Location-based services set for boom

25 April 2012

LONDON: Location-based services like Facebook Places and Foursquare could soon witness a rapid increase in uptake around the world, a study has found.

TNS, the research firm, surveyed 48,000 people in 58 countries, and discovered that 62% of people not currently utilising location-based services (LBS) plan to do so in the future.

Based on the results of the poll, the analysis also suggested 19% of the estimated 6bn mobile phone subscribers globally currently employ these tools.

Navigation, GPS and maps was the most popular category, mentioned by 46% of respondents that already leverage LBS offerings.

Elsewhere, 13% of participants belonging to social networks "check-in" to locations like stores and restaurants via Facebook Places, Foursquare and other equivalent properties, up 50% year on year.

To date, 22% of the LBS audience discover if their friends are nearby in this way, while 26% find restaurants and entertainment venues and 19% check public transport times.

A further 12.5% share their locations with brands and retailers to access special offers. Moreover, 21% of interviewees agreed mobile advertising offering targeted advertising based on their whereabouts would be "interesting".

"We are really starting to see location based services 'come of age'. People are realising that sharing their location often offers some kind of reward in terms of a discount or deal," said James Fergusson, global head of TNS's digital and technology practice.

"It is the combination of time and context – directing people towards a deal when they can easily redeem it – that unlocks a powerful tool for marketers to develop precise targeting approaches."

Data sourced from TNS; additional content by Warc staff