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Check it Out – Who is Really Checking in?

Posted on 5.13.2012

Mobile has been one of the hottest topics in the tech industry for some time now, but there are still many uncertainties as to exactly how consumers are utilizing their devices. This information is especially important for Web workers who want to optimize their brand’s presence for multi-channel users.

A new study from research company Pew Internet provides insights into how these devices are being utilized by consumers, including statistics on location-based and geosocial services, which can be valuable features for local businesses to leverage within their mobile apps.

The survey reveals that 74 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to get real-time, location-based information such as directions or recommendations that are related to their current location, but only 18 percent are using geosocial services to check-in or share their locations with friends. Both of these statistics show an increase in usage since 2011, when only 55 percent of smartphone users were utilizing location-based services and 12 percent were using geosocial services.

The uptick in usage of these services is a good sign, especially for businesses looking to capitalize on local and social via mobile devices. For example, location-based services can provide a consumer who is searching for “pizza” with directions, reviews and information for local pizzerias, which can be influential in increasing the foot traffic at local pizzerias.

On the other hand, geosocial services provide businesses with better word-of-mouth advertising via the customer check-ins that businesses accumulate on social networks such as Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla.

And while the uptick in these location-based and geosocial services is important to note, Web workers should also know what demographics are leveraging these services. Women under the age of 30 are the most likely to use both location-based and geosocial services, while college graduates and those with a household income of at least $75,000 are more likely to use location-based services.

Conversely, consumers without college experience and those with a household income of less than $40,000 are more likely to use geosocial services.

It is safe to say that usage of location-based and geosocial services will continue to grow, especially as smartphone adaptation continues to gain momentum and as more consumers realize exactly what these services can do – such as find them local businesses to visit or offer them coupons as an incentive to check in on a site such as Foursquare.


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