Developers, Small Business and Consumers Benefit from Mobile Geo-Targeted Advertising

May 14, 2012

3:00 pm

A new Small Business Mobile Survey from found that 69% of small businesses say mobile marketing will be crucial to their growth in the next five years, while 64% plan to increase their investment in mobile marketing this year.

Another survey by the Pew Internet Research found that 74% of smartphone owners use their phone to get real-time location-based information, and 18% use a geo-social service to “check in” to certain locations or share their location with friends.

The findings of these surveys reinforce how consumer behavior has changed with mobile commerce: Decisions on some purchases are dependent on location-based results from your smartphone.

A few years ago, I was in Manassas, VA and hungry for pho.  Lo and behold, the search results on my smart phone showed a restaurant right across the road from where I was. Google had found it since the restaurant had a website.

Today, mobile technology is much smarter: Last year, on a visit to West Virginia, we were looking for a place to have coffee. Yelp showed us that the nearest Starbucks was 20 miles away, but Jumpin’Java was less than 5 miles away.  When we arrived at Jumpin’ Java and checked into Foursquare, I was delighted that using my American Express card at this small business earned me a $10 credit. A win-win all around.

These changes in consumer behavior and technology spell opportunity for app developers, small businesses, and the consumer:

Opportunity for App Developers

  • As phones get smarter, evaluate how your app can leverage the power of geo-location
  • Foursquare and Yelp provide coupons and specials for restaurants near you; how can you add that service to your app?
  • Virtual apps that show user groups nearby, including meetups, provide valuable information to users – and leave them with a positive feeling toward your app

Opportunity for Small Businesses

  • Mobile advertising combined with geo-location can help drive walk-in traffic; see my experience with Jumpin’ Java
  • Uber uses location-based technology to provide you with transportation when you want it quickly and efficiently; the companies that are in the Uber network are leveraging that technology to more efficiently use their fleet of cars
  • The Small Business mobile survey also says that 84% of the small businesses surveyed saw an increase in new business activity due to their mobile marketing efforts. Mobile advertising with a geo-location component should be part of your marketing mix.

Opportunity for Consumers

  • A check-in to a place of business is no longer just a game. Discounts, coupons, specials, peer reviews, and tips on the business are very useful results of check-ins
  • Ability to use apps like Foursquare or Yelp to find restaurants and other businesses nearby – and even get directions
  • You can even find places that are trending nearby when deciding on where to hang out; very useful for me when I go to out-of-town conferences to find where my friends are

Do you have any success stories using geo-location based advertising or an app?  Share your experience below in the comments!

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Shashi Bellamkonda is the Chief Marketing Officer at Surefire Social. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Shashi is passionate about helping startups and small business and has been recognized twice as one of the Top 100 Tech Titans by the Washingtonian and Top 100 Small Business Influencer Champion 2011 by Small Business Trends. Follow him on Twitter @shashib.

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