The Smart Money Pours $1.5 Million Into Moat

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The smart money is pouring into Moat, the ad tech startup founded by former Right Media CEO Mike Walrath and brothers Jonah and Noah Goodhart. Ron Conway’s SV Angel led a $1.5 million round, along with Founders Fund, Vast Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Founder Collective, and First Round Capital. Walrath and the Goodhart brothers previously seeded the company with $3 million from their funding vehicle, WGI Group.

Moat is attempting to create new ways to measure the effectiveness of online display ads. Its first product is a display ad search engine that just searches display ads so that people in the industry can easily see what campaigns are running online for different brands. Today, Moat is also launching a new brand analytics product that measures attention based on mouse hovers and heatmaps.

Moat wants to replace the click as a valid measurement of an online ad’s effectiveness. According to Jonah Goodhart, only 8% of internet users account for almost 85% of all display ad clicks. As I wrote in a previous post about Moat:

“Part of the problem with digital advertising,” says Walrath, “is that we think we know what is happening with an ad and what makes it successful. Right now, all you have are clicks and conversions.” Walrath thinks the industry is measuring the wrong things: impressions on one end, and clicks on the other. Big brand advertisers care more about attention.

Moat has a proxy for attention. It can generate a heat map of where people hover their mouse over an ad, and where they click as well. . . . Moat offers these heatmap analytics to brand advertisers, to help them figure out which display ads are the most engaging and to give them tools to fix the ones that are not working.

The next step is to test different versions of the same ad to see which ones draw the most attention so that marketers can iterate faster and fine tune their messaging just like search marketers already do. Moat plans to create a marketplace for ad designers to make it easier for brand advertisers to create multiple versions of ads and test them rigorously.