There was a time we were told never to tell a stranger where we are. Now we tell all of them where we are – or at least some of them. In return, we are starting to get discounts, mayorships, game points, extra toppings on ice cream – and the fun is just beginning as the numbers start growing.
New research from comScore MobiLens service says that now 16.7 million U.S. mobile subscribers are using location based services (LBS) to “check-in” at various locations. Once a sliver of the mobile population, more than 7 percent are now playing with FourSquare, Facebook Places, SCVNGR and others.
The landscape changes almost daily. Case in point, today Google Places announced that now they will also import your FourSquare check-ins. This is made even easier with single sign-on.
Location based services are being used by a growing number of consumer and business-to-business (B2B) companies to engage their customers and prospects. Smartphone users, according to comScore, are the most likely to check in. Actually, one in five smartphone users are already using these services.
“Although still in their relative infancy, location-based mobile check-in services are seeing rather impressive adoption among smartphone users,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile. “The ability to interact with consumers on this micro-local level through special offers, deals and other incentives provides brands with the real-time opportunity to engage consumers through their mobile device.”
More than 60 percent of those who use LBS’ to check in are over 25 years old, with the sweet spot of the demographic being the 25-34 year olds who make up almost one third of all check-ins.
Of ALL check-ins, 76.2 percent were done through a smart phone, with Android users mostly likely to check-in, followed by RIM (Blackberry) users and iPhone users.
The study also showed “Check-in service users also showed a high propensity for accessing retail-related destinations on their mobile devices. Nearly one-third of users accessed online retail sites on their mobiles, while one-fourth accessed shopping guides.”
These are buyers, folks. They are comfortable with mobile tech, comfortable sharing their location for benefits and know how to leverage “The New Coupons.”
The study said these same users are the trend-setters to plan by: “More than 95 percent of check-in service users used their mobile browser or applications. Nearly 62 percent accessed news. Check-in user behavior was also consistent with that of traditional early adopters, with 40.3 percent of users accessing tech news and 28.2 percent owning a media tablet, both significantly higher than average.”
The advice is simple: Learn about location based services and develop a mobile strategy. If these early adopters are sharing location and shopping on mobile devices, you want your content to be visible NOW on all popular mobile devices.