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What Happened to Moat Ad Search? Banner Search Alternatives

What Happened to Moat Ad Search? Banner Search Alternatives

Moat Ad Search was a loved platform among marketers, advertisers, and researchers. The most well-known feature was the ability to search and spy on competitors’ digital ad placements and creatives. This included ads on connected TV and other digital platforms. If you are looking to use Moat, it is unfortunately unavailable, but don’t worry - in this article, we will break down what happened to the beloved Moat ads library platform and open your eyes to new alternatives available in 2024.

man looking through magnifying glass
30 sec summary icon
30 Second Summary

What is Moat Ad Search?

Founded in 2010 by brothers Jonah Goodhart and Noah Goodhart - Moat Ad Search was a great idea and the largest search engine for digital advertising with sprawling coverage across the entire web in multiple Geos built on the back of also popular Moat ad verification product. It allows users to search and analyze a company’s digital display ads for competitive research, including in-view metrics.

Moat ad search UI
Legacy Moat Ad Search UI

More than a competitor ad spy tool, users who loved Moat leveraged for multiple use cases, including;

  • Expand their creative approach and thinking for digital ad campaigns
  • Understand the ad formats competitors are using
  • Analyze the locations and market competitors are targeting
  • Centralizing research for agencies and media companies
  • Measure the distribution and effectiveness of display advertising
  • Clear communication with clients about currently active ads

With all this value for brands, publishers, and agency ad buyers, you are probably asking what happened to this useful platform?

What happened to moat ad search?

Moat, the digital ad analytics company, was acquired by Oracle in 2017 for a reported $850 million. Many associates and senior roles were integrated into Oracle’s broader digital cloud team. Although at the time of acquisition, Oracle stated it would remain operating as its own entity, it has now been rolled up into the Oracle Digital Cloud, meaning the free ad spy tools like Moat ad search are no longer available.

Moat Alternatives - How can you search banner ads in 2024?

Although we are now 7 years since the acquisition of Moat, marketers and advertisers’ desire to spy on competitor advertising is still alive and well. These alternatives offer robust measurement capabilities across various device types. Although some of the newer options lack the level of metrics available in Moat, they can still get you the data you need.

moad ad search alternative

When analyzing recent Reddit conversations, users have been recommending platforms like Foreplay as a reliable Moat alternative as an ad search database however there are some additional free options for as well.

Foreplay - The modern MOAT Alternative

foreplay ad search ui

Over 3,000 brands and agencies now use Foreplay to spy on their competitor advertising and analyze both media strategy and advertising creative. With support for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Google Banner Ads, the platform allows you to centralize your creative strategy and competitor insights into a single platform, making it the closest tool to the original Moat product.

Additionally, one of the largest short coming of Moat was that it did not support video. Considering most of modern digital advertising is video-based, Foreplay is suited to help you win in the video-first marketing landscape.

Foreplay also supports in-app advertising measurement, ensuring comprehensive viewability standards.

Start your 7 Day Free Trial of Foreplay

If you are looking for some platform-native ad libraries, here are some other options you can consider;

Google Ad Transparency - Spy on banner ads

google transparency center screenshot

The most aligned alternative to the Moat ad search database is the new transparency center launched by Google, which is the largest banner ad display network in the world. Although some of the data here is a bit limited, it is a great option nonetheless.

Facebook Ad Library - View competitor social ads

facebook ad library screenshot

If you have transitioned more of your media spend to social advertising rather than display. The Meta ad library is a great option for seeing the ads running in an active campaign across Facebook, Instagram, What's App, and audience networks. Additionally, for advertisers in the EU you can unlock additional data such as impressions, targeting and amount spent, device type and more.

Concluding, How to Navigate the Future of Display Ads and Ad Viewability Without Moat Ad Search

In conclusion, while the discontinuation of Moat Ad Search has left a void for marketers and advertisers who relied on its comprehensive ad viewability and competitive analysis features, there are several robust alternatives available in 2024.

Platforms like Foreplay have emerged as modern replacements, offering extensive support for various digital channels, including video formats that Moat lacked. Additionally, tools such as Google Ad Transparency and Facebook Ad Library provide valuable insights into display ads, helping marketers continue their competitive research and campaign optimization.

For those in creative roles, such as a senior art director, these tools offer valuable insights for career growth and professional development. Despite the changes, the quest for effective display ads and enhanced ad viewability remains a crucial aspect of digital marketing, and these new tools ensure that advertisers are well-equipped to navigate this evolving landscape.

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Zachary Murray

Founder of Foreplay.co

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