One of the topics that has gotten a lot of attention from forward thinking marketers in the last year is the potential for geolocation and geosocial marketing. This year, there will be more devices with built in GPS and the ability to geotag content you create with the location where you created it than ever before. Location Based Services (LBS) like FourSquare and Gowalla are increasing their number of users who use the services to "check in" to locations like hotels and restaurants. Even the backend technology of the Internet is cooperating, as marketers have access to originating IP addresses and access points to understand where a web browser is sitting physically.
Whether this locational information is user contributed or automatically generated, the fact is that many feel 2011 will be the year that geolocation finally emerges as an opportunity that anyone in marketing won't be able to ignore. Whether you have already tried some marketing efforts in this space, or whether you are considering it in the near future – this post rounds up some of the biggest opportunities when it comes to geolocation and offers a few ideas for how you might get started.
1. Creating Geotagged Content Mashups
One of the biggest concerns with geolocation marketing is always around the privacy of consumers and the potential for brands to be seen as "cyber stalkers" for pushing messages that chase consumers around. The nice thing about geotagging, however, is that there are millions of pieces of content online right now which feature geolocation information attached to them. Images are tagged with the exact GPS coordinates of where they were taken. Video can be linked to specific dates and events based on the meta data uploaded. This is offering a great curation opportunity for brands who take this content and create interesting visualizations around it.
Example: Grey Canada's recently released "Global Mood Clock"
2. Offering Exclusive Experiences & Discounts Via Location Based Services
Foursquare and Gowalla are both actively courting businesses to advertise with them. Gowalla recently created a partnership with Disney Theme Parks and Foursquare had a highly debated large promotion with McDonald's as well as an interesting promotion in the UK with Domino's. Each were examples of these Location Based Services using their platforms to offer a layer for brands to buy into for the purpose of promoting special or exclusive offers to those customers who willingly broadcast their locations to their social networks. Moving forward, new services like SCVNGR which focus more on the gaming appeal of checking into locations are starting to offer another way for brands to reach niche audiences of LBS users.
Example: Foursquare with Domino's in the UK.
3. Serving IP-Based Location-Specific Content & Advertising
If there were an "old school" aspect to geolocation marketing, this would be it. For many years now, brands have had the ability to target people based on the location of the IP address from which they were accessing the Internet. Combined with user generated data such as users sharing their location on social networks or adding location details to their personal profiles, this is opening up opportunities for brands to share specific content and advertising messages with people based just on where they happen to be at any particular time.
4. Augmenting Live Events
This may be the most obvious yet clearly underutilized opportunity for geolocation marketing. Whether looking at a large scale sporting event in a big stadium, or a company sponsored customer conference, there are potential ways for geolocation marketing to be used at the event. This could include special offers for individuals who visit a trade show booth or promoting future events to current attendees based on the assumption that people who attend one event may be more likely to consider attending another. Add in the potential for people to connect with others in their social network who happen to be at the same event, and the benefits of encouraging people to create and share content from events to promote the event to those who are not in attendance and you begin to see the potential here.
Example: New Jersey Nets Gowalla Partnership
5. Organizing Change & Social Good
In the social realm, we have already seen the power of geolocation in revolutionary situations such as the recent events in Tunisia where citizens have used the power of geolocation to organize together to promote a shared point of view. Outside of politics, geolocation can be used to find green businesses through apps like Greenopia and also to join social movements and real events organized to promote specific causes. One service, CauseWorld, is creating an entire model based on geolocation for you to generate positive results based on socially motivated behaviours.
List Of Additional Useful Articles About Geolocation: