I listen to many people complain about location based programs in cell phones, on Facebook, and Foursquare. There seem to be a lot of paranoid people out there. 🙂 Just remember, you can turn it off. But, sometimes such services have a very good use. In the news recently was the story of the guy that tracked down the thief that stole his Macbook by using a program that used a combination of location based services and video to track the laptops movement. The bad guy was caught, and the laptop was returned.
This technology is also used to target advertising. The below guest post gives us a little more information about that.
Way back before we transitioned into the Information Age, companies had completely different strategies to reach their audiences. A lot of organizations had to make estimations based on where their visitors and consumers were coming from, in hopes that they were right. In return, they made only vaguely accurate assumptions on to whom they should market their business. But now all of that has changed.
Now that we are a society thriving off technology, with smart phones, personal computers, and a whole plethora of other electronic devices, companies have more capabilities to reach its desired audience based on location.
Let's take Facebook as an example. While it does not thrive so much off of network affiliations like it used to in the early stages, it now relies on them more for advertisers. Because you are a member of at least one network, whether it be by city or college or employer, advertisers are able to reach you because you are in their target audience. Your location information, as well as other demographic data, are delivered to the advertisers so that the ads you see on your Facebook are catered directly to you.
For companies that rely heavily on their websites, they also use a method called IP address geolocation. Through this demographic collection strategy, companies are able to track the IP address of visitors to their website and find their location. This is a strategy used to determine whether a company is successfully marketing their business to a particular region.
So how is this important to you?
Some people don't like the idea of the possibility that a company knows where they are. They claim their privacy is being invaded to a certain extent. While this sentiment may be understandable, this is actually benefiting us as a society. With our new mobile technology, companies are able to cater to us individually better than ever before.
With traditional media, such as newspapers and television, advertisements can be location-oriented, but not to a specific region. Plus, not all advertisements appeal to everybody. With our new innovations in technology, we get advertisements based on our interests, history, where we go and what we do. This should be considered an advantage to us, as we get to expand our interests further if we so choose.
Additionally, having GPS on our phones allows us to find great deals in our areas. Android and iPhone apps like Foursquare and LivingSocial help us find deals in restaurants, shops and places of service simply by tracking where we are.
While it may appear that we are being “followed,” companies don't care about the location of individuals. They do care, though, about a general audience receiving their messages based on their location. And it seems to be an effective marketing tool. They only want you to hear their message to you because they think it is relevant and useful to you.
Where you are and where you are going have never mattered so much.