Corporate Eye

Smartphone Users Aren’t Checking in but Are Checking out Geosocial Services

New research from Pew Research sheds some light on how smartphone users are using geosocial services like Foursquare and Gowalla as well as social tools like Twitter and Facebook. The statistics might surprise you. Here’s what Pew Research learned in its research of U.S. adults:

  • 42% of U.S. adults own a smartphone.
  • 92% use their smartphones to send or receive text messages.
  • 92% user their smart phones to take pictures.
  • 80% use their smartphones to send photos or videos to other people.
  • 76% use their smartphones to send and receive email messages.
  • 59% use their smartphones to access social networking sites like Facebook.
  • 58% use their smartphones to access a geosocial or location based information service.
  • 55% use their smartphones to find location-based directions or recommendations.
  • 45% use their smartphones to publish photos or videos online.
  • 15% use their smartphones to access Twitter.
  • 13% use their smartphones to participate in video calls or video chat sessions.
  • 12% use their smartphones to check in with geosocial services like Foursquare or Gowalla.

Smartphone users who are most likely to use geosocial services and access location-based directions or recommendations are young, college-educated, men and women in households with incomes over $75,000.

Location-based marketing and geo-targeting are hot topics for marketers these days, and the data collected by Pew Research could be very helpful in prioritizing future mobile marketing strategies and tactics. Of course, demographic segmentation is likely to be less helpful to most marketers than behavioral segmentation would be, but every bit of data can only help as marketers learn more and more about effectively promoting brands, businesses, products, and services to mobile consumers.

As with all marketing efforts, the trick is determining what your brand’s target audience wants and needs from you through their mobile devices and then consistently delivering and meeting those needs. This is still a form of business and marketing that’s in its infancy, and what we know (or think) today could be completely wrong tomorrow. Bottom-line, don’t inflict information paralysis on your brand marketing strategy. Keep experimenting, gathering feedback, and trying again. No one knows the recipe for success in mobile marketing yet, but persistence will pay off in the end.

Image: iurikothe

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.