Want to Make Your Location App Hot? Add a Discount.

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Almost nine out of every 10 mobile users will access some type of location based service this holiday season, according to JiWire, which analyzes audiences through Wi-Fi hotspots. However a large number aren’t doing it to score points or share their position, but rather to gain discounts, which may offer companies a way to move beyond the game-playing early adopter crowd into the mass market.

The number of users is high but it reflects JiWire’s audience, an on-the-go, early-adopter lot. According to JiWire, 89 percent of users said they would turn to location based services this holiday season, with 37 percent of users saying they would use them more this holiday season (42 percent said it would be the same as last year). The most popular use of location services is to find store locations, something 61 percent of respondents said they would do, followed by getting product descriptions and reviews (36 percent) and looking up product inventory at local stores (33 percent). Sixty two percent of people said they found a location by clicking on a mobile ad.

While a little over half of users said they still don’t check-in, 29 percent said they found check-ins valuable because of deals and promotions. Others popular reasons for checking in included “sharing my location” at 17 percent, “associating with cool places” at 14 percent and scoring points at 7 percent. The data suggests that while points and badges are nice, the lasting appeal of check-ins comes with getting something tangible out of it. Interestingly, 30 percent of users on average said they would be willing to travel more than five miles to redeem a coupon, with entertainment the leading reason to travel that far. Bars and restaurants were most effective within five blocks. And 21 percent of users said they redeemed a mobile coupon in the last three months. Location has become a buzzword but it can hold true promise for companies that understand how mobile audiences want to use it.

Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide grew to 337,666 in the third quarter, up 19.7 percent over the same period a year ago. Free Wi-Fi hotspots accounted for 53.9 percent of all hotspots. But within that, free cafe hotspots grew by 36.9 percent, due in large part to Starbucks offering free Wi-Fi.

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