John Lincoln

Review of Moat – A Great Tool For the Modern Advertiser

How would you like to be certain that your online ads are making impressions in front of actual human beings instead of bots?

Even better: wouldn’t it be great if you could determine whether or not your ads are having an impact on your target audience?

If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then you should check out Moat.

Complete Review of Moat Moat is a digital ad analytics tool that goes way beyond informing you about click-through rates and impressions. It digs deeper to give you advanced insights that will help you fine-tune your marketing campaigns for optimal reach.

Part of the Oracle Data Cloud

Moat is also part of the Oracle Data Cloud family. That’s because Oracle purchased Moat back in the spring of 2017. According to the company website, the Oracle Data Cloud “helps advertisers connect with the right customer, personalize every interaction, and measure the effectiveness of each engagement. Powered by Oracle ID Graph, Oracle Data Cloud creates true cross-channel consumer understanding, so you know more about who your customers are, what they do, where they go, and what they buy.” Since last year, Moat has been a part of that ecosystem. According to the rumor mill, Oracle shelled out a cool $850 million for Moat. The company was valued at $434 million in 2010.

Moat Review: Proprietary Technology

Why was Moat so valuable to Oracle? Probably because of its unique offering. The tool is able to harvest metrics you won’t find on Google Analytics or other commonly used tools. For starters, Moat will ensure that your ads appear on the target content you requested. That’s a pretty nice feature given the recent history of some online ads appearing next to extremist content. Beyond that, though, you’ll also want to make sure that programmatic campaigns are reaching people in your target market. If your ads show up on Cosmopolitan, for example, and you’re targeting a male audience, then you’re likely wasting money. Sometimes, those ad networks don’t always “get it right.” Moat can help you identify those issues so that your advertising money is well spent. Additionally, Moat offers full transparency not just on ad placements, but also on your campaigns, creatives, and impressions.
Moat Review
Moat Review

Moat Review: Plenty of Metrics

Moat offers more than 50 metrics for your video and display ads. They aren’t just any metrics, though. Each of those data points has been validated by the Media Rating Council. If you’re unfamiliar with the MRC, it’s a non-profit that exists to ensure integrity in audience measurements. The organization conducts independent audits to verify that audience measurements are counted accurately. So when Moat informs you that a certain ad received 1,500 impressions in front of human beings, you can be sure that stat has been validated by a reputable authority.
Moat Review: Analytics
Moat Review: Analytics

The Right Partners

Moat has also partnered with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snap, and YouTube. Each of those platforms run ads. They’ve allowed Moat to “take a peek” at their traffic to gather insights about ad impressions and impact. That, by the way, points to another advantage of Moat. You get analytics from all those platforms in one place.

Moat Review: Heatmaps

You’re probably already familiar with heatmaps. They’re the color-coded screenshots that show you where people are focusing their attention. Moat offers heatmaps in advertising analytics. You can use that info to determine where your potential customers are hovering with the mouse. You can also see where on the page they’re clicking. That gives you the kind of insight you need to optimize your ads for even greater exposure. You can also save the heatmaps as images and share them with a client in a report or a PowerPoint presentation.

Moat Review: Mobile Analytics

“The most sought-after digital screen is sitting in your pocket.” So says the Moat website. And it’s true. This is the mobile era. That’s why you’ll be happy to know that Moat also offers analytics on mobile ad performance. You can use the tool to determine exposure seconds, message audibility, tap counts, and overall viewability. Moat will also show you exclusive mobile pre-bid data. If you’re looking for where your mobile audience is focusing their attention, the tool offers mobile heatmaps as well.
Moat Review: mobile analytics
Moat Review: mobile analytics

Human Traffic Detection

This isn’t just the mobile era, it’s also the click-fraud era. Unfortunately, you might have been a victim. Some of your ad “impressions” might have been the result of bot traffic. Some of your clicks might have come from automated agents as well. There are shady people out there who have evil plans to separate you from your hard-earned money. The good news is that with Moat, you don’t need to be a victim anymore. You can think of the tool as a kind of Ring for digital advertisers. Moat uses a proprietary algorithm that identifies non-human traffic. When one of your ads appears in front of a bot, Moat will send an email alerting you about it. According to the website, the company has invested “thousands of hours and continual diligence” in its non-human traffic detection software. But Moat doesn’t just keep the bad bots away with a warning. Platforms that use Moat programmatically remove bot traffic. That happens pre-bid. So if you’re looking for advertising integrity, look to Moat.

