Oracle adds ad verification to its data wheelhouse by acquiring Moat
The tech giant can now see data about both ad targeting and ad delivery.
Oracle has taken another step to enlarge its data capabilities, announcing Tuesday that it has agreed to buy ad verification firm Moat.
Moat specializes in viewability, brand safety and detecting non-human traffic. Oracle said it will remain independent, providing analytics to brands like Nestlé and to publishers like NBCUniversal and ESPN. Deal terms were not made public.
Pund-IT analyst Charles King told me that he wasn’t surprised by the acquisition, which he described as “an incremental improvement” in Oracle’s quest to build cloud-based services for enterprise customers.
Moat is frequently mentioned in conjunction with competitor Integral Ad Sciences (IAS), such as in their recent involvement as third-party verification for Facebook.
IAS CEO Scott Knoll said that Moat’s new status as part of Oracle’s large marketing and data ecosystem “doesn’t change things at all.” He added that there isn’t another marketing/data platform that owns such a vendor.
When asked if this relationship created problems for Moat, since Oracle has access to targeting and other data that impacts online ads, Knoll acknowledged that “some people may be concerned by [the possibility of] bias,” although he added that he saw no obvious conflict. He pointed out that IAS is “completely independent.”
Jay Friedman, COO of programmatic media and planning firm Goodway Group, told me that this acquisition “gives Oracle a pervasive pixel on all impressions.”
In other words, he argued, Oracle has been able to offer targeting data to advertisers so they could find, say, online users who might like sport drinks. But now they can also see which sports drinks ads were served — and possibly make a pitch to sports drink advertisers that they could have had better targeting data if only they had used Oracle’s Data Cloud.
“This enables them to get much smarter about who is using their data, who could use more, and where advertisers are getting users they wanted anyway without paying for the data.” The latter situation, he said, might be when the advertisers just buy site inventory without user targeting, such as inventory on the ESPN site to reach sports drinkers.
Andrew Frank, VP at research firm Gartner, noted that Oracle has pointed out it has “three pillars” in its Data Cloud — a Device Graph for cross-identifying users with their devices, 360-degree profiles of customers and measurement. The latter capability had previously been secured by, say, ad attribution via Oracle’s Datalogix acquisition, but now it is boosted by Moat.
He added that Moat now gives Oracle an opportunity to enter “currency metrics,” meaning the data — such as which ads are delivered where — on which ad contracts are based. Frank also pointed out that Moat also provides Oracle with a measurement service that has been accredited by the Media Rating Council.