bombarded with numerous ads that make it highly unlikely for them to absorb any brand message or information.

But just how prevalent is MFA fraud? According to a study by ANA, MFAs accounted for 21% of the audited 35 billion impressions. Can any advertiser afford to waste 21% of their advertising spend?

In-App Advertising: The Antidote to MFA

The answer to preventing your programmatic spend from going to MFA sites is simple: focus on in-app advertising.

In-app advertising is specifically designed for advertisers and is projected to reach $314 billion by 2023. Here’s why it is the better choice:

  1. A small amount of friction: Contrary to common belief, a certain amount of friction in the advertising process can be beneficial. When users download an app, they are demonstrating their intent and interest in the content it offers. By going through the process of searching, downloading, and opening the app, users are more likely to engage with the ads within it. In other words, they download an app because it serves a purpose for them, unlike MFA sites that have no utility.
  2. Higher viewability rates: In-app display and video ads consistently outperform their mobile and web-based counterparts. DoubleVerify’s 2022 report found that in-app display and video ads have a viewability rate of 72.5% and 77.4%, respectively, compared to 63.6% and 71.4% for mobile web display and video. Additionally, brand unsuitability is significantly lower in mobile apps compared to the mobile web.
  3. True brand safety: In-app advertising is governed by policies and guardrails that protect advertisers from fraud or questionable views. For example, Google’s ads.txt framework ensures that ads can only run on approved publishers, providing a higher level of brand safety.
  4. Near-zero fraud: While there are fraudulent apps, you can easily avoid them by using the ads.txt framework or advertising only with popular and well-established applications. These apps have better fraud protection measures compared to unverified apps.
  5. Interactivity: In-app ads provide the opportunity for interactivity, which enhances engagement with the target audience and increases retention and brand awareness.

The industry will eventually find a solution to combat MFA. However, eliminating all web-based advertising is not the answer because some legitimate ads may end up on MFA sites. Understanding the waste associated with MFA sites presents an opportunity to rethink your marketing mix. Are you currently investing in in-app advertising? If not, now is the time to allocate a significant portion of your budget to this valuable medium.

In-app ads should be an integral part of a brand’s overall marketing mix. Whether your goal is to drive awareness, purchases, or customer loyalty, you will find a receptive audience interested in learning more about your brand.