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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 29, 2011

White Horse report shows consumers aren't adopting geolocation

Although behavioral targeting is still a go-to for many marketers, some experts believe location-based targeting is the better option. The problem? Consumers aren't jumping for joy at the thought of marketers 'tracking' them as they go about their day.

by Kristina Knight

According to the new "Lost in Geolocation: Why Consumers Haven't Bought Geolocation, How Marketers Can Fix It" report about 60% of smartphone users aren't allowing geo-targeted ads to come to them via mobile because they see the ads as either not beneficial or a privacy concern. I had the chance to chat with Eric Anderson and Will Reese of White Horse about their findings.

Kristina: "What is causing the disconnect between consumers and geo-location targeting?"

Eric Anderson, VP of Marketing, White Horse: "It's a problem of equilibrium. Consumers feel that they give up too much relative to the return. If, in order to get a free drink, I have to show up at a given bar, broadcast my location, and hope that 19 other users of the same app do so at the same time, that's out of balance. If I were motivated mainly by savings, I could instead buy a Groupon for that bar, give up next to nothing, and get a much deeper discount. [LBS users] want more relevant connections; they want to be able to tap into their personal networks as trusted advisors and use that experience to find more things that they enjoy."

Kristina: "What statistic most surprised you in this report?"

Will Reese, Director of Digital Futures Group, White Horse: "The numbers showing that consumers perceived little financial benefit in geolocation blew us away. Only 6-8% felt the chief benefits of location-based services were discounts and rewards, depending on how we asked."

Kristina: "Could you provide us with one or two examples of how brands are connecting through geo-location?"

Will Reese: "The best examples of a brand using geolocation are yet to come. Not being cagy here, just frank. None of the brands has really cracked the code yet. We're in an experimental stage. Having said that, Foursquare is providing a decent array of options so far for brands to familiarize themselves with geolocation. And compared to Facebook Places, it offers a far more coherent experience."

More from Eric and Will about the privacy issues facing advertising in the online and mobile space on Monday.

Tags: geolocation, location based services, location based targeting, mobile ads, mobile marketing, White Horse

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