Just 5% of online Americans use Foursquare-style services

Only 5% of online Americans use social location services such as Foursquare, according to new research by Forrester.

Only 5% of online Americans use social location services such as Foursquare, according to new research by Forrester, illustrating the struggle that the services face to gain mainstream adoption. Compounding the issue, it appears that awareness of such services is growing, though usage isn’t. Forrester claims that 30% of respondents now know about social location platforms, up from 16% last year, while usage is up just one percentage point from 4% in 2010.

The research comes just days after social location player Gowalla was snapped up by Facebook, with the firm’s team focusing on Facebook’s timeline. The move casts some doubt on the social location space, with Gowalla failing to gain significant traction during its two years as an independent company.

Forrester’s stats support a report in September by Pew Research Center, which claims that just 4% of US adults use social location platforms, though adoption of wider location-based services such as maps and GPS is growing, with more than a quarter of Americans utilising the products. Overall, revenues from location-based services are set to hit USD1.2bn in Europe and North America in 2016, up from USD830m last year, as smartphone adoption continues, according to Berg Insight.

Despite the penetration of social location services to date, Foursquare  business, Omid Ashtari, tells StrategyEye that adoption will come as the  services continue to move beyond simply checking in, something that  Foursquare has made strides in doing during recent weeks. The firm recently revamped its desktop website and launched its location-based recommendation feature, Radar. It has also linked with a raft of daily deals firms this year to syndicate their offers to its users, most recently local deals platform, Scoutmob, as it attempts to drive adoption of its product. Despite Forrester’s stats, Foursquare recently announced that it has surpassed 15m members, as it continues its attempts to prove that it can generate significant revenues in the space.

“We have a pretty good profile with social media savvy people already, but in the mainstream I think we want to create an app that delivers value to people’s everyday lives, and by doing that I think it’s very easy for us to get mainstream attraction as well,” he says. “You do that by offering loyalty, rewards, rewarding people’s lives, offering discovery of places, either social discovery of places or algorhythmic discovery of places. To break into the mainstream too it’s all about offering more value to them to get them signed up.”

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