New Zealand: According to the latest report of TNS, a market research firm, there is a massive demand for location-based mobile services worldwide. The insights firm’s report further revealed that more than 60 per cent of mobile-phone users worldwide who don’t yet use location based service (LBS) said they want to.
TNS’ annual Mobile Life study explored mobile use among 48,000 people in 58 countries. The study showed that the majority of people around the world recognize the value of sharing their location to benefit from a range of services. Globally, almost 30 per cent of the world’s 6 billion people are using smartphones, and in developed Asia-Pacific countries (which includes Japan, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and New Zealand), this figure climbs to over 42 per cent.
Of the many features the smartphone provides, one of the most popular non-core services is LBS, with nearly two in 10 mobile users already using it. Most users globally would like to use LBS for navigation (46 per cent), but there is also growing interest in more diverse activities, with 13 per cent of current social-network users ‘checking-in’ on platforms like Foursquare or Facebook Places—a 50 per cent increase from 2011.
James Fergusson, global head, digital and technology practice, at TNS was not surprised at this finding, commenting that it was a trend “waiting to happen”.
Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Fergusson said, “Improving networks, GPS services and smartphones were three things needed to make LBS a real factor in mobile user’s lives. The service is currently very much driven by maps usage, but users are keen to use it for far more than that.”
Some of these additional uses include using LBS to find nearby friends (22 per cent). Over a quarter use the technology to find restaurants and entertainment venues (26 per cent) or check public transport schedules (19 per cent) or book a taxi (8 per cent).
Most interesting to marketers is the fact that LBS users are willing to share their locations with brands and retailers, with one in eight sharing their location in exchange for a deal or a special offer. “It’s such a major opportunity for brands when they can communicate with consumers and target them when they’re at a relevant location,” noted Fergusson.
TNS’ study also highlighted that, even beyond the current users of LBS, a third of people globally who are already using or would like to use mobile voucher schemes are most keen to receive deals when they’re near a store they like. Despite more than a fifth of mobile-phone users asserting that they find “all advertising annoying”, the same percentage have indicated that they would be interested if the advertisement was for a deal near their location (21 per cent), if the deal was related to something the mobile user is interested in (23 per cent) or if the deal is related to something the user is searching for (18 per cent).
In all markets, few are as open to location-based mobile advertising as those in developed Asia. More than three in 10 said they’d be interested in mobile advertising if it related to something they were interested in, if it was a deal near their current location (28 per cent) and if it was connected to something they were searching for (25 per cent).
One market in Asia that is lagging behind in LBS is China. Although 36 per cent of mobile users in Asia are using location-services to find restaurants and entertainment values nearby, only 17 per cent are doing so in China.
Fergusson continued, “These regional variations highlight the importance of having a targeted strategy when it comes to location-based marketing. LBS offers marketers an unprecedented level of engagement and targeting, however it has to be done in line with how people in individual markets want to engage with brands to avoid being intrusive. Where brands get it right, we have seen significant rewards in terms of brand engagement, loyalty and sales.”
Source: Campaign Asia-Pacific