PlaceIQ Gets Funding To Nano-Target Local Context

Understanding the context of users as they move through the day will become a key challenge for mobile media and advertising. PlaceIQ, a start-up that just received $4.2 million in Series A funding, says that “context” is more than just a DMA or a map of nearby businesses.

It claims its ad-targeting technology creates a “hyperlocal digital index of the physical world,” by understanding not only what is there, but who is in a place, and when, and what they are doing.  

Mobile technology does not just allow marketers to target people in a given spot -- the same platform is also rendering massive amounts of data from people about what they are doing there. “We analyze all of the place data being created,” says Duncan McCall, CEO.

Some of it is the static data about a geolocation -- but much is what people search for on their mobile phones in a given spot, and the ads click on mobile ad networks, etc. “We do it in 100-meter tiles. So we can understand the type of audience that is present and their affinity to behaviors, events or even an IAB segment,” he says.

Says John Hadl, founder of BrandinHand, a mobile marketing agency he sold to FRWD and now a US Ventures partner, behind PlaceIQ's funding: “When you provide context you can create scalable targeted advertising.”

Data points like events can be a powerful determinant of real-world context, adds McCall. McCall and Hadl say the data gathering and targeting exercise are entirely privacy-safe; it doesn't track people, but context profiles. The contexts have been built from inferences made about generalized, anonymous data.

Targeting advertising is the first use for the contextual profiles. The company claims that in early trials, it saw a 118% increase in clickthroughs on an ad after using this targeting. But the data sets have other uses, both for mobile providers and other marketers. ProfileIQ is working with agencies to target places for appropriate out-of-home ad placements.

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