One minute, you’re reading a dense political explainer about rumblings in Washington, or checking the weather in your zip code. Before you know it, you’ve clicked on a headline about pool noodle hacks that will completely change your life.
If you’ve spent more than 15 minutes online, then this is probably a relatable experience. It’s clickbait, otherwise known as “made for advertising” inventory, a term used to describe websites that earn most of their eyeballs through sponsored placements tied to chumbox ads. Using content recommendation platforms like Taboola or Outbrain, these publishers place ads on legitimate news sources like USA Today, goading people with patently ridiculous headlines to click through to their sites.
Once users click, they’re taken to these sites that are rife with ads—hence the “made for advertising” moniker—but lacking in substance (unless you consider “Vintage Photos of Women Getting Tattoos” to be particularly informative).
….Jill Casey is director of publisher platform partnerships at Xandr, which operates both a supply-side and demand-side platform, and can be found on the ads.txt of many of these sites. Case said it’s not a supply-side platform’s place to determine publisher quality.
“We try to stay sort of agnostic to what people on the internet might like to read,” she told Marketing Brew. “Brands may not want to think that’s where people are, but a lot of the internet is celebrity gossip and things that feel clickbaity…Consumers keep these sites alive, and brands want to be cost effective, so they go there.”
Others don’t see it that way. Joshua Lowcock, EVP and chief digital officer at media agency UM, said, “The supply side of the ad tech ecosystem has been incredibly poor at vetting sites,” which is why he thinks clickbait sites manage to stay afloat.
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