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Can Geolocation Apps Win Over Smartphone Users?

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Location-based services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places haven't yet reached a tipping point: Although 56% of smartphone users are aware of geolocation apps, only 39% use at least one, according to a survey from White Horse.

Among surveyed smartphone owners who use location-based apps, Facebook Places is the most popular (42%), followed by Google Latitude (27%) and Foursquare (25%).

The high adoption level of Facebook Places is likely due to the incidental lift driven by the huge success of the Facebook mobile app, White Horse notes.

Below, other findings from the report titled Lost in Geolocation, based on survey of 437 smartphone users, by White Horse Productions.


Seeking Personal Connections

Users of location-based apps are drawn to such services for personal connections (41%) and to find information on places from people they trust (21%). 


Only 8% of location-based apps users cite discounts and deals as the primary benefit of using such apps.

Barriers to Adoption

Among smarphone owners aware of location-based apps, but not using them, most cite unfavorable reasons for not doing so, with privacy issues topping the list:

  • 32.9% cite privacy as a concern.
  • 26.0% find the benefits unclear and, consequently, the apps unnecessary.
  • 19.2% say such apps are redundant to how they already communicate.


Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.


User Demographics

Overall, users of location-based apps are young, active contributors to social networks.

  • Awareness is highest among the young: Roughly 62% of smartphone users age 20-29 are aware of location-based apps, compared with 50% of those age 30-49 and 27% of those age 50-79.
  • 99.4% of location-based apps users also use social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.
  • 86% of location-based apps users say they interact on social networking sites at least several times per week, compared with 67% of non-users who interact at that frequency.
  • Non-users tend to be female: 65% are.

Frequency of Use

Daily use of location-based apps is still low, particularly compared to social networking use.  Among location-based apps users, 19% check in with their favorite geolocation service at least once a day, compared with 60% who check in with their favorite social site daily.

Moreover, roughly 12% of surveyed location-based apps users say they no longer use such services, but virtually none have stopped using social networking sites.

About the data: Findings are from a survey of 437 US smartphone users, February 16-23, 2011.


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  • by Ami Martin Thu Apr 28, 2011 via web

    If you are interested in downloading the full "Lost in Geolocation" report visit: www.whitehorse.com/reports

    Or, access the "5 Breakaway Mobile Marketing Insights" webinar at: www.whitehorse.com/webinars

  • by Chris Ogi Thu Jul 14, 2011 via web

    Social websites and apps should give people the opportunity to decide on their privacy…

    I carry out a survey on geolocation. If someone has some time and desire to answer a few questions - it would really help me:)

    survey link: http://www.surveypie.com/survey100347

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