Small Steps for Location-based Advertising

[Posted by Neil Strother]

Location-based mobile advertising – a perpetual star in the wings – took some small steps toward a bigger stage this week.

Alcatel-Lucent and partner 1020 Placecast announced a wireless carrier-based solution that promises to marry user location with relevant ads. Sounds good, but call me skeptical. The technology might be ready, but consumers are still mostly on the sidelines, and just as important so are advertisers.

Glympse is another location-based service out this week that potentially has ad-support in its future. It’s a free application similar to Loopt and Google Latitude. But it aims to cut down on the creepiness factor by allowing you to selectively share your location in small increments – or “glympses” – of time. You send a text message or email to someone, perhaps your spouse or the person you plan to meet for lunch in an hour, who can then follow you from zero minutes to four hours… you choose.

Glympse is currently only available for the G1, the Google Android phone from T-Mobile, but the company expects to port it soon to iPhones, BlackBerrys, Windows Mobile phones and other handsets. Someday advertising will turn Glympse into a sustainable business…someday maybe.

What’s your take? Are ad-supported location based services set to take off, or are these latest moves just more hype? Post a comment below, or let me know directly at nstrother@forrester.com.

Comments

re: Small Steps for Location-based Advertising

Not there yet, but I can see it becoming fairly common within the year, and probably mainstream within 3.

re: Small Steps for Location-based Advertising

I'm excited by the prospect of 'location based' advertising / communications.I suspect that consumers, particularly those in younger demographics are more than ready for this type of approach - as long as that advertising is serving relevance beyond simple location.Understanding what the consumer will / won't respond to is again going to be vital otherwise I can see the service as being perceived as a nuisance and quickly getting a bad reputation.I think that we are probably still in the hype phase as there is probably still much to do to achieve real functionality and indeed ad content that makes it a valuable and reliant service.

re: Small Steps for Location-based Advertising

I definitely think we are in a hype phase with regards to location-based *and personalized* advertisements but eventually I believe they will take off.Currently the fact that people can download browser plugins that "free" them from advertisements on the page says a lot about the current state of online advertisement - online ads are already being seen as a nuisance and already have a bad rep. Location-based *and personalized* ads will most definitely change this. Kind of like TV ads, how many times have we answered the phone and said "I'll call you back during the commercial break"?For example I long for the day Amazon will be able to connect to my social networks (twitter, Facebook, blog, etc.) and personalize their recommendations based on who I know and the content I publish on these networks - as well as my current location. I would also hope AdSense start filtering content based on my activities on social networks instead of by just the text on the page. In my opinion it is definitely a waste of space for Adsense to serve up Mac ads when I search for "Mac" instead of being able to tell that I am currently on a mac or by being able to wade through my social network contributions and be able to guess with some measure of confidence what about macs have I been talking about, asking questions on, etc. etc.http://elshawwa.blogspot.com/2009/05/content-personalization-context-ads.htmlOf course all this would come at your decision, one can opt in to provide these e-commerce engines with more information in hopes of a more relevant and personalized experience.

re: Small Steps for Location-based Advertising

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