Speculations often arise on the future of location-based services as well as its take up outside of North America. Arguments that location-based services appeal only to niche audiences and are limited in function combined with studies that indicate access is being led by U.S. adoption, fuel these speculations. Recently released data from comScore, Inc provides an alternative view.
Recent data released by comScore, Inc. shows that 11.6 million EU5 mobile subscribers used location-based “check-in” services on their phones (3 month rolling average Feb-Mar 2011) representing 5% of the entire mobile population across the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. A review of the U.S. market found that 16.7 million U.S. mobile subscribers or 7% of the entire U.S. mobile audience used “check-in” services in March suggesting that EU5 is steadily on par with U.S. early adoption of location based services. Additionally, similar demographic profiles of location based users are emerging across regions. Check-in service users, defined as those accessing services such as Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla, had heavy skews toward 18-24 year old’s in the U.S. and EU5, reaching as high as 15% take up in the United Kingdom.
This comparative assessment indicates that location-based services potential to penetrate mass market is imminently and probable. Adoption across regions is a reasonable indicator of this. Furthermore, organic adoption in the United Kingdom of 15% amongst 18-24 year olds combined with recent product announcements including that by industry leader, Foursquare of mobile instant message integration on BBM, are compelling indicators of the prolific future of this industry and its limitless capabilities.
The marketing implications of widespread location base service adoption are rich and plentiful. Much location based campaigns have been limited to the North American market. With more and more Europeans “checking-in” creating a brand presence on these platforms whether it be via Facebook Places, Foursquare, or Gowalla provides a wealth of opportunity including:
- Amplifying event coverage by creating branded venues
- Maximizing campaign/brand awareness through the purchase of a Foursquare badge
- Increasing retail footfall by offering exclusive deals to Facebook fans who check-in at your store or stand
Even more exciting is that relevant communications prompted by pull based consumer action through location-based services is within sight and being used innovatively by several brands including Karen Millen with the use of “Special Nearby” “Tips” functions of Foursquare. Perhaps marketing’s “holy grail” is nearer then anticipated!
Disclosure: BlackBerry is an Edelman client
Image credit: halilgokdal
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