Like many aspects of mobile marketing, location-based social networks (LBSNs) offer interactive marketers the promise of connecting consumers with places and points of sale.

Most marketers, however, should wait to adopt the nascent channel until larger industry players, such as Facebook and Yahoo, offer location-based services at a sufficiently large scale, according to a study by Forrester.

Consumer adoption levels are still low in the fragmented LSBN marketplace. The most popular vendors—Brightkite, foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, and Whrrl—all boast fast-growing memberships, but many don't publicly reveal their numbers, according to Forrester.

Loopt now reports 4 million users. By contrast, Twitter, still widely considered a niche website, reports 100 million users.

Only 4% of surveyed US online adults have ever used LBSNs on their mobile phones, and just 1% use them more than once a week, Forrester found. 

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