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‘Marketers should refine mobile geolocation strategies’

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US: A survey report released by White Horse, a digital marketing agency, urged marketers to refine their mobile geolocation strategies now as location-based services near the tipping point of consumer adoption. The report, Lost in Geolocation: Why Consumers Haven’t Bought It, and How Marketers Can Fix It, is available for free download on White Horse website.

This report is the first in a planned series of mobile marketing research reports produced by White Horse’s new Digital Futures Group. It has been authored by Will Reese and Jamie Beckland. It is based on the White Horse Digital Futures Group’s recent survey of 427 US smartphone users, defines immediate opportunities to test participation incentives, increase social integration, and actively overcome privacy concerns to drive participation. It shares key findings and detailed recommendations for marketers to improve mobile engagement with location-based services, including Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla.

The report reveals that more than 60 percent of smartphone users still are not using location-based services, and marketers and location-based service providers have more work to do in establishing the value of the services to the uninitiated. The report also revealed strong correlation between location-based service usage and heavy social network usage, suggesting the need for brands to strongly integrate their social and mobile strategies to take advantage of early adopter behaviour.

According to the report, neither discounts and deals nor gaming and entertainment are effectively attracting users towards location-based services. Only 6 percent of people familiar with these apps feel that the benefit to most people is “discounts,” and only 8 percent believe that the benefit to them personally would be “savings in discounts and merchant rewards.” And while apps like Foursquare and Gowalla have incorporated game mechanics as key components of the experience, consumers do not seem to regard “entertainment” and “achieving milestones in a game” as among the most important benefits.

Facebook Places is the “primary” or most frequently used app. 42 percent of smartphone users consider Facebook Places their primary app, while roughly a quarter of the sample each choose Google Latitude and Foursquare, respectively. Twitter Places, Gowalla and Whrrl collectively account for only 6 percent.

Source: White Horse