Geo-location Marketing, Then And Now


From smartwatches that give you location-specific data apart from the date and time to apps that seem to collect so much information about you, they practically know when you have run out of something and tell you about the nearest place to go buy it – welcome to the brave new world of marketing powered by geolocation data.

Geolocation Apps Then

Some historians believe that the concept of geolocation has been around since the times of the ancient Greeks who were arguably the first to employ stars to ‘triangulate’ their location on earth. But the foundation for modern geolocation technology was laid back in the 1940s.

Strictly speaking in terms of geolocation used for marketing, was introduced by Foursquare, with its now legendary ‘Checking in’ feature. It essentially allowed a person to tag their location on a map based on which friends or other users could offer recommendations on things worth doing nearby.

Given the success of Foursquare, a bunch of new apps swept the mobile scene between 2008-2010 that employed geolocation data in one way or the other. Some thrived while others bombed, but it undeniably set the tone for geolocation marketing trend to come.

Present Tense

One does not need to look past Pokemon Go to imagine the power of geolocation. The Pokemon hunting app hit the mobile scene and spread like wildfire. Such was its craze and commercial viability that McDonald’s in Japan even went ahead and sponsored a “Pokeshop”.

Then there is the case of Snapchat and its geofilters – a fun set of graphic overlays that can be unlocked at certain geographic locations and applied onto snaps by app users.

Businesses take advantage of this aspect by offering discounts to users with the best-looking snaps when using a specific geofilter.

Be it cab-hailing, restaurant aggregators, movers and packers, fitness trackers, hotel and airline ticket booking apps, geolocation marketing has seeped into every vein of the service app industry today.

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