The launch of Facebook Places – a tool that allows Facebook users to share their location with peers – means location-based marketing has the potential to reach a mass audience (500m users against Foursquare’s 3m). This, combined with the launch of Facebook Deals, which enables brands to target consumers at specific locations, means many in the industry believe location-based marketing is now at a tipping point.
Nathan McDonald, managing partner at social marketing agency We Are Social, says every retailer should consider using alocation-based mobile service. How quickly they embrace the medium, however, depends on the audience they want to reach.“While location-based marketing will become an important part of the marketing ecosystem in time, Facebook is the only service with any kind of mass-market penetration right now because of its huge user base,” he says.
There is no doubt location-based marketing is still in its infancy; while analysts point to the UK and the US markets as the most advanced, even they are still reaching relatively niche audiences. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in the US, only 4% of online Americans currently use location-based services. This audience is more likely to be younger, with 8% of online adults aged 18 to 29 using the service. It is also skewed towards a male audience, with 6% of online men using a location-based service such as Foursquare or Gowalla, compared to 3% of online women.
Jimmy Choo Catch-a-Choo campaign on Foursquare:
- Consumers were invited on a treasure hunt to locate the brand’s newly launched trainer line
- Hit the headlines and saw 4,000 consumers interacting via Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook
- The competition was viewed on Facebook 285,000 times, and one in 17 Foursquare users were “chasing a Choo”
- Joshua Schulman, CEO at Jimmy Choo, says the campaign not only “increased the level of interaction with our own brand”, but the approach helped generate a real return on investment
- Jo Stratmann, head of marketing at social-media agency Fresh Networks, which created the Jimmy Choo campaign, says “brands and retailers shouldn’t just latch on to what they feel is the next big thing.
“There is certainly a resistance about broadcasting everywhere you are among consumers over 35,” says We Are Social’s McDonald.Location-based marketing can provide a clear route to improved footfall for retailers BUT Sam Reid, partner at
Guided Collective (has run location-marketing campaigns for Westfield) says, “Brands need to ask themselves how exciting is it for consumers to check in, what are you offering them in return to prevent it from simply becoming another digital burden to them.”
Clark, N.2011 ‘The Location Factor’ Available at: http://www.wgsn.com/content/report/Marketing/Communication_Strategy/2010/the_location_factor.html accessed 16 Feb 2011