social media, location, check-in, location services, gowalla, foursquare, facebook places, comscore, mobilens, cnet

Want to join my location wolf pack?

In the past few months I’ve gone from gung-ho Foursquare fanatic, to apathetic location loser. In fact, today Nicole couldn’t even convince me to check-in to Cactus down on Alki. It just didn’t seem worth the almost zero effort it would have required. Well, today I might have been given a little hope.

With a project called MobiLens, Comscore has set out to understand the trends in mobile consumer behavior. They recently looked at three location services: Gowalla, Foursquare, and Facebook Places. According to their studies, 1 in every 5 smartphone users actually do check-in to locations.

Part of the reason it seems like it’s so lonely checking-in most places is because even with a solid number of smartphone users using check-in, it still only amounts to 7.1% of the entire mobile population. The chances of impromptu meet-ups and location gatherings just aren’t there if only 7 out of every 100 people with a phone are checking-in.

The good news, and the part that gave me hope was the rest of the study. Though it might seem like location services have been around a long time, it’s still really just the beginning. For such a relatively young industry, the rates of adoption have been ‘impressive’ according to Comscore’s Senior VP of Mobile, Mark Donovan.

The encouraging fact for the future of check-in are the strong ad exposure numbers and success retailers have had using location services to get more content to customers. In fact, 40% of location users remembered seeing a mobile ad vs. only 27.5% of smartphone users that did not check-in. As long as it is viable means of advertising, brand building, and a networking/information gathering opportunity, businesses will continue to push location.

How about you? Gone cold on check-in or do you enjoy playing the game aspect despite a relative lack of friends checking in near you? What keeps you checking-in? What stopped you?

Hopefully soon it won’t feel so lonely out there and I’ll check in to a location near you. Be sure to say hi! Have a Salty Saturday and shout out to all the wonderful people joining us for our social media class today, check-in or not, we’ll have a blast!