What is Next for Location-Based Apps?

@Tim | Social

Our guest blogger and rising star, Kristin Dziadul from KD Media provides her take on what the future of location based apps may bring to everyday consumers.

What if companies instantly rewarded you based on the amount of your check-ins per month at a particular venue? Foursquare and other location-based applications are transforming the way people shop, travel, and interact with friends online.

There are many advantages to location-based applications already, and a reward system is next in line. Jennifer Van Grove of Mashable reported that these mobile applications are making, “connecting the dots between what you’re doing and where you’re doing it easier than ever.” The article continues to explain that Facebook is now taking advantage of this new technology by allowing updates to be more public and searchable. This is a great opportunity for people to share their activities with friends so they can meet you at a particular place, and businesses can reap benefits by word-of-mouth sharing of their location. Google is also suspected to soon take advantage of this by possibly acquiring Yelp. Twitter is expected to jump on board as well by developing their own location-based application. They already have an opt-in location setting on Twittelator so that tweets can be location tagged, something I use quite often.

Alerts and geo-located tweets are the next layer of this application technology. Grove explains that people can see location-based tweets just by typing in an area to see where people are, what they are doing, and how they like it. There is also the capability for users to set up alerts to let them know when friends are nearby, there are sales at local stores, and where the nearest ATM location is. Amazing technology, right? Yes, but Grove also points out that, “the value of shared location data will only be as strong as the quantity of people sharing location-aware updates.”

The third layer of this technology, which may acquire more users, would be a reward system based on the number of check-ins consumers make at places. Services such as Foursquare, Twitter, Loopt, Gowalla, Google, and Facebook should make their location-based apps almost like a game where companies can opt-in to participate and reward their most frequented customers at the end of a certain period. This technology would essentially replace traditional keychain swipe cards or punch cards since it will be completely virtual-based. This will allow for a deeper connection between the place and its consumers. In another blog post, Grove explains that, “the model of the location-based game is such that any venue willing to make an extra effort can get to know their socially active customers on a more personal level, and even encourage meet-ups in their space.” Major brands can begin offering incentives to loyal customers to continue visiting via mobile advertisements, groupons, text messages, etc. I have just began to utilizing Foursquare, and am excited to see its advancements and efforts to engage much of the population via their mobile apps.