More Consumers to Reveal Their Location with Check-Ins

Exactly how many consumers want their friends to know where they are at all times? More than you might think. And while consumers are sharing this data with friends and family members, marketers can easily target specific demographic groups using this information.

Pew Research has been tracking the growth in online activities by U.S. consumers for several years now. But for the first time, the research group has published information about consumer check-​ins to geosocial services. Pew analysts categorize consumer use of location activity via mobile or fixed devices in 3 ways. The following list shows the percentages of consumers who engage in these activities. The numbers in parentheses reflect the consumer activity for smartphone users:

  • Get directions or recommendation based on current location: 28% (55%)
  • Check-​ins to locations using geosocial services: 4% (12%)
  • Current location automatically included in posts to social media sites: 7% (14%)

Several studies have shown that Hispanics are avid mobile phone users. This demographic group also shows the highest percentage of geosocial service use (25%) and automatic location-​tagging on social media sites (31%). Hispanic consumer interest in staying hyper-​connected makes them easily reachable via smartphone campaigns. When it comes to using location-​based direction services on mobile phones, whites exhibit the highest use rate (59%) with blacks closely following at 53%. Other demographic groups closely associated with geosocial check-​ins include 18–29 year-​olds (18%) and those with household incomes of less than $40,000 (18%). On the other hand, consumers who show their current location when they post to social media sites are highly educated (68% are college graduates) and more likely to have a household income exceeding $75,000 (65%).

While some experts have cautioned that consumers want their privacy, the numbers show that many people do not share this opinion. As a result, marketers are likely to use this information creatively to engage consumers and increase sales.

[Source: Zickurh, Kathryn and Smith, Aaron. 28% of American adults. Pew Internet​.org. 6 Sep. 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.