Discover How and Why Location Based Services are Being Used in Marketing

Is it a just a game fad or a great loyalty marketing?

Some innovative marketers are turning to location based internet marketing and using it to track and reward their loyal patron’s visits to their establishment through a growing number of mobile resources.

There are a number of applications that provide information and/or allow users to “checkin” (register) their visits to almost any location based on GPS features in their mobile devices.  Some of the applications reward the user with awards and badges and sometimes the user can receive free or discounted rewards from participating establishments.

The number of users is growing but its usefulness is still controversial.

  • 3 million users and application available on the iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, Palm and more. It can be useful for comparing gas prices wherever you are or finding coupons for area stores.
  • BrightKite: 2 million users use this mobile application for checkin capability for Brightkite, Foursquare and Gowalla, and recently added functionality for Whrrl and TriOut as well.
  • Foursquare: 1.1 million Foursquare reports that it is adding 15,000 users per day and averaging 700,000 checkins per day.  Business users can use checkin analysis features that include total checkins, unique visitors, male-to-female ratio, how many users are sending their checkins to Twitter, top visitors and checkin time breakdown. (Users can opt-out of sharing their checkin data via settings section of the website.)
  • Gowalla: 250,000 users and partners with National Geographic and The Washington Post and recently introduced a Trips feature that allowes users to put together suggested trips from the locations in Gowalla’s database and recommend them to their friends.

One way the hospitality market may be able to capitalize on this phenomena is with a recently released application called TopGuest which gives you bonus points from established travel loyalty programs you’re already a member of – plus exclusive rewards — for your checkins with any geo-app, automatically!

Here are other examples of companies are using location based marketing include:

Let us know what you think and if you know of any successful location based marketing?


  1. Location-based are a simple way for businesses to start a low maintenance loyalty programme. The rewards (badges, “mayorships”) are de facto given and managed by the applications, with some transfers in real life (the mayor of a pub on FourSquare can show his badge and get a free drink. It’s brilliant, simple and terribly effective.

  2. I think these are great ideas. This type of technology is merging the physical with media and online marketing, making it easier to connect the real world and the viral world. I feel like these types of programs could be especially interesting if marketed towards older generations who are still much more focused on physically going to stores and using coupons, ect.

  3. Technology is playing a dominanting role in marketing and successful business.

  4. Not sure how I feel on this subject as of yet, but an interesting thing that I learned the other day is that many think that email will be obsolete in just a few years and the majority will be using primarily mobile applications for communicating. If this is so, there will be no reason to believe anything different than that these applications will takeoff.

  5. The number of users is growing. We need app like these!

  6. I’ve been reading a lot of hubub about Foursquare, but I still don’t see the use of location based marketing other than for local brick and mortar businesses. Maybe I’m just missing something.

  7. Donna Boley says:

    When I first heard of Foursquare, I thought of it only as a game and possibly a dangerous one at that. I started to hear and see how it was being used in marketing. Being the eternal “early adopter” that I am, I downloaded the application and began playing with it to learn more. Now I am the mayor of our local hot springs pool but there are no rewards involved. Our small town doesn’t have very many venues that participate and I have few friends that are interested in sharing the experience. It is hard to say whether it will keep growing rapidly or fizzle out but it is worth keeping a watch on. I didn’t have anyone to talk to for a long time on Twitter either.

  8. I’m an avid user of FourSquare and have seen a few intersting articles about businesses using this for promotion, but never got around to investigating who it could benefit our business.
    Will check out some of the tools you’ve mentioned, also one for the list is Yell’s augmented reality app for iphone, where your business can be listed over a real world overlay, fascinating stuff.

  9. Its the most innovative way of marketing especially in the modern time.