It may seem like a good idea to combine location-based information and social networks in your apps, but is it? A new report from Forrester seems at first glance to cast doubt on whether the market’s ready for your app.
According to Marketing Via Geosocial Apps: Why And How, while the 'geosocial' apps have potential for companies wanting to raise their profile and increase in-store visits, consumer adoption of apps of this type is slow.
It is, however, growing. In 2010, Forrester found that only 4% of US online adults used geolocation apps at least once a month, and the number of people who actively use them is stagnant. In fact, 70% of US adults who spend time online still don't know what geosocial apps such as foursquare or Gowalla are, though this is an improvement on the figures from 2010, when 84% of the same group were unaware of geosocial apps. This is despite the figures looking more promising in terms of the number of people registering as new users. One major player, foursquare, currently has 15 million users worldwide.
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The problem, according to the Forrester report, is that many registered users are not active users, and the wide geographical spread makes it tricky to target specific marketplaces. In fact, during the last year there has been no growth in either the percentage of US online adults actually using geolocation apps (it's still just 6%) or how often they use them.
If that's the 'against' argument, the factors that should still encourage you are that the people who do use the apps are influential, connected, and young, so are likely to appeal to potential customers. It may still be worth writing that app.
Forrester interviewed six vendor and user companies, including foursquare, Georillas, Gowalla, Loopt, Scvngr, and Virgin America.
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