Oracle will acquire digital measurement firm Moat extending its marketing and data clouds’ abilities to provide digital advertising analytics to advertising clients and publishers, the company revealed Tuesday. [Read the release]. Deal terms were not disclosed.
Moat will join the Oracle Data Cloud, which houses its Datalogix and BlueKai acquisitions.
"Moat has grown its attention analytics business by over 100% in the past year, providing actionable insights around viewability, brand safety, non-human traffic, and ad creative to over 600 publisher, brand and agency clients," Eric Roza, SVP and GM of Oracle Data Cloud, said in a statement. "With the Moat acquisition, Oracle Data Cloud now offers brands and publishers a full suite of targeting and measurement solutions to improve the outcome of virtually every type of digital advertising campaign."
Although Oracle had been looking to move further in the media space for several months, according to a source with knowledge of the company, it wasn’t interested in buying a media execution platform – like Adobe did with the video demand side platform TubeMogul.
“Oracle had everything underneath the execution, such as source data and identity management, but there was far less interest in … [getting into] arbitrage, paid media execution where you get a percentage of the ad dollar and it completely depends on whether those ad dollars get spent,” the source said.
Instead, Oracle placed its bets on a measurement and analytics platform that would snap right into its marketing stack and that could command large, recurring SaaS fees.
While measurement firms like Nielsen or comScore could have used Moat, they were unlikely to pay its hefty premium.
Moat attracted the interest of strategic enterprise acquirers because of their interest in measuring the efficacy of media – a missing component of many marketing clouds. And Moat, according to industry sources, was rumored to be among the best performers.
While Adobe has Omniture’s web analytics, Oracle didn't have the same strength in traditional web analytics, nor did it have viewability-based metrics.
The acquisitions that constitute Oracle Data Cloud cultivate publisher audience data (AddThis), cross-device data (CrossWise) and offline purchase data (Datalogix). But Moat adds more digital insights to Oracle’s analytics offering.
Datalogix can show whether someone purchased but not whether a digital impression fired. Moat can measure the impression, but not the purchase.
So the acquisition was presumably good for Moat as well. Although Moat was widely heralded in the ad tech industry, many industry insiders believe it needed to be part of execution software to show its true value.
Alone, Moat can only show whether a digital impression actually fired, said Martin Kihn, a research director at Gartner. But that’s limiting – because in order for Oracle’s customers to show whether a digital impression resulted in a consumer action, it needed to connect to data like online or offline sales. And Oracle has those connections.
Moat and Datalogix also had complementary relationships. YouTube, for instance, worked with Datalogix on offline-to-online measurement, and also used Moat (and other viewability providers) for third-party verification. Similarly, Snapchat struck a deal with the Oracle Data Cloud after sealing a measurement contract with Moat.
With Moat off the table, the next up would likely be Integral Ad Science (IAS), which had also been under consideration by Oracle.
Keep an eye on Salesforce though, one source said.
Salesforce might have launched an Analytics Cloud two years ago, but it is virtually absent from digital ad measurement.
Industry insiders wouldn’t be surprised if IAS gets snapped up by a big enterprise tech firm that can pay a premium price – and wants to double down on ad tech.
“The way M&A happens, if one goes, it’s highly likely that another would go shortly after,” said Kihn. “It’s a group sport.”