The new geolocation fashion adopted by the internet giants continues to be the target of controversies and debates that, in the opinion of some experts and NGOs, are dangerously “playing” with the privacy of Internet users.Alain Pannetrat, technology expert at the French National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms, commented in this regard that the new trend for the implementation of this high technology is based on the development of new services offered to “mobile users” in connected movement to Internet. However, all this poses great risk in relation to the protection of privacy, especially because the “useful life” of the private data collected by giants such as Facebook or Google is not defined or limited by current laws.
However, beyond the aspects related to the privacy of the information itself, experts point out that the great interest in the proliferation and growth of services based on geolocation responds to clear interests of the digital advertising industry with the aim of making money. Through direct advertising and in turn competing with advertisements and classifieds.
In this sense, Alain Pannetrat highlights that websites or social networks that have implemented geolocation, such as Facebook, have only one way of generating income through advertising, underlining for this reason that “for their own economic interests it is essential to obtain the maximum information about its users to direct its advertising in a much more segmented way as is the case with other companies such as Google that collect information from users to define a profile of habits and navigation.
For this industry, geolocation-based services represent a new world of opportunities to reach consumers in a more precise and local way. An industry that in the US alone could generate more than 15,000 million dollars in 2010.
Does the market need to “create new needs” for the success of Geolocation in marketing strategies?
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Without a doubt, talking about the fact that through marketing processes and strategies new needs can be created, it could undoubtedly serve to start a whole debate where different opinions and points of view would confront each other.
Accepting the theory that marketing cannot create needs but nevertheless, if it can serve as a tool to stimulate the desires of users and consumers so that they can satisfy their true needs, we can begin to analyze and consider the most important aspects that could be decisive for the success of the implementation and integration of geolocation both in advertising and in the media and social networks.
According to data from the Forrester Institute, only 4% of American adults actually use services such as Foursquare where geolocation is presented as one of the main characteristics of its operation, although its adoption and integration in other social networks such as Facebook could generate a increased use and proliferation.
Initially, these data could suggest that really, for the vast majority of Internet users, it is irrelevant or unnecessary to use or link their online habits and activity to the information that can reveal more precise data about their location at all times.
In this sense, it is important to highlight those aspects related to the privacy of users and their tendency to maintain “certain barriers”, which, beyond preventing the disclosure of their true information or personal identity, serve to prevent a greater invasion of their privacy in which its true location or location in the real world is contemplated.
However, applied to the world of advertising, marketing and business, geolocation can be a great advance with which to improve and enhance communication and marketing strategies and actions, especially in those cases in which they are developed over Delimited areas or local regions where the proximity or proximity of consumers is sought, although for this, of course, an acceptable “audience” of users predisposed to “remain receptive or listen” would be necessary, as would happen with mobile telephony or allow information to be known that reveals your true location as on social media.
Understanding this, perhaps the appropriate question would be: Are there real needs for which the vast majority of users and consumers would be predisposed to disclose information related to their current location, which would make possible a greater proliferation of services based on Geolocation?