With the recent launch of “Places,” Facebook’s jump onto the LBS bandwagon has us excited about the possibility of “check-ins” becoming mainstream behavior. This opens up a new dimension of thinking as we develop engagement and marketing strategies for our clients, keeping in mind how to leverage these opportunities to build brand loyalty. Businesses have already partnered with LBS services like MyTown and Gowalla to encourage check-ins at retail locations or restaurants to receive discounts; however, the number of users on these platforms reach only about 3 million.
Facebook’s obvious advantage lies within its 500 million users and the promise towards privacy responsibility. If the majority of Facebook users adopts this new location-based technology, this will take the network one step closer to becoming the Google of social. Once the majority of users are comfortable with sharing location, the dynamics of marketing could change, enabling us to bring a campaign physically to the audience instead of living online. We see Places as the potential connecting factor between the physical and virtual world, further pushing the possibilities of launching campaigns that incorporate both.