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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : November 26, 2015

How to convince wary app users to share location data

More than eight in ten app users say that location is a pivotal part of their app experience, yet a recent study by Skyhook Wireless found that nearly four in ten aren't keen to share their location. Find out how best to encourage app users to turn on location services.

by Helen Leggatt

Eighty-three percent of app users say that location is key to app experience yet 40% are hesitant to share such data and 18% turn off location services for all apps, according to a consumer study commissioned by Skyhook Wireless

The reason, among 50%, is down to concerns about privacy, while 23% don't see the value of location data and 19% worry turning on location services will drain their device's battery.

Surprisingly, even one-third of weather app users do not share their location despite such data allowing accurate information and forecasts. Social networking, photo and video apps (other popular app categories) were also found to have low adoption of location services - 38%, 18% and 16% respectively - revealing the potential to add value to these experiences by getting users to turn location services on, allowing for the automatic tagging of location in photos and videos, among other benefits.


According to Mike Schneider, VP of Marketing at Skyhook Wireless, once an app user turns off location services it's really hard to get them to turn it back on.

"As an example," says Schneider, "the way iOS asks now makes it easy for the user to select "no" because the notification screen is generic and gives no real information. It is more like the query of location data death."

To persuade app users to turn on location services, Schneider suggests that, during the first time user experience, users should be informed of what data is collected and what it is used for.

"Transparency coupled with paying off the use of the data with an insanely awesome experience tells them not only to keep location on, but to let it run in the background," explains Schneider in a blog post.

Furthermore, instead of asking for location permission at the time of download, Schneider suggests waiting until the user clicks on a feature that requires such data as well as segmenting any marketing communications into 'location = on' and 'location = off' so that users that have not turned on location services can be targeted separately with more emphasis on the benefits of doing so.

Skyhook Wireless' CEO Jim Crowley says their data suggests "that there's a huge and largely untapped opportunity to create value from location services that many app publishers and advertisers could be taking full advantage of. Ultimately, it's all about the payoff to consumers. Users need to be informed about the ways in which location services add meaningful value to their app experience, and educated about how their privacy is being managed - so that the critical benefits outweigh any attendant concerns."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: app trends, location, mobile, privacy

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