77% of the worlds population now has a mobile device, according to the ITU, with 90% of the world now living in an area with mobile access. Mobile Internet usage is growing at a rapid rate and expected to over take access via PC or Mac within 5 years.
In many developing countries web access by mobile only, already exceeds desktop web access, with 25% of web access in the UK and US by mobile only already.
With figures like these it’s not surprising to see the growth in location based services and location based marketing. Mobile price comparison, recommendations and offers all based on location can drive business and encourage customer loyalty.
Here are 14 of the best and up-coming location based applications.
Seen by many as the the location based application with the most potential, with over 8 million users worldwide and 2.5 million check-ins a day. Foursquare encourages users to check-in at locations in return for virtual badges and points. It works across many mobile devices and businesses can offer rewards of their own, currently for free.
A popular alternative to Foursquare, Gowalla offers users virtual rewards and allows them to connect based around locations. Businesses can add offers and rewards for free and personalise greetings to users checking in.
The gorilla of discount voucher sites. The fastest growing company in the world has spawned many copycats but is staying ahead of the competition with it’s focus on creative copywriting. Businesses can advertise offers based on location in return for group purchases. Commissions can be high, around 30% and expected discounts for effective take up may mean you need to encourgae loyalty or upsells to make money long term.
If your business hasn’t claimed it’s listing on Google Places yet you are already missing opportunities. You are able to add lots of additional information to your listing, including photos and video. Google uses places listings in local search results above standard results and users can rate and share their favourite businesses.
Only recently launched, Google Offers is a group buying discount site similair to Groupon. Offers are location based and with it’s dominance of online, Google is one ot watch in this space.
With over 500 million users, 50% of them regularly accessing the site via mobile, Facebook cannot be ignored. Facebook Places is similair to Foursquare but even more social, as users can share and earn rewards together. Claim your place page to start promoting your business locally.
A location based mobile game with potential. Google is one of the investors in SCVNGR. Businesses can set challenges and rewards, even connect locations to encourage multi-site visits.
A reward based application, users earn Kicks just for visiting a shop and can earn extra Kicks for preforming tasks such as scanning certain products. They can then redeem your Kicks for iTunes vouchers, resturaunt vouchers, movie tickets and lots more. Users can even donate them to charity.
Discount vouchers and offers based on location. One of the cool features of vouchercloud is that users can pre-downlaod vouchers before leaving home and store them ontheir phone or print them off. Suitable for larger retailers you can list unlimited offers and locations for £200 per year.
Not only location based but focussed on eating out. Urbanspoon is a great resturaunt review site that’s free for businesses to add a listing. In addition to customer reviews they also pull in reviews from Professional Critics, Blogs and other online sources. Even if your location isn’t listed you can still add your restuarant and as it is free why wouldn’t you?
Integrating with Facebook, Loopt enables users to see where your friends are in real-time, sharing offers and rewards. US based only at the current time, businesses are invited to partner with Loopt for branded pages associated with certain locations.
Group texting between friends for free with place check-ins. Up-coming with 7 million users to date advertising is fairly simple through banner and text ads but they are location based. One to watch.
A mobile yellow pages with reviews and offers. With over 50 million users you can advertise on Yelp for free, targeting users with offers and rewards. In addition to this you can also engage with customers privately and publicly within the application.
Has 4 mllion users on it’s own mobile app that allows users to discover and share their favourite places. It’s business model is as an ad serving platform across many other apps claiming to reach over 50 million users. They do offer a free business page where you can include vouchers.
Location marketing is growing fast, do you have any applications to recommend?