Insight from the Global Team.

David Hargreaves By David Hargreaves

04 May 2011 The Reality Behind the “Check-In” Hype

As you might have read from our article on Mashable earlier today, as part of our involvement in the Social-Loco conference we have done some research to try to understand the difference between what people are saying online compared to the actions of early adopters and the views of the rest of the US population when it comes to their mobile check-in habits.

The results give us a clear understanding of who the winners and losers are likely to be, as well as the types of things that will motivate the mass consumer to adopt location-based apps. They also highlight some of the real challenges there are to consumers embracing this technology.

Check-In Data: The Reality Behind the Hype | Research by Beyond

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Here is a summary of our research findings:

  • Privacy is still a huge issue for the adoption of any applications that ask the consumer to disclose their location.

  • Facebook and Groupon are well placed to exploit the Social-Loco opportunity through Facebook Places and GrouponNow respectively.

  • Discounts and coupons are by far the largest single motivator for disclosing location. Status rewards, such as badges and being named “mayor,” are of little interest to the mass consumer.

  • Whereas a lot of the focus to date has been around small local businesses benefitting from location-based technology, there is a huge opportunity for big brands that can connect with people at a local level.

  • In the future, consumers are more likely to check-in at a friend’s house than they are to cafes, restaurants or bars.

Highlighted below are some of the statistics from the research:

Privacy Concerns

  • 17% of the US population have checked-in using an app on their mobile device

  • 49% of the population didn’t feel there was any real motivation to check-in

  • 48% have never checked in due to privacy concerns

Which Apps Do /Would People Use?

  • 90% of people who have checked-in have done so using Facebook Places

  • 31% have disclosed their location on Twitter

  • 22% have checked-in using Foursquare

  • 6% have checked-in using Yelp or Gowalla

  • 55% of people who have never checked-in would most likely use Facebook Places

  • 40% would check-in using Groupon

  • 6% would consider using Foursquare

Why Would People Check-in?

  • 54% of early adopters and 41% of consumers cited deals and discounts as the single biggest reason to check-in.

  • For people who currently check in, the next biggest reasons were meet friends (33%), learn about the location (32%), promote the location (30%), and to get a badge or become mayor (21%)

  • For the mass consumer, after discounts, the next biggest motivation was to learn about the location (19%).

  • 99% of consumers do not view simply getting a badge or becoming mayor as a motivation

Where People Check-In

  • Consumers who currently check-in are most likely to check into a place that sells food and drink with the top destinations being restaurants (53%), Coffee shops/cafes (40%), hotels (38%) and Bars/clubs (36%)

  • For the mass consumer, the most frequently mentioned check-in destination was homes of friends or family (35%), followed by restaurants (33%), new cities is neighborhoods (27%) and large general retail stores such as Walmart (23%)

  • On average consumers are twice as like to check into a global chain or formula retail outlet than they are an independent store.

So What Does All This Mean For Brands?

I will go into in more detail into many of these different areas in follow-up to this post, but here are three key takeaways from our research:

1. Brands need to adopt a "Glocal" social media strategy in order to engage consumers in the next generation of mobile apps that leverage location-data

2. There is an opportunity for big brands to engage consumers in location-based apps by tapping into and combing multiple motivations (discounts, learning, promoting, meeting friends)

3. To reach beyond the early adopters, brands should focus their strategies around Facebook and Groupon as the two platforms that will most likely drive adoption

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