Hate checking in? 88% of smartphone users agree with you.

Posted In Mobile Web - By Ryan On Monday, September 12th, 2011 With 0 Comments

And I’m one of the 88%. I never fell for the share-your-every-move-down-to-your-street-number services like Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook Places. I would often look at updates from friends on Twitter or Facebook (like “I’m at home” or “I’m at the toilet at McDonald’s in Times Square”) and seethe, bewildered by the arrogance and sheer futility of it all.

I say would to indicate past tense. Because I’ve certainly seen a steep decline in the number of check-ins flooding Facebook and Twitter, thank goodness. As it turns out, the number of smartphone users still bothering to check-in these days has dwindled to just 12%. That’s about 12% more than I thought would still be interested in this Tamagotchi-like novelty.

While a recent report (published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project) indicates that 55% of US smartphone owners are happy to use location-based services that assist with directions or store locations, most of these users (the 12% we were considering earlier) aren’t willing to allow location