Location-based social media not worth effort, Forrester says

UNITED STATES A new study from Forrester Research finds that only 4% of American web-using adults have ever used location-based mobile applications like Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt, and that only 1% update such services more than once a week.

Most Americans—84%—say they are not even familiar with such apps, despite widespread buzz about them among the marketing community in recent months. Forrester concludes that location-based apps make sense mainly for brands seeking male influencers, but that the user base is too small at this point to be worthwhile for most companies.

Nearly four in five location-based service users are male, the majority of them between the ages of 19 and 35. However, Forrester says they tend to be influencers of friends and family and that they are especially receptive to mobile offers.

Just last week, IHG announced a partnership with Topguest—a company that tracks location-based social media use on behalf of other companies—to award bonus loyalty points to users who “check-in” at an IHG property on one of the services.

The Forrester study can be purchased here.