Silicon Valley’s $12 Million Bid to Rethink Brand Advertising

Major brands of every stripe and the platforms which employ the advertising technology used to facilitate digital advertising, like Google, are rethinking the way marketers measure the effectiveness of digital ads. The death-knell for the traditional click-through metric, which judges an ad as successful when a consumer clicks on it, has sounded and now Silicon Valley is moving towards funding alternatives.


Moat, a one-year-old software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup launched by former Right Media investors Jonah and Noah Goodhart and Mike Walrath, has caught the eye of Silicon Valley powerhouse investment firm The Mayfield Fund and won $12 million in Series B financing from the 43-year-old company. “We have reached a point where it is critical to move beyond the click and start presenting solutions to the market that can enable brand advertising growth in the future,” Jonah Goodhart said in an interview with The Advertising Technology Review.

According to Goodhart, brand advertisers need a better metric than the traditional click-through, and Google’s recent efforts in cooperation with the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) to bring user-friendly measurement tools from the offline world, like the gross measurement point (GRP), to digital advertising “is definitely part of the story.” Google’s efforts to make advertising technology easier to use for brands is a “huge validation for the space that Moat is focused on,” Goodhart stated.

The Mayfield Fund is a venture capital firm which focuses on investments in mobile, cloud, social, energy and big data. “Unlike typical ad tech startups that are ad networks, arbitrage plays or tech layer abstractions, said The Mayfield Fund’s managing partner Tim Chang, “Moat is uniquely positioned as a SaaS category leader in the space, and has the broader potential to evolve the whole industry beyond the obsolete and incomplete metric of clicks.” “This is a much bigger prize at stake here that we’re playing for,” said Chang, who will join Moat’s Board of Directors.

Moat’s approach to analyzing consumer engagement shifts the focus away from click-throughs towards diagnosing why some ads resonate with consumers and others don’t. The company has developed a patent-pending analytics platform that permits real-time attention tracking for online ads, allowing advertisers to derive insights that can inform creative and ad buying strategy on-the-fly. Moat’s first ad intelligence product, Moat Ad Search, has been used by more than fifteen-thousand businesses to track ad placements globally online. Moat CEO Jonah Goodhart said the company will use the funds to expand its development team.

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