We know where you live.

Location based apps have been much covered by the media of late. So it was with great interest that a recent Forrester research paper appears to have been used by sections of the media to play down the importance of location based services (LBS)

 I am one of those who takes the opposing view.

  • Location based apps, few people currently using them but;
  • Will be a key media channel for personalised marketing because;
  • 64% of UK pop has a social media profile of which a quarter access via there mobile
  • Hugely important for the development of augmented reality
  • Key for brands to experiment and understand now

I think location based apps are REALLY important. I think brands that get into and understand LBS now will have a clear march on those that don’t. The best analogy I found was looking at the stats on Facebook take up. The early days of Facebook was dominated by a manly male, degree educated, slightly geeky audience. Currently the users of LBS services like Foursquare fall directly into this category.

Most services are predominantly American like; Foursquare, Gowalla, MyTown, Brightkite, Loopt Foursquare as I said has a fair amount of UK users.

Stickybits I have written about before. Brilliant idea, waiting for a brand to have fun with it.

The technology of LBS services is not perfect (yet) only a few apps are available (yet) and only a few people in London, let alone the UK use it (yet) But thundering over the horizon is the prospect of a Facebook embedded location aware service that would reward users with points/status/prizes. Once launched this would see an avalanche of brands attempting, without really understanding, location based marketing.

The current small, London based audience, for LBS offers brands an amazing test bed of consumers eager to try out such functionality. What better way to hone the techniques of LBS and evaluate its effectiveness? Rather than going for broke in a very public way on mass-market platform like Facebook.

There are the beginnings of some pretty smart analysis tools like Perspectives from Awareness because the data is so rich I would expect many more, graphically gorgeous tools to emerge.

LBS offers international brands opportunities for loyalty schemes to directly migrate to peoples mobiles, but there is so much more to LBS than a Nectar card on steroids

LBS can deliver fun and information for consumers plus genuine relevant engagement for brands. What I am waiting for is my mobile to spring into life and do the following, simply by the geo-position of where I am standing

While in bar A being offered a drink by bar B due to crowds where I am. Plus because I have a loyalty bonus at bar C the offer relates to a drink I like. Then a taxi company offering a deal at closing time to take me to a particular club, which I had chosen to go to by the number and type of people already there. (also I’d checked the musical tastes of those people) When at the club being offered a discounted entry because I had been to a rival previously.

Then again, simply in a new restaurant being able to see what everyone else has ordered and what other restaurants they’ve been to before.