6 months ago I wrote that the next most important trend in digital and social media would be hyper-local targeting (or micro-geotargeting, if you will). At that time, the poster child was Yelp! With Yelp and a handy-dandy GPS-enabled smart phone, you could walk out of your office and ask the Yelp! application to tell you the closest place to get your keys copied or have a manicure or find out whether there are any dance clubs on the Upper West Side for your friend who wants you to throw her a bachelorette party. A neat concept in June 2009.
The concept did not, by any means, start in 2009. Back in early 2006, in a report I wrote about the mobile landscape, I included the practice of targeted SMS mailings in which a retailer such as Subway could send a text message to a consumer passing by the store at around noon offering a right-place, right-time promotional code for a lunch special. The concept was perfect. How much closer to recency could you get. The logistics were a little clumsy or perhaps hypothetical or vague – involving opt-in mailing lists and limited #s of messages per month from a community of 3rd party advertisers, but the idea was exciting.
I also read, at the time, about a practice in Vegas, whereby your hotel would ask you to sign in via your mobile device when you landed at the airport to expedite your check-in. The hotel was then able to track you as you moved about the strip and send you messages luring you back on-site with offers of free meals if you wondered off to another casino. A little creepy, but pretty cool.
Then, a few years ago, Google introduced the ability to keep track of your friends (or children, as my sister-in-law enthusiastically observed) via Google Maps and the GPS chips on their phones. Slightly creepy, again, but reminded me of the magic map in the first Harry Potter book, so, again, kind of neat – though I did not participate, in part because few, if any of my friends knew about this.
Fast forward to the new decade. I’ve been using UrbanSpoon since it first burst onto the scene via the iPhone commercial and have dabbled with Yelp! on occasion. In addition, I’ve become a big fan of the iPhone MobileMe functionality whereby you can locate your phone using its gps chip should it be stolen or lost. And I’ve been using the GPS function of Google Maps for ages to find myself, find my way out of Central Park, find my way to a restaurant a few blocks away in East Hampton, etc. It all started with my Blackberry, at which time, I found it to be a very neat feature. And, now, with the iPhone, the graphics make it even better as you watch your little blue dot get closer to the little red pin of your target destination.
And now, I have been introduced to “FourSquare” – an iPhone and also Droid application. With this application, you sign-in to a location when you arrive. This act then sends a notification to your friends as to where you are and also tells you which of your friends are at the same location – as well as telling you who is the “mayor” of that venue, meaning that he or she is there the most often. Well, the implications of this application for marketing – both local and behavioral are tremendous – as you can see from the discussion around Chris Brogan’s posting on American Express’ Open Forum entitled: “Get Ahead of the Location Game.” (The link to this article was sent to me by a friend WHILE I was writing this posting!)
The FourSquare application is not yet high profile as far as I can tell, though I am am sure it will come up many times during Social Media Week next week. I heard about it from a recent grad on the Program Committee at the Harvard Club and found that Matt Blank, CEO of Showtime was already aware of at, whereas a senior executive at a major ad agency was not. So I predict that it is something that will be become better known in the next few months. And, of course, it will be come more powerful with more participation.
Some people will scoff at the start, finding it to be odd that you would want to share that information with others – these are the same people who scoffed at Facebook when I joined in 2006 and now spend 6 hours a day with it. And, as with Facebook, I will be careful as to the people with whom I choose to share this info – likely friends and Frolleagues. (Frolleagues are colleagues with whom you are friendly enough to connect on Facebook).
As with Facebook, by the way, a not so ideal impact of the application is that I am regularly reminded that a Frolleague of mine goes to the gym once or twice a day while I… well I go less frequently.
In addition to signing in to locations and tracking your friends’ moves throughout the day, FourSquare invites you to comment on nearby venues – it gives you a list of options based on your GPS – and to read tips from others. It also gives you visibility into twitter feeds from people in your nearby location.
As I was writing this blog in my head, I logged onto Yelp! on my iPhone and, of course, they have the same functionality in terms of signing into a location, so there seems to be a coming together of Yelp! and FourSquare. I am not sure of the business models of these apps, but the potential is huge and, after all, Google didn’t have a business model for nearly six years!
