Steven Gradidge. Hi :)

Facebook Places – Where Do We Go From Here?

Posted on: February 27, 2011

Facebook’s advertising capital was previously held in being able to target who, what and when. The latest weapon in its artillery is: where! Now the world’s largest social network with over 500 million users has recently announced its new geo-location service, Places. The announcement of Places is starting to cause a bit of a stir in the circles of marketing and advertising. Facebook’s geo-locations service allows users to see where friends are and share location details in real time. Many believe it to be a long overdue feature. Popular social networking services such as Twitter, Foursquare and Gowalla are already offering location based services (LBS) through a variety of portals and platforms.

45% of Facebook traffic is driven through mobile usage, highlighting Facebook Places’ potential to rival if not kill-off existing LBS. There are over 1.7million active monthly users of Facebook’s iPhone application alone (FB site). At the moment there seems to be a love/hate relationship with consumers and LBS. According to a recent survey by Webroot, 55% of LBS users had privacy concerns over using such services and 45% are worried of the possibility of informing potential burglars of their whereabouts. Women appear to be significantly more worried than men over the concerns of LBS, which open way to my main point of argument.

Marketers have always had to ask what lends itself to make a successful campaign. The marketing mix aims to fuse these different elements in adversarial bliss in the aim to succeed (however success is measure!) As like any other element of the mix, geolocation needs to be validated. Merely implementing its uses will not cumulate to a successful campaign. Questions to consider; how can it be utilised successfully? Can it? How will it benefit the consumer/customer? How can it benefit the business? Can it? All pretty obvious questions but with something as game changing as Places, the buzz of the fanfare can be followed up with a sting.

Since becoming established in any given marketing campaign, social media has forced social action. Initially the true value hasn’t been the technology itself but how we’ve used it; that may well be about to change. Two in every five smart phones are now equipped with geo-location hardware and with more services expected to crop up later this year (Google Buzz 2.0 perhaps), a second wave of innovation is defining a new era and setting the stage for the future. The technological medley of smart phones, mobile broadband and LBS applications will connect us in more meaningful ways as both consumers and advertisers that matter most to us. Watch this space…


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