Is ‘Checking In’ A Thing Of The Past?

Google Maps PinYou might have noticed a change in our behaviour recently. Our lives are seemingly dominated by devices that we never knew we needed 10 years ago. Smartphone use in the UK, for example, has seen an incredible increase since 2012, with over 70% of us now owning one.

If you have a smartphone and a tablet you probably have quite a strong bond with them. Quite likely you see these devices as a natural extension of yourself.

Congratulations! You belong to a fast-growing group of consumers, one that is highly engaged with their phones and with their iPads. The brands that have cottoned on to this engaged usage, through development of clever mobile apps and mobile-based services, have been rewarded with loyalty and a rise in online sales.

Businesses are being forced to rethink their strategies as we become an increasingly mobile-first society. Rather than initially just designing a desktop-based website, many online businesses are thinking of tablet and smartphone-friendly layouts right from the start of the process.

LinkedIn, with 11 million UK members, has declared itself a mobile-first company. Facebook has also said it would be focusing its efforts on mobile. And it’s not only social media which is almost exclusively mobile-driven these days. We’re increasingly doing our online shopping using our mobiles or tablets too – 6% of retail sales in the UK in 2013 were attributed to mobiles; that’s a rise of 18%.

You’ll Need to Act Fast to Keep Up

If you’re a business thinking of getting into the mobile market then you’ll need to move fast to keep up with consumer demand. Thinking smarter, by using good clean data and tracking consumer patterns of behaviour, will mean you’ll be a winner in this race.

Of course, there are still barriers to collecting and using this data – systems that don’t work, manual processes, data overload, the risk averse vs. the innovators etc. If you’re savvy and realise that your business needs to go mobile, then think about the advantages of harnessing location data.

Mobile Location Data

You’ve seen it countless times in the Facebook status bar – the ‘check in’. Friends and family notifying you as to where they are; which town they’re in, which restaurant they’re eating at, which local attraction they’re visiting.

So good, so (relatively) uninteresting, you’ve seen it all before. But the ‘check in’ could well be on its way of checking out. Apps that use mobile location data are becoming more popular, and Facebook has already worked this out and changed its focus.

A successful location-based strategy is one that provides its users with a great service as well as encouraging data sharing. It’s also vital if you want to create a valuable app, one where marketers can gather information to drive highly targeted campaigns.

A recent report from BI Intelligence looks at how location-based services have changed and how this is used by companies as the basis for their targeted marketing activities. Some of the findings include:

  • Check-ins are becoming a thing of the past. The percentage of U.S. adults who reported using local-social networks to ‘check in’ decreased from 18% in February 2012 to 12% in 2013.
  • Apps that promote information as well as location sharing prosper.
  • Research supports the idea that locally-based apps (in the UK see O2 Moments or Voucher Codes, for instance) and advertising leads to an in-store purchase. As a business, you can effectively ‘close the loop’ by nudging people down the purchasing funnel.

So whether you view mobile marketing as a consumer or as a business, it’s clear that it’s wise to start thinking mobile-smart* and turning location-based information to your advantage.

*Clever Business Websites’ £79 and £99 monthly price plans automatically include mobile-optimised services for websites.

Image courtesy of Aram Bartholl and New York Times