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Study Says Location-Based Social Network Users are Small but Mighty

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I’m at the bank depositing money.

That’s a real tweet I saw this week and it was followed by a Foursquare link showing the exact bank. According to new research by Forrester, that tweeter was probably a young adult male with a college degree and he’s one of only 1% of online users who actually do this kind of thing.

From my experience, it seems that half the people I follow on Twitter use location-based tweets, but the data says that only 4% of online adults have even tried geolocation and only 1% uses it on regular basis. Really?

The study also says that 70% of the users are between 19 and 35 and 80% are male. Again, not my experience, so apparently I have unusual friends.

The good news for marketers is that though the group is small, they’re powerful. Melissa Parish of Forrester wrote on her blog:

“Our research shows that these users are typically young, male, well-educated, and influential.  In fact, LBSN users are users are 38% more likely than the average US online adult to say that friends and family ask their opinions before making a purchase decision.”

So the question becomes, how much of your time and money should be spent marketing to this group? Parrish says very little.

“Though many LBSNs are gathering steam, the landscape is fragmented and the programs can’t scale just yet. But with large companies preparing to enter the market (I’m looking at you Facebook and Yahoo!) the time for marketers to get involved is coming.”

That is unless you’re marketing a product of interest to college-educated male trendsetters under 35. In that case, it’s time to start working on that Foursquare Mayor of Marketingville badge.

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