Moat Raises $12 Million to Beef Up Online Ad Analytics

Led by the Mayfield Fund, the investment highlights importance of online ad metrics

If you were wondering just how important online advertising analytics will be as digital media continues to evolve, look no further than Moat’s $12 million Series B funding round announced this morning (April 23) and led by Silicon Valley’s Mayfield Fund.

According to the official funding release, Moat boasts a “patent-pending analytics platform to enable brand advertisers and publishers to move beyond the “click” as the primary success metric for online ad campaigns.” That sort of approach potentially puts Moat at the center of an ongoing movement in the online ad world—espoused by prominent groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Online Publishers Association—to adopt more brand-friendly metrics and move the industry away from click-driven thinking. 

Ironically, Moat was co-founded by Mike Walrath and brothers Jonah and Noah Goodhart, the brains behind Yahoo's Right Media exchange—a bastion of direct response-driven, click-oriented ad campaigns.

But since their Right Media days, both Walrath and the Goodharts have urged the industry to move beyond the click by adopting other forms of measuring brand impact on the Web. For example, Moat's tools are geared toward providing brands with data on specific levels of engagement and interaction from online users using metrics like average length of time for ad views and purposeful user interaction. The company is even aiming to help decode more obtuse metrics like twitter engagement and measure real-life engagement.

Jonah Goodhart said he hopes to use the influx of cash to continue to “reimagine brand advertising in digital and solve important problems that will have a big impact on the online ecosystem. We're excited about accelerating the growth of the company with this new investment.”

As it exists now, Moat is also a handy tool for journalists who might be interested in tracking the increasingly shrewd ad political placements and the company has even garnered some attention inside the beltway. Using Moat, just about anyone from corporations to wily reporters can see specific ad campaigns and the times and websites where they are appearing.

But going forward, Moat's tool suite could prove enormously useful for both the Obama and Romney camps as the general election season heats up and both sides begin to obsess over painstakingly tailored and targeted impressions to woo voters to their side.

Yet, above all else, the sizeable investment illustrates a potential change in philosophy for online advertising, where clicks are becoming more and more irrelevant. Mayfield’s Tim Chang notes that when it comes to the Moat partnership, there is “a much bigger prize at stake here that we're playing for.” That prize is the chance to be the go-to ad analytics firm for an online industry that is growing by nearly 25 percent and accounting for over $31 billion in revenue last year alone. But, it's an industry still struggling to convince big, mainstream brands that the Internet is a viable medium for classic brand advertising.