Build Geolocation Strategy from Social Initiatives

This is  cross-posted from the White Horse blog.

If you’re trying to develop your geolocation marketing strategy, but don’t know where to begin, look no further than your social media strategy. These two components go hand in hand, and spending energy on geolocation without tight social integration will lead to a marketing program that’s dead on arrival.

White Horse recently conducted a survey of smartphone users to determine how geolocation apps like Foursquare and Gowalla were being used by consumers, and how marketers should integrate check-in functionality and location information to their marketing plan.

The results were clear: Facebook Places was, far and away, the most utilized geolocation check-in service. And that has big implications for every brand with a digital presence.

Facebook Places is deployed on far, far more phones than any other geolocation service. Foursquare has about 7.5 million mobile usersFacebook Places has well over 150 million mobile users (this number is from July, so it’s a bit outdated). You are 20 times more likely to find your prospects on Facebook Places than on Foursquare.

For marketers, then, the choice is clear. When looking to build out a location-based marketing strategy with a strong digital component, Facebook Places will yield the greatest success right now.

By leveraging your existing investment in social media, to promote your location-based touchpoints, you will also ensure that there is strong brand affinity and purchase intent with your geolocation initiatives.

When a marketing geolocation strategy starts with your existing Facebook Fans, it’s easy to build successful engagements with an incremental, test-and-learn approach. It also provides valuable insight into your social media community and drives additional value for your most connected and most important customers.

This is just one of the insights from our new webinar on mobile marketing strategies. We’ll review original, proprietary research on how consumers are using location-based applications, and how to show quick results in mobile marketing initiatives. Sign up for the March 30 5 Breakaway Mobile Marketing Insights webinar now.


2 Replies to “Build Geolocation Strategy from Social Initiatives”

  1. Jamie – Nice post.
    One issue: Yes on Facebook, from a sheer numbers standpoint, you are more likely to find your target, but the problem with Facebook places, like Facebook in general, is Facebook users are usually preoccupied with their friends. They aren’t really in the mindset to receive a commercial message from an advertiser.

    On Foursquare, Gowallah and Yelp, users are more in the mindset of seeking locations (restaurants, bars etc) and less worried about friends, as a result, they are perhaps, more open to receiving a marketing message. So, from an available mindshare perspective, while the reach is considerably less on the competing services, the ROI might be a lot higher than Facebook places.

    From my own perspective, the use cases for the different services is radically different. This is why Foursquare wasn’t just wiped out by Facebook places. The use cases:
    – Facebook places: stalk your friends or women you are attracted to…
    – Foursquare, Gowallah: geographically surf your neighborhood and world. There is a certain serendipity factor at work on these services. Example: “Oh, check out this cool bar some random just checked into..”
    – Yelp: This is the place for true Foodies. Facebook will never have this content because its users are obsessed with their own life and friends. This is the place to find true review content.

    Obviously from reach perspective, Facebook is huge. The recurring theme though is Facebook users just aren’t that into anything other than their friends or Facebook in and of itself.


  2. James, you’re totally right from a user perspective. The question I am trying to address, though, is: What should marketers do about these behaviors?

    Our research (that we’re presenting in the webinar) shows that the use cases are basically the same for all services, and that deals are not a motivating factor for Foursquare/Gowalla/SCVNGR et. al. Only 7% indicated that they check in because of the possibility for a deal.

    Yelp is actually a useful geolocation app for the reasons you list. It’s easy to see how the long term trend will be for location to be integrated into a number of purpose-specific apps.

    But, marketers need to act now to implement some mobile strategies – and the most effective will be to create an extension of their existing Facebook efforts – both from a reach and efficiency standpoint.

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