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⚠ Are you wasting ad dollars (on MFA sites)?

Ads Case Study

This is Inbox Hacking, a free newsletter with Email Marketing insights, tools, & tactics sent twice per week. If someone forwarded you our Newsletter, please sign up for your Free subscription. On tap→ some digital ads are wasting big chunks of brands’ ad budget – learn to spot waste and stop it. 

It’s a sunny Tuesday here. You’re awesome. So I’m feeling good about things.

And today I’m highlighting an ANA report on how brands are losing money with online ads. We’ll start with ways to spot wasteful ad spending whether you use online ads for lead gen or plan to in the future (plus a closer look at Google Ads specifically).

The Big Problem?

Too many ads get placed on low-quality websites (Made-for-Advertising MFA websites).

Companies paying for these ads don’t realize this or can’t see the data that would alert them.

3 Ways to Avoid This Problem

  1. Ensure your ads run on a smaller number of top websites
  1. Focus on context (do ads fit with specific website’s audience?) 
  1. Choose value over efficiency (cheap CPMs may not be as valuable as they appear)

Ads Case Study

Online Ads Case Study Details

44,000—Avg. number of websites that ads appeared on in study (21 advertisers studied).

The top 1–500 domains had a 50% lower fraud rate versus lower ranked sites.

Having ads spread across 44,000 sites would make tracking success metrics nearly impossible, right?

⭐Well, most brands don’t bother tracking closely! Or don’t know to ask for LLD (log-level data) so they could see…

“The detailed record of everything about an impression obtained from the tech vendor. It should be collected daily and contain timing stamps, delivery data, campaign meta data, financial information and other details about each impression.”

*3rd parties are available to decipher log-level data.

⭐Many brands trust their agency to monitor ad efficiency but fail to verify results.

🤯Made-for-Advertising websites comprised 21% of study impressions and 15% of ad spend. 

“MFA sites use sensational headlines, clickbait, and provocative content to attract visitors and generate page views, which generates ad revenue for the site owner.”

Ads Case Study: Too Many Crappy Websites

This ads case study says excluding low-quality sites (exclusion lists) won’t work, due to the volume of crappy sites and new ones cropping up weekly.

Instead, use inclusive lists of sites you do want your programmatic ads to be shown on.

🤖But doesn’t Google say to let them automate all this so you don’t hurt your pretty little head?

Google Ads Case Studies (small businesses use)

This post highlights ironic nudges from The Googsters and rising costs of online ads.

Ads Case Study
“Google encourages marketers to appeal to humans vs. robots for SEO but in paid search, Google [pimps] its robots as better at appealing to humans than actual humans.” 
“Google’s strong-handed attempts to move its customers into automated bidding structures have taken away advertiser’s control.” ~SearchEngineJournal

Wordstream Reports Online Ad Decline

  • 91% of industries saw Google Ad conversion rate drop
  • 21 of 23 industries saw an increase in cost per lead (CPL) year over year
  • Amount of ad clicks remains stable but intent is missing


Online ad costs are climbing. But the hidden cost of your ads running on low-value websites is even worse.

Why? You may get impressions and clicks but few sign-ups for your email list, for example. Or the sign-ups you get could be low-value, bots, or click farmers.

Taking ownership of your online advertising is the only way to get your money’s worth. 

Full ANA report here (download)

Read on for a major referral program win, flirting help, & Today’s Hack taps into CTAs.

Knowledge Base

💡Knowledge is power, but first, lasting dopamine

Utilizing ideal customer profiles vs. buyer personas

🧐Using Facebook marketing without live video? See this chart 

Referral Marketing 2023 (how one sharp brand collected 100k email addresses in 1 week)

Quizzes: the last hope for collecting good customer data?

How to simplify complex ideas (written & verbal)

Follow Inbox Mailers…

Emails Galore

Imagine how many of your emails get ignored.

Could be 8 out of 10.

Pretty humbling, yeah? 

It doesn’t have to be this way though.

You can quickly and easily increase your open rates with Inbox Mailers.

Users of this new tech are seeing 50% – 70% open rates. 

​Plus, Inbox Mailers re-engages inactive subscribers.

It integrates easily with your current ESP & increases click volume.

Don’t let your emails be ignored anymore. 

Tap to schedule a free demo today.


demo Inbox Mailers

Self Help

Got no flirting game?

Then this ‘Triangle Method’ can’t hurt.

So what if the shrink link debunks it?

The method has to work better than not looking at someone IRL at all.

(Bonus: How does affective forecasting promote procrastination?)

*Shout-out to Inbox Hackers:

📢Kylie at Dr. Pepper

📢Anna at Dash Water

Facts and Stats

  • The typical voice search result is only 29 words in length (Backlinko)

  • Businesses prioritizing creativity in marketing are about 33% more likely to report business growth (WFA)

  • Just 17% of marketers said testing landing pages was most important vs. 38% who said subject lines (Media Post)

Bonus: 35% of all Dropbox sign-ups are coming from what channel? Their referral program


How much of your list is dead on arrival? Imagine resuscitating those “dead” email subscribers and bringing them back to life. Heck, email addresses are hard to come by! So Inbox Mailers has created the most innovative re-engagement solution. This platform leverages a patent-pending engagement trigger system that we’ve seen double and even triple open rates. Learn how it works with a free one-on-one demo (tap here).


Get Hacking

Today’s Hack

Have you tested calls-to-action in your emails using ‘tap’ versus ‘click’?

Litmus thinks it’s worth a shot with so many peeps reading email on phones (44% opened emails on mobile from Turkey Day 2022 to New Year’s Day 2023.

Big doors swing on small hinges so get to A/B testing! Not just ‘tap’ but any CTA that leans into what mobile users are doing while reading your emails.

*Know other email marketers? Clean that grimy phone screen then tap the forward button to send Inbox Hacking their way 🤗.

Other Inbox Hackers liked

⚡Quick Clip – Include this in newsletter promo partnerships

😬Survey: Marketing directors say digital ads not increasing sales

🚙3 Types of marketing roadmaps

📝Please take survey below. It’s hot.