Moat Review: Under Your Um-ber-ella

I touched on this above but one of the biggest advantages of Moat is that aggregates advertising data from multiple channels and puts it all in one place. You can use the platform to view everything from social media campaign stats to YouTube analytics to mobile ad impressions. Third-party data is also readily available. View your demographic metrics, ad server counts, and data management platform info on a single tool. In fact, Moat supports content analytics from:
  • DoubleClick
  • Sizmek
  • Atlas
  • OAS
  • AppNexus
  • PointRoll
  • Nielsen OCR/Digital Ad Ratings
  • BlueKai
  • Krux
  • Lotame
  • Grapeshot
That’s a laundry list of high-profile marketing platforms.

Moat Review: Worldwide Availability

It’s a global market, so you’ll be happy to learn that Moat supports you and your business partners all over the world. Using the platform, you can gain insights from North America, the Asia Pacific region, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Asia), and Latin America. No matter where you target audience is located, Moat has you covered.

Moat Pro

Moat, as a company, offers two tools: Moat Analytics and Moat Pro. Thus far, I’ve discussed the features available in Moat Analytics. Moat Pro takes your marketing game to the next level with real-time analytics. Use it to drill down on an individual creative or get a holistic view of a brand’s overall media strategy. If you want to catch a glimpse of what Moat Pro looks like, check out the current crop of Shutterstock ads. Scroll through that batch and you’ll gain some insight into Shutterstock’s online ad strategy. Hover over a single ad and learn a little more about it.
Moat review: Shutterstock uses Moat Pro
Moat review: Shutterstock uses Moat Pro
Moat Pro offers that kind of analysis for mobile, desktop, direct, and programmatic ads. You can also filter and sort the data so that you get exactly the analytics you’re looking for. Additionally, the tool enables you to visualize ad relationships between brands and publishers. Use that info to learn more about where your competitors are finding their customers. Moat Pro currently archives more than three years worth of data. Keep in mind: Moat Pro doesn’t offer analytics only on display ads. You can get intelligence on video ads as well. Learn about the sites where video ads are running. Play them to see how other companies are marketing to your target audience. Of course, Moat Pro also offers a wealth of data about each video ad it tracks. Browse through that data to find out which kinds ads people like to watch the most. The tool will also notify you when a brand initiates a major marketing campaign or if it detects a sudden shift in ad spend. That’s like having an assistant monitor online ads on your behalf. You can also use Moat Pro’s mock tool to see what your ad would look like on a given page. So if you’re curious about how your ad might appear on Mashable’s home page, you can go for a “dry run” before you actually run an ad. You can even share your mocks with other team members. Finally, Moat Pro also offers a Chrome extension. Use it to gain on-the-spot analysis of creatives you view during your journeys through cyberspace. Who knows? You might stumble across an effective ad that gives you inspiration for your next marketing campaign.

Moat Review: Two Significant Downsides

Thus far, everything I’ve said about Moat sounds great. So why wouldn’t people want to use it? There are two reasons. The first is the cost. Those kinds of analytics don’t come cheap. If you’re running a small business that’s already struggling with cash flow issues, Moat is probably not right for you. Instead, focus on growing your business so you can get to the point where you can afford Moat. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to grow your business even more thanks to the platform’s analytics. Moat is really an enterprise solution. It’s for hardcore marketers who have a healthy budget. The other downside is the learning curve. Again, Moat is a tool that offers comprehensive analytics, integrates with multiple third-party platforms, and aggregates data from different sources. It will take you a while to learn how to become a power user. So if you do decide to pull the trigger on Moat, set aside some time for training.

Moat Review: What They’re Saying

Here are some of the pros and cons of Moat as told by various users. The pros:
  • Ability to export data at any level of granularity
  • Digital ad audits establish campaign credibility
  • Stops non-human traffic
  • Clocks every second of ad exposure
  • Integrates seamlessly with a number of partners
The cons:
  • Facebook data has a 2-3 day delay
  • High price tag makes it inaccessible for smaller agencies
  • More useful when working with high volume campaigns
  • Analytics might not be available for all advertisers
  • Process for saving reports is a bit confusing
  • Moat Analytics doesn’t track in real time

The Verdict: Yes, If You Can Afford It

Moat is worth the investment if you rely heavily on online advertising and you need an enterprise level solution. It’s especially valuable if you’re running plenty of video ads on social media platforms. Do yourself a favor, though: get a demo of the product first. Just fill out the form at the bottom of the homepage and click Request a Demo. Then, talk to the sales rep about your business needs to make sure the product is right for your business. You’ll also want to know if Moat Analytics is good enough or if you’ll need Moat Pro as well.

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About the Author

John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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