Given the size of the document (a shade under 6MB) I thought this might be useful. Happy Reading!
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In this guest post, Damian Radcliffe highlights some recent developments in the intersection between hyper-local SoLoMo (social, location, mobile). His more detailed slides looking at 20 developments across the sector during the last two months of 2011 are cross-posted at the bottom of this article.
Facebook’s recent purchase of location-based service Gowalla (Slide 19 below,) suggests that the social network still thinks there is a future for this type of “check in” service. Touted as “the next big thing” ever since Foursquare launched at SXSW in 2009, to date Location Based Services (LBS) haven’t quite lived up to the hype.
Certainly there’s plenty of data to suggest that the public don’t quite share the enthusiasm of many Silicon Valley investors. Yet.
Part of their challenge is that not only is awareness of services relatively low – just 30% of respondents in a survey of 37,000 people by Forrester (Slide 27) – but their benefits are also not necessarily clearly understood.
In 2011, a study by youth marketing agency Dubit found about half of UK teenagers are not aware of location-based social networking services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places, with 58% of those who had heard of them saying they “do not see the point” of sharing geographic information.
Safety concerns may not be the primary concern of Dubit’s respondents, but as the “Please Rob Me” website says: “….on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home… The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home.”
Reinforcing this concern are several stories from both the UK and the US of insurers refusing to pay out after a domestic burglary, where victims have announced via social networks that they were away on holiday – or having a beer downtown.
For LBS to go truly mass market – and Forrester (see Slide 27) found that only 5% of mobile users were monthly LBS users – smartphone growth will be a key part of the puzzle. Recent Ofcom data reported that:
- Ownership nearly doubled in the UK between February 2010 and August 2011 (from 24% to 46%).
- 46% of UK internet users also used their phones to go online in October 2011.
For now at least, most of our location based activity would seem to be based on previous online behaviours. So, search continues to dominate.
Google in a recent blog post described local search ads as “so hot right now” (Slide 22, Sept-Oct 2011 update). The search giant launched hyper-local search ads a year ago, along with a “News Near You” feature in May 2011. (See: April-May 2011 update, Slide 27.)
Meanwhile, BIA/Kelsey forecast that local search advertising revenues in the US will increase from $5.1 billion in 2010 to $8.2 billion in 2015. Their figures suggest by 2015, 30% of search will be local.
The other notable growth area, location based mobile advertising, also offers a different slant on the typical “check in” service which Gowalla et al tend to specialise in. Borrell forerecasts this space will increase 66% in the US during 2012 (Slide 22).
The most high profile example of this service in the UK is O2 More, which triggers advertising or deals when a user passes through certain locations – offering a clear financial incentive for sharing your location.
Jiepang, China’s leading Location-Based Social Mobile App, offered a recent example of how to do this. Late last year they partnered with Starbucks, offering users a virtual Starbucks badge if they “checked-in” at a Starbucks store in the Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. When the number of badges issued hit 20,000, all badge holders got a free festive upgrade to a larger cup size. When coupled with the ease of NFC technology deployed to allow users to “check in” then it’s easy to understand the consumer benefit of such a service.
Mine’s a venti gingerbread latte. No cream. Xièxiè.
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Here’s a copy of my recent post on the superb Online Journalism Blog. As ever, a big thanks to Paul Bradshaw for encouraging me to post and giving me the opportunity to share my hyper-local research with a wider audience.
In this guest post Ofcom’s Damian Radcliffe cross-publishes his latest presentation on developments in hyperlocal publishing for September-October, and highlights how partnerships are increasingly important for hyper-local, regional and national media in terms of “making it pay”.
When producing my latest bi-monthly update on hyper-local media, I was struck by the fact that media sales partnerships suddenly seem to be all the rage.
In a challenging economic climate, a number of media providers – both big and small – have recently come together to announce initiatives aimed at maximising economies of scale and potentially reducing overheads.
At a hyperlocal level, the launch on 1st November of the Chicago Independent Advertising Network (CIAN), saw 15 Chicago community news sites coming together to offer a single point of contact for advertisers. These sites “collectively serve more than 1 million page views each month.”
These moves – bringing together a range of small scale location based websites – can help address concerns that hyper-local sites are not big enough (on their own) to unlock funding from large advertisers.
CIAN also aims to address a further hyper-local concern: that of sales skills. Rather than having a hyperlocal practitioner add media sales to an ever expanding list of duties, funding from the Chicago Community Trust and the Knight Community Information Challenge allows for a full-time salesperson.
Big Media is also getting in on this act.
In early November Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL agreed to sell each other’s unsold display ads. The move is a response to Google and Facebook’s increasing clout in this space.
Reuters reported that both Facebook and Google are expected to increase their share of online display advertising in the United States in 2011 by 9.3% and 16.3%.
In contrast, AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo are forecast to lose share, with Facebook expected to surpass Yahoo for the first time.
Similarly in the UK, DMGT’s Northcliffe Media, home to 113 regional newspapers, recently announced it was forging a joint partnership with Trinity Mirror’s regional sales house, AMRA.
This will create a commercial proposition encompassing over 260 titles, including nine of the UK’s 10 biggest regional paid-for titles. Like The Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL arrangement, this new partnership comes into effect in 2012.
These examples all offer opportunities for economies of scale for media outlets and potentially larger potential reach and impact for advertisers. Given these benefits, I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see more of these types of partnership in the coming months and years.
Damian Radcliffe is writing in a personal capacity.
Other topics in his current hyperlocal slides include Sky’s local pilot in NE England and research into the links between tablet useand local news consumption. As ever, feedback and suggestions for future editions are welcome.