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Location-Based Marketing Points Consumers in the Right Direction

Nearly twice as many adults used location-based services in 2012, as compared to 2011

The percentage of Americans using mobile phones to find local information is increasing dramatically and the number of people in the US broadcasting their location through geosocial sites is ticking steadily upwards, according to a new eMarketer report.

The new report, “Location-Based Marketing: Driving Sales in a ‘What’s Around Me?’ World,” analyzes findings from dozens of third-party research providers and interviews with industry executives, answering key questions about the opportunities and challenges location-based marketing presents, including:

  • Where does commerce fit in the local-social-mobile nexus?
  • Where are location-sharing platforms headed and will the check-in survive?
  • What tactics are marketers using to drive local commerce?
  • What is “geofencing” and how does it work?
  • How can marketers address privacy concerns?

Forty-six percent of adult mobile phone owners, including 74% of smartphone owners, accessed location-based information services as of February 2012, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. These percentages were up significantly from the previous May, when 55% of smartphone owners and 28% of mobile users overall sought such services.

To put these figures into perspective, 41% of US adults used their mobile phones to get location-based information in February 2012, nearly double the number that did so just nine months earlier.

And consumers are putting that information to good use. Half of mobile searchers surveyed by Google in March 2012 said they visited a store after searching for local information and 26% made an in-store purchase.

“Shoppers are increasingly asking themselves, ‘What’s near me?’ because they know geosocial and location-based services on their mobile devices can provide answers and find nearby deals instantly,” said eMarketer. “Marketers that sharpen their focus on location-based marketing tactics can successfully connect these location-minded consumers to businesses in their immediate vicinity.”

Key Takeaways from “Location-Based Marketing: Driving Sales in a ‘What’s Around Me?’ World:”

  • Research suggests local search is successfully guiding consumers to stores and increasing sales.
  • Social networks are making it easier for businesses to broadcast deals and recommendations across a wider network of users in real time with improved location and mobile targeting.
  • Implicit and explicit location and behavioral data from social networks is being mined to establish purchase intent. In turn, such data is being used to target deals, messages and advertisements that drive foot traffic and sales.
  • Opt-in messaging campaigns and location-aware apps are attracting new customers and inspiring loyalty through location-targeted (and increasingly behaviorally-targeted) offers.

About eMarketer
eMarketer publishes data, analysis and insights on digital marketing, media and commerce. We do this by gathering information from many sources, filtering it, and putting it into perspective. For more than a decade, leading companies have trusted this approach, and have relied on eMarketer to help them make better business decisions.
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