PlaceIQ's Location-Aware Advertising Can Target You Block By Block

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It used to be that all a marketer needed to know was your zipcode, and they could infer your income range and a whole host of other demographic data about you. But with everyone now using mobile phones that can be targeted down to exact GPS coordinates at different times of the day, areas bounded by zipcodes seem vast in comparison. Imagine if instead marketers could break up the world into 100 million different tiles, each one about the size of a city block, and infer everything from what types of people are likely to be found in that tile at any given time. That’s basically what mobile advertising data startup PlaceIQ is setting out to do.

Mobile advertising inventory still goes largely unfilled because the relevance and targeting isn’t that good. PlaceIQ sifts through tons of data about locations to give marketers a mini-zipcode-like profile of each block. The data comes from both open sources and commercial data sets, including place data, retail data, government data, event data, photo data, social data, and, crime data. This goes well beyond Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, but the company says it doesn’t use any personally identifiable information. Rather, it is making assumptions based on the contextual cues of a person’s location and time of day.

It takes all of these various hyper-local data sources and maps it onto its 100 million map tiles. Then it normalizes the data and can guess what type of person is likely to be at that location at that time (a student, tourist, shopper, financial or tech worker, etc). It can also spit out information such as retail sales volume, events, foot traffic by time, and social media activity. And once people start responding to ads, it can fold in ad conversion dat aas well. The goal to give marketers the ability to target different mobile ads to students out drinking at night and financial employees working during the day.

Backed with $1 million in angel money from IA Ventures, Howard Lindzon’s Social Leverage and hedge fund manager Jim Pallota, PlaceIQ launched late last week. It is working with partners such as Where (which was just bought by eBay), Navteq, Admeld, and ad agencies such as Havas / Mobext, Integer, and Communefx.