Checking-In on Facebook – Photograph by Jorge Quinteros
With more and more people using smartphones, it is unsurprising that location based check-in services such as Facebook Places and Foursquare are becoming increasingly popular. Brands are seeking to capture this interest and raise awareness for their presence on these services by offering incentives and rewards for users who check-in to brand-owned locations – as pointed out in this Saatchi and Saatchi blog post.
We decided to use our Toluna QuickSurveys tool to ask our UK community members how they feel about location based check-in services.
Our questions included:
- Do you use social networking check-in/location-based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places, etc.?
- If so, which services do you use to check-in to places?
- Would you use check-in services more if there were better incentives for checking in to places (freebies, discounts, etc.)?
- Would the fact that a brand is using location-based services to promote their products or services affect your feelings towards that brand/product/service?
- Do you see these services playing a bigger role in marketing as time goes on?
Location Based Check-In Software Survey: The Results
Asked if they actually use location based check-in software, a massive 70% of our 1000 respondents said that they do not, compared to only 30% who said that they do. Of this 30%, Facebook Places reigns supreme as the software of choice, with 86.89% of the share, followed by Twitter Places (7.87%), Foursquare (3.28%), Brightkite (1.31%) and Gowalla (0.66%). The staggering popularity of Facebook Places in particular is interesting, when compared with this blog post by Ketchum, which suggests that Foursquare is king.
Respondents were also asked if better incentives such as freebies or discounts would encourage them to check-in. 65.54% of respondents answered that it wouldn’t, compared to 34.46% of people who said that it would. The increasing use of incentivised based check-ins amongst brands (such as a pizza in the case of Dominos) seems somewhat at odds with these results.
When asked whether a brand’s use of location based check-in services would affect their feelings toward the brand, 71.91% of respondents answered that it wouldn’t affect their feelings at all, while 17.83% said it would affect their feelings in a positive way and 10.26% said it would affect their feelings in a negative way.
To round up the survey, we asked if our respondents thought that location based check-in services will play a bigger role in marketing as time goes on. Opinion was split almost down the middle with 55% responding that they don’t think they will play a bigger role and 45% responding that they think they will.
You can read the full survey results here.
What Does This Mean for Brands Using Location Based Check In Services?
The most interesting result in the survey for brands is the percentage of respondents (65%) who claim not to be encouraged to check-in to places through incentives. This is particularly interesting as more and more brands appear to be using this as part of their marketing strategy. For example, the aforementioned Dominos promotion has been running since May, Starbucks has been offering discounts for Foursquare check-ins since May in the US and as mentioned in the Saatchi and Saatchi post, McDonalds in Germany has been running location activated advent calendars for Christmas.
Does this apathy to incentivised based check-ins mean brands are wasting their time and money? Probably not.
The start of the survey found that only 30% of the respondents are currently using location based check-in services, which leaves massive potential for further growth. This growth is inevitable with more and more people using smartphones that facilitate these services, such as iPhones and BlackBerrys, combined with the worlds largest social network, Facebook, offering its own location based check-in service, Facebook Places.
Although 71% of respondents answered that brands using these services wouldn’t affect their feelings towards the brand, it doesn’t necessarily follow that these people won’t check-in to branded locations, or take advantage of incentives attached to location check-ins.
Do you agree with our members’ responses? What are your thoughts on location based check-in services, and brands using them? Let us know in the comments section below.