Today was an active news day for location sharing services, most notably announcements from Foursquare and social media giant Facebook. What these announcements mean is reinforcement of the idea that being mobile and one’s location matters to marketers, advertisers and businesses.
Facebook announced today that they will unveil a new full tool and feature set centered around location. The system will have two main features, the first allowing users to share their location with their friends on Facebook, while the other will let developers interact with Facebook’s users and their location of choice with new Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
The Facebook changes will, when live, be a service that the Facebook user will have to elect to use. As such, Facebook will not share your status without you giving the service permission to do so.
Foursquare also announced new features that should have those doubting its relevancy second guessing their initial viewpoint. For businesses that use the service, Foursquare has added analytics tools which provides data such as total number of check-ins, unique visitors, gender comparisons, and breakdowns by time. It also shows how people are sharing (over Twitter, or Facebook, for instance) and can differentiate between customers and employees.
There is also a new staff page feature which allows venue staffers to see who is currently visiting and communicate with customers and alert them directly about a special offering they may not be privy to. Further, it is rumored that additional innovations are coming to Foursquare, such as weather tracking which could allow business owners to offer specials based on real-time events.
What it means for small, local businesses around the Dallas area is major. The data gleaned from these new features allows for engaging customers in an extremely targeted manner. Real-time tracking with information provided by the consumer themselves provides an amazing opportunity to grow and promote your business, knowing almost instantly if your efforts are a success or failure.
The arrival of Facebook into the geolocation, location sharing services realm, should give pause to not only Foursquare, but also Gowalla, Yelp! and other services offering similar features. Boasting over 400 million users, smaller services like Foursquare and Gowalla are going to to have their work cut out for them when trying to get new users hooked on their services or convincing existing users to stick around.
There are currently many location sharing services available to businesses, marketing and advertising professionals, and the entry of Facebook further enhances the value of using these applications in your campaign. Will today’s announcements affect your decision when deciding upon a location sharing service in your campaign or for your business? Leave your feedback below, submit any questions to us via Formspring, visit our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter.