Posts Tagged ‘location-based’

It’s an interesting question: When should I start utilizing emerging social media networks? The answer for the average brand/company is probably “later,” but for those companies who are really looking to take their social media strategies to the next level, it’s important to get in early and stay there for the duration. Sure, you can’t exactly be a major part of every possible up-and-comer in the social networking world, but you should at least be focused on the ones that make the most sense for your business. In the restaurant and retail world, this means Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Foursquare. Let’s think about Twitter for a second. If HP was the first to utilize Twitter, Dell wouldn’t be the big dog of personal computer sales in the Twitterverse. If Kroger, SuperValu or Costco had dove into Twitter headfirst, Whole Foods wouldn’t be kicking everyone’s butt in the Twittersphere. If you’re heady enough to get in before anything goes mainstream, you typically have a huge edge/advantage over your competition. It’s no different with Foursquare. Get in early or play catch-up with your competitors who were first to embrace location-based services!

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The Time for Foursquare Marketing Is… Later?

While it’s always a good idea to look forward and broaden your marketing mix when it comes to technology, a new study shows that expecting a huge, at-scale ROI from such cutting-edge location-based services as Foursquare might be a bit premature.

Research given to us today by marketing and tech firm Forrester shows that only a tiny stratum of the population is consistently using Foursquare (Foursquare). Only 4% of the adult, Internet (Internet)-using population has used any kind of location-based service, and just 1% of all adults check into a location at least once a week.

By contrast, more than 11% of online adults have used Twitter, and an estimated 28% of all Internet users have signed up for Facebook (Facebook).

But if you keep in mind that Foursquare isn’t yet a mass medium, you can plan to target your marketing efforts much better and still see the benefits of using this service and others like it as an advertising and marketing channel. And you’ll get the added benefit of being an experienced location-based marketing pro when services like this take off for the general population.

For example, the Forrester report noted, Starbucks saw some great things with its Foursquare program: “Starbucks, by connecting its existing loyalty program to a startup LBSN, got not only great press initially but also the opportunity to test an emerging technology. Adventurous marketers like Starbucks see a consumer market of early adopters that will hopefully grow into a new and active audience.”

Forrester also found that location-based service (LBS) users are likely to be 19- to 35-year-old, college-educated males who are influential among their friends and family. These users generally do a lot of mobile-based web research when considering making a purchase, from a refrigerator or a car to a movie ticket or dinner at a restaurant. Their average household income is right around the six-figure mark — around $20,000 higher than consumers who don’t use an LBS.

Because of the place-based nature of LBSs, people who use them are extremely connected to the web and Internet and social applications via their mobile devices. Forrester’s research shows these users are also big on using their mobile devices to find directions, look up information about local businesses and read or submit local business reviews on sites such as Yelp (Yelp).

Getting intelligence on these kinds of consumers and testing multiple small-scale LBS campaigns is the best way to prepare for successful location-based marketing efforts in the future — like, perhaps, when Facebook launches its location service in the near future and this geeks-only paradigm is suddenly brought to an international scale.



Walking down the street I bump into you and immediately recognize your face. We’ve met somewhere before. Maybe you were one of the guys in our golf foursome last month. Maybe you’re the guy that serves me my Starbucks grande drip. Damn. I can’t place you. Wait… one more second. Ok. There’s your name. My digital computer contact lenses just relayed an image of your face to to my phone, which scoured Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find your mug. Bingo, my bluetooth headset just told me your name, reminded me that we went to USC together, and most likely took the same Communication marketing class. Wow. And you’re married with two kids. Looks like we’ll be automatically checked into the Vons grocery store we’re both walking into. The future is near.

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When Facial Recognition Meets Check In

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The news that Apple was collecting location-based service data was not met with pleasure by some in Congress, hence the tech company’s summons to Washington to explain. Last week it gave a detailed response [pdf] to questions posed by Representative Joe Barton (D, Texas) and Edward Markey (D, Mass), which was subsequently released.

In short, Apple is not tracking individuals with the data. “When a customer’s device sends Wi-Fi, cell tower, GPS, or diagnostic location information to Apple, it does not include any information identifying the particular device or user,” Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell said. Information that is collected is maintained for six months. Location-based data that is passed on to partners is converted into zip codes (via Mac Observer).

Apple also confirmed users can opt out of sharing location-based information by not agreeing to the policy changes – which is an unlikely option for many as it means they won’t be able to create an iTunes Store account. But users can disable location-based services on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad by going to Settings > General > Location Services, and turning the feature off on a per-app basis or system-wide, Mac Observer says.

In the Year 2054

Such precautions may well be viewed as downright quaint over the next few decades if futuristic visions described by Mark Cuban in his Maverick blog comes to pass.  Cuban tells of a company that takes video of an area and is able to determine exactly how many people are in the area at any given time. The next logical extension would be to install it in places where it is possible to add facial recognition software, he said – making it an ideal app for companies that are using check ins for their marketing and customer outreach.

“So rather than someone checking in to a specific application, we would already know you are there.” ‘Opt out’ mechanisms would be necessary, he acknowledged, and there would probably be a battle “over whether or not a store or venue should be ‘opt in’ vs automated recognition, but that’s not a software issue.”

The reality is this is the answer to the “the path of least resistance” issue with check-ins for location-based software, he continued. “Individuals never do any of the work. The store/host recognizes you are there and rewards you for allowing your identity and information to be captured and linked.”

If this sounds a little too much like Minority Report, the Tom Cruise movie set in 2054 that is because there are some distinct similarities, says TechCrunch, which estimates it could take as long as ten years for such an application to come to market.  Briefly, in the Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report, the main character John Anderton is walking through a public mall and a retina scanner picks up his eye signature and offers him advertisements customized to his tastes and previous purchases . Interestingly, Spielberg hired a team of futurists to come up with technology that is likely to be in place all those years from now, TechCrunch says. Even when the technology arrives, TechCrunch speculates, society will have to be eased into accepting it, perhaps with some interim applications.

Friending By Facial Recognition

The use of facial recognition is starting to creep in to social media use, however, suggesting that some people, at least, are comfortable with its use in such venues. Comverse released an app in which it married social marketing with facial recognition software to create what it said was the first ever socially augmented reality tool. Unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the beginning of the year, the app uses facial recognition algorithms and a database of images to link a particular face with an appropriate profile, writes Intomobile.  Comverse also billed the application as a tool to be used for dealing with acquaintances, “practically connecting people before they even know each other’s names. If you bump into someone who you met before and he or she looks familiar but you can’t remember why, the app will locate that person’s online profile to put a name to the face.”