With location-based mobile apps like Foursquare, smartphone users can “check-in” to establishments or events they visit and share this information with friends. It’s a bit of a social game, with badges and achievements (such as mayorships) providing incentives to use the app and show off your places of interest. Businesses can also use foursquare to provide special offers and rewards to their clientele, such as free stuff for those that visit the most often. It turns out that perhaps unsurprisingly there is a lot of data to support that this particular aspect of the local check-in phenomenon really captures people’s interest: consumers visiting a place of business want coupons related to that location sent directly to their phone.

According to a JiWire report, 50% of smartphone users would enjoy receiving location-based advertising to their phone, and would prefer this aspect to that of simply checking-in. On top of this, the study uncovered that:

1. Locally-based advertising was a demand associated with mobile services that was second only to Google Maps/GPS functionality.

2. Product review sites like Yelp were high on the list of apps that mobile users valued, suggesting that this could support location-based advertising.

3. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are the top apps used on mobile devices, providing a reliable and effective network for sharing mobile coupons.

Apps like Shooger and Shopkick are providing these types of locally-based social coupon services. With Shooger, users can clip and save mobile coupons, follow merchants that they like and be updated about deals in real time. Integration with social networks provides a framework where the work done by a user in keeping track of and finding deals can easily be shared with friends. Merchants can also add QR codes to their coupons, and inventory can be tracked and updated as it is sold.

With Facebook’s local social framework developing to incorporate foursquare-like functionality these local coupon apps could work in conjunction with the social giant to create a future where shopping is heavily shaped by locally-based mobile advertising. The more seamlessly integrated everything becomes, the more focus is put on attracting customers and generating sales based on mobile interaction with people both at home and on the go.

As always, the Blue Hat team is on top of mobile trends and incorporates these new strategies into packages from SEO services to social media marketing to web design. The rate of evolution of these technologies is staggering, and doors of opportunity are opening and closing every day. We’re following these patterns closely in our quest to find the right solution for our clients’ online marketing needs.