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.
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.
Below, other findings from the Forrester study, Location-Based Social Networks: A Hint of Mobile Engagement Emerges.
Though small in numbers, geolocation users are powerful consumer demographic. They are...
- Young, male, and well-educated—traits typically associated with the early-adopter demographic
- 38% more likely than online adults to say friends and family ask their opinion before making a purchase decision
- Roughly 14%-20% more likely to check their cell phones before making big purchases
LBSN users are roughly eight times more likely than online adults to search for information via cell phone about telecom services (23% vs. 4%), financial investment products (23% vs. 3%), large consumer appliances (21% vs. 3%), and business products (16% vs. 2%).
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At this point in the market's development, cutting-edge, male-targeted marketers are best-suited for testing the LBSN waters, especially in areas such as gaming and consumers electronics, and other marketers should wait until adoption rates increase and established players emerge from the fray, according to Forrester.