Location-Based Marketing

Ah, FourSquare. That all too entertaining phone app that allows us to keep up with friends, discover what’s nearby and unlock rewards as we go. The platform is growing at a rapid pace. FourSquare currently has 15 million users and more than 1.5 billion check-ins. More than 5 million people are “checking in” each day, and the FourSquare team recently outgrew its HQ in New York’s Cooper Square, forcing them to move into a 2-floor 56,000 square foot space at 568 Broadway.

It’s no question that geolocation apps are taking center stage in the social networking sphere, all due to the increased use of smartphones. 2011 brought with it the launch of GetGlue, an app which allows you to check into television shows, music and movies. But the newest kid on the block is an app suitably names Forecast, which currently boasts 100,000 beta users.

Forecast allows users to tell people where they will be with a pre-emptive check in. Friends can then click the “me too” button to join the plans, and when the event finally rolls around, the users can then follow through with their real time check-in. Up until now this app was only available to FourSquare users, but Forecast has plans to open up the app to Facebook users, giving it a much wider audience.

Geolocation Marketing is especially important to advertisers, as it allows for a more targeted approach. Reaching people at the most important point in the consideration cycle can greatly impact their decision, and send customers straight through your door. Location-based marketing will never make up the majority of the marketing spend, but this certainly does not mean that it’s not a valuable exercise. Do you use GL as part of your marketing strategy? If you are an advertiser or business owner, here are some quick tips on how to build geolocation marketing strategy into your overall social media plan:


  • Tell your social networks that checking in is important to you. Make sure you remind your fans and followers to check in, especially for important or large events
  • Encourage cross-promotion from location services to social networks. Offer rewards for Foursquare check-ins – but only if the person is also a Facebook fan. Deliver rewards through Facebook to assure compliance
  • Use geographic information from social networks to drive location-based participation. Social networks like Facebook have city/state data on users – so use that for targeted messaging to drive in-store experiences
  • Be transparent. Once a customer has opted in, make sure to explain exactly how you plan to use the personal information you collect from them, assuaging any concerns over privacy issues
  • Leanne G

    I recently downloaded the Starbucks app and made it to the green rewards level which means that while I’m in Starbucks I get free refills. I never really stay in Starbucks, and opt to take my coffee to go, but now that I’m at the green rewards level I’ve been sitting in the shop a bit and having a snack. Great location-based marketing! 

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