Geolocation Users See Social Benefit

Finding a place liked by people they trust came in a distant second, cited by only about half as many geolocation users (21%). The only other benefit cited by a double-digit percentage of users was insight about travel/movement patterns (17%).

Survey results indicate about four in 10 (39%) smartphone operators use one or more location-based apps, with 61% not using any. Awareness levels are higher than usage levels, as 56% of smartphone operators report knowing about location-based apps.

 Geolocation Users See Social BenefitAbout four in 10 (42%) smartphone users consider Facebook Places their primary geolocation app, while roughly a quarter of the sample each choose Google Latitude and Foursquare, respectively. Twitter Places, Gowalla, and Whrrl collectively account for only 6%.

White Horse analysis suggests that Facebook Places has such strong adoption numbers because of the incidental lift provided by the success of the Facebook mobile app, which White Horse says was the most downloaded app on the planet at the time the report was released. If even a quarter of that number were in the US, user experimentation alone would make Facebook the leader in terms of gross market penetration.

 Geolocation Users See Social BenefitAmong smartphone owners who are aware of location-based apps but choose not to use them, about one-third cite privacy concerns as the chief barrier to their usage. More than 25% say they have no need, interest or benefit related to location-based apps, and close to 20% say location-based apps are redundant to how they already connect to their smartphones.

Another possible reason for the dominance of Facebook Places is the fact Facebook usage is considerably higher amongst smartphone users, according to recent data from ExactTarget which finds 23% of smartphone users check Facebook constantly throughout the day. This figure is about double the 12% of non-smartphone users who do so. Furthermore, 32% of smartphone users check Facebook at least once per day, 14% higher than the 28% of non-smartphone users who are daily Facebook checkers.

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