As the confusing digital advertising landscape changes with each new day, Moat, a brand intelligence and analytics company, is trying to bring some clarity to move past the basic click metrics.
The company, which recently enjoyed a $12 million Series B funding round, is announcing a partnership with 24/7 Media, WPP's marketing technology company, to provide brands and publishers with new metrics on specific levels of engagement and interaction on the Web. Specifically, brands and publishers using 24/7's ad server, Open AdStream, will be able to monitor viewable impressions, in-view time, interaction time, interaction rate, as well as hover rate, attention quality and time to scroll.
Ari Bluman, North America president of Real Media Group, said that the partnership fills an organic need for the marketing tech company. "You buy an ad and you want people to see it," he said. "If you want any action off of the ad, then you need to see the ad. The biggest brands in the world as it relates to digital are a little confused. They've done TV for a long time and that makes sense to them. With digital we want to bridge the divide."
Moat believes focus on being a third party analytics system (they do not trade or sell any media) for brands and publishers places them currently in a unique position to work with companies to go beyond standard, less meaningful click-based metrics. Moat co-founder, Jonah Goodhart said, "The bet we didn't want to make is we didn't want to be a better ad targeting company, didn't want to figure how to micro target ads because we don't feel that's where the future is going."
That sort of thinking is blasphemous in some circles, where sophisticated ad targeting is billed as the future of all advertising. Less heretical is Moat's contention that the click-through is the wrong way to gauge the success of brand advertising campaigns. However, many would argue that replacing the click with other response metrics like mouse-overs limits display advertising's potential to the direct response sector of the industry.
While Moat looks to focus on new metrics, a rather scary prospect looms on the horizon with Google's proposal for a new brand metrics system. Goodhart calls this move a validation of Moat's cutting-edge service, but the still-young startup will have to work hard to stay a step ahead of the Google ad serving monolith.
With the 24/7 Media partnership, Moat is trying to do just that. With access to Open Adstream and the WPP name, Moat will now be able to help service the 1,200 plus licensees of Open Adstream around the world, a technology is touching about 9,000 websites globally and serving several hundreds of billions of ad impressions a month. For Moat, that deal's a solid endorsement.
To answer any skeptics, Goodhart urges brands to look at publishers' interactions with the Web and metrics, and borrow some of their practices. "It's not to say that everything has to be metrics driven, but publishers look at metrics around their writers, Twitter lists shares on stories, how long people are spending. I think brands need to ask similar questions about advertising. You don't know the value if you don't know how to measure it."