Location based services (LBS) are something rather new in the marketing mix landscape. In the past few years consumers have begun using them for their latest potential, “checking-in” places. By “checking-in” users automatically tell their friends where they are, with who, what they’re doing and if they’re enjoying themselves. This technology fits perfectly into the social media world, and can do wonders for businesses if used correctly.
Location based services via mobile started in the late 1990’s to help consumers track the weather and traffic patterns. The main advantage of this was that users no longer had to manually type in their location, it was simply read from their device. Today however, with new uses and consumer interest, the service is estimated to drive revenues to the $12.4 billion by 2014.
So what are some of the most popular location based services and who is using them? Below we will examine five key players is the LBS world and then breakdown which demographics are using them the most often.
What the service allows consumers to do is check in to various businesses or events and share their location with friends via different social networking sites. Users then gain badges the more they check in. Its main purpose is to allow users to bookmark information and give brands a tool to engage and retain consumers.
SCVNGR is a game platform that uses location based services to track where consumers are so they can then participate in specific brand-related challenges and unlock rewards. It’s based off the idea that consumers will participate in certain tasks in order to gain something at the end, materialist or not.
Loopt is an application available on a variety of mobile devices from the iPhone to the Windows Phone. When a user checks in via a “ping” a message is sent to all of their friends near by.
Found only on Android phones, Neer is a new service that offers a more private location based sharing experiences. Rather than checking in for a reward or to gain a badge, Neer is more focused on keeping track of family and friends. Users control who sees their whereabouts by telling the names of locations but not the physical address.
Yelps allows consumers to rate businesses and write reviews if they chose to do so. There have been over 15 million reviews written and 83% of businesses on the site receive a three star rating or higher.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project finds that 4% of online adults use a service such as Foursquare or Gowalla that allows them to share their location with friends and to find others who are nearby. On any given day, 1% of internet users are using these services.
But who is using them?
A study done by the same organization named Hispanic males as the main group using location based services the most. 6% of online men use a location-based service such as Foursquare or Gowalla, compared with 3% of online women. And 10% of online Hispanics use these services – significantly more than online whites (3%) or online blacks (5%).
Some other interesting facts on LBS:
- 8% of 18-29 year olds use location based services more than any other group
- 7% of adults who go online with their mobile phone use location based services
- LBS revenues are expected to reach $12.7 billion by 2014
Information and statistics provided by: