Moat Gets Funds For Brand Ad Tech; The Online Upfronts; Alloy Digital Adds Buys B5 Media

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Funding Brand Tools

Brand advertising technology firm Moat announced today that it has raised $12 million in equity financing (the company raised $4.5 million previously) in a round led by Mayfield Fund. Mayfield’s Tim Chang joins the Moat board as the company says it will use the funds to “expand their team” as the tempo for brand advertising solutions continues to quicken. Moat (AdExchanger Q&A 2011) positions itself around analytics and intelligence tools including Moat Ad Search, which will include an upcoming “premium” version according to the company. CEO Jonah Goodhart says in the release, “We are trying to re-imagine brand advertising in digital and solve important problems that will have a big impact on the online ecosystem.” Read the release.

The Online Upfront

This week, the traditional TV world will begin holding its “upfronts” as it looks to corral ad budgets for the beginning of the TV season in the U.S. – the fall. Online companies are adding their own upfront offerings (a.k.a. NewFronts), too. And with good reason as The Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica reports. “General Motors says it plans to boost digital ad spending by 3% to 5% this year, with most of the rise going into online-video ads. It says the money will come out of its TV- and print-ad budgets. (…) ‘Online video is just another channel, I have the Discovery Network, and now I have YouTube,’ said Joel Ewanick, GM’s global chief marketing officer.” Read more on budgets moving online (subscription). Online video content is becoming king, or at least a prince.

Editorial Yield

On the company blog, Visual Revenue CEO Dennis Mortensen is inspired Sarah Kendzior’s Atlantic Monthly piece and reviews the news publishing predicament of the “filter bubble.” As news becomes increasingly personalized, how do users ever get to see the new stuff that they might be interested in – and how do editors deliver it? The revenue stakes are high! Mortensen writes, “I believe it is important to differ between content creation and content promotion. Whereas the content pool at Yahoo’s (the publisher Sarah used as an example) disposal, by any standard is so large that any editorial (or commercial) willingness to break out of the filter bubble is possible. Which quite clearly and to no surprise leaves this effect as a pure content promotion concept, and one where maximizing for highest possible return at all times is a standard when applying aggressive personalization.” Though there’s a bit of self-promo on Mortensen’s part, it reminds that yield isn’t just about ads, it’s about editorial. Read it.

Blue Skies For OBA?

A detailed review of online behavioral advertising’s impact on the consumer gets a passing grade in an article by Ad Age’s Cotton Delo. Among the initiatives and anecdotes under the microscope, the Digital Advertising Alliance’s “AdChoices” privacy icon – about which Delo writes, “Evidence of its success is the [U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s] noncommittal but consistent recent statements to the effect that it won’t seek legislation to address online behavioral advertising. But even some of the most fervent online-privacy researchers said they don’t see behavioral advertising as the culprit: It’s overt, and savvy users might recognize a pattern after they’ve, for example, done web searches for ‘Mexico vacations’ and get an ad for a Cancun resort.” Of course, it’s never that simple. Read more.

Video Content’s Ad CTR

eMarketer has repurposed data from Specific Media’s VINDICO video ad technology platform which shows that the length of the video content can affect performance of video ads. eMarketer notes, “VINDICO’s study compared ads featured in long-form video content, which it defined as having a narrative arc and lasting at least 10 minutes, with those placed in short-form video, described as being 10 minutes or shorter. The company found that ads in short-form content had a CTR of 1.31%, compared with 0.83% for long-form content.” Get the graphics for your PowerPoint. And, download the VINDICO report (PDF).

Fighting Bad Ads

Google’s director of engineering for advertising, David Baker, talks about how his company roots out ne’er-do-wells, bad actors, and other low-lifes who look to make illicit “coin” off the Google ad monolith. Baker breaks down his company’s strategy into three components: “‘Ad review’ notices patterns in the ads and keywords selected by the advertiser. ‘Site review’ analyzes the entire site to determine if it is selling counterfeit goods. ‘Account review’ aims to determine if a new advertiser is truly new, or is simply a repeat offender trying to abuse Google’s advertising system.” Read more.

Network Adds More Content, Placements

Media and ad network Alloy Digital announced the acquisition of B5 Media and its network of women lifestyle properties. No terms were announced. Alloy, a Glam Media competitor of sorts, claims to have “the largest media and advertising network of young adult- targeted websites, reaching more than 43% of P12-34 internet users.” Read the release.

Future Of Advertising

For the BBC’s “The Future of Advertising” series, Microsoft Advertising UK GM Andy Hart speaks from his digital pulpit and offers thought leadership on how times are changing for marketers. But that doesn’t mean transformation includes forgetting the past page as he concludes: “One thing we know for sure is that offline principles still apply online: never lose sight of your audience, simplicity wins and creativity rules. Our job is to help advertisers navigate the digital tools and platforms to bring brand stories to life. It is about the creative idea being the star rather than the technology.” Read the piece.

Emotional Algo

On the Webtrends blog, the company’s Chad Giron reports from last week’s Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum. Giron wrote, “The big takeaway is that if you neglect the emotional or contextual side of your customer, you risk ruining your relationship with them and all your hard work to get to that point will be useless.” Read what he means. Hint: math only goes so far.

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