Several weeks ago, I posted a blog entry about iPhone/iTouch applications that included Fun iApp Facts, Tips for Marketing an iPhone App and Other iApp Observations. As I have attended OMMA conferences, Digital Downtown and had direct interaction with iPhone Apps, I have been updating this blog. However, the entry is getting longggggg, so I am starting anew – appropriately at the same time that Apple is launching a new iPhone. I am blogging live from the OMMA Social conference as a starting point and may also include up-to-date facts from “Marking an iPhone Application.”
As of January 5, more than 3Bn iPhone apps had been downloaded – 18 months since intro of app store — 77 countries — 100MM+ apps available. (Apple.com)
1Bn apps downloaded between September 28th and January 5th alone, i.e., within 3 months! (Apple.com)
There are predictions that the Android will have 150MM applications by the end of 2010. (January 2010)
300 million Americans have some kind of wireless device. (December 2, 2009 – CEO of Verizon Wireless via Ad Age podcast)
Apple was the first company to market its device in some kind of meaningful way. Up until that point, wireless devices were typically marketed by the wireless carriers. It was during that period that Verizon focused nearly exclusively on its “Can You Hear Me Now?” campaign. Once Apple broke this barrier, consumers started to choose networks based on devices rather than coverage. Verizon Wireless then turned its attention away from the coverage message. However, in the last few months, Verizon has introduced the “We’ve Got a Map for That” campaign, which I personally think is extremely witty – particularly as someone who has suffered as an iPhone user who had to make the switch to AT&T and has nostalgic feelings for my old network, i.e., Verizon. This, together with the Google Android phone will begin a new chapter in this story so stay tuned.
Personally, I am sticking with the iPhone because (a) there are 100,000 apps – though, really, how many of those do I use? This question echos the fact that although I have up to 1,000 digital television channels, I watch only a handful on a regular basis. Still I do like to know the other TV networks are available to me should I need them (b) as someone in digital media I must use an iPhone or iTouch to stay in touch, and the iPhone is far superior (c) I have nearly two years left on my contract with AT&T (d) I love the Apple stores, and there is one that opened up 7 blocks from my apartment (e) There are a LOT of things I like about the iPhone and its operating system and intrinsic applications. (December 2, 2009 – opening thoughts based on CEO of Verizon comments on Ad Age podcast)
There are now more than 100,000 iPhone applications (November 16, 2009)
6 out of 7 people do not have a smart phone. This offers a potential market for the just released Twitter-only device that taps into local cell phone networks with no monthly fee (New York One – November 5, 2009)
AT&T has renewed its exclusive contract with Apple for the iPhone. However, Verizon Wireless’ answer to the iPhone — the Droid — will go on sale Nov. 6 for $200 as the company taps the growing appetite for smart phones that go far beyond making calls. The Droid could help Verizon retain its status as the nation’s largest wireless carrier and contribute to a turnaround of its manufacturer, Motorola Inc., which hasn’t produced a hit since the wildly popular Razr phone in 2005. The new device also could give a boost to Google Inc., which used the Droid to unveil mapping software that could challenge standalone navigational devices, sending GPS gadget maker Garmin Ltd.’s stock plunging. (Pioneer Press, October 28, 2009)
BusinessWeek reports that there are 1 million mobile applications across 12 mobile application stores, i.e., there are 15MM non iPhone apps and 11 non-Apple application stores (October 23, 2009 – BusinessWeek Behind the Cover Story podcast: The Apps Economy)
100MM people are registered in the iTunes store. 70% (confirm) are in the U.S. (Matt Blank, October 14, 2009)
Showtime keeps a very high split of each dollar spent on a Showtime series purchased on iTunes. (Higher than what Kliavkoff reported for NBC a few years ago.) CEO Matt Blank is thrilled that consumers beyond the network’s 17MM subscribers now have access to their programming – for monetary purposes, branding benefits, and word of mouth marketing. Showtime does not monetize programming in the same way as non-premium networks that run advertising. A good Showtime program builds the Showtime brand, which then drives subscription revenue. Showtime was once criticized for this single source of revenue model, but it seems to be serving the network well in these challenging times, particularly given the outstanding lineup of distinctively Showtime original programming. (based talks by Matt Blank, October 14, 2009 and George Kliavkoff, June 15, 2007)
Less than one week after introduction Apple had already sold 1 million iphone 3GS (June 23, 2009)