Turning Facebook into a cash register hasn't been easy, but a handful of investors who recognize the challenge have awarded Nashville-based Moontoast, which specializes in social media advertising, $5 million in Series B funding to build out its services. The investment led by the Martin Companies, with participation from previous investors, supports interactive and transaction-based rich media ads on Facebook, and other social sites.
Marcus Whitney, Moontoast co-founder and CTO, said benefits support a familiarity with permission-based marketing, which aligns with direct marketing strategies. "The majority on impressions served up by social advertisers are the result of a 'like,'" he said. "On Facebook, the ad isn't some display image, but rather related to the content on a Web site. It's in a story form and entertaining."
Whitney said the ads streaming in the newsfeed support permission-based advertising and lead generation, different from display ads on a Web site. It adds up to more than a simple like, share or click.
The Moontoast platform supports brands like Universal Music Group, Lexus, Nike, Hyundai, Lady Antebellum, Time, and Simon & Schuster. It collects data from interaction with ads and transactional purchases on desktop and mobile.
The country music group Lady Antebellum, for example, uses the platform to drive fan loyalty. The group has its own Web site store, but they reserve a portion of their inventory, such as music and t-shirts, to create flash deals on their Facebook Fan page. It also serves as a way to build an email list. Moontoast also has run campaigns for Reba McEntire, and Rascal Flatts.
Overall, about 70% of Moontoast's business comes from Facebook, according to Blair Heavey, CEO for the company.
Moontoast will use the VC investment to support development of Moontoast's Social Activation Platform, the company’s growing business development, sales and client services efforts, and the expansion of its marketing and product development teams.
Heavey said the company will also expand relationships with existing development partners, such as ExactTarget, Demandware, Magento, Mercent, and PayPal, which provide lead-generation or reseller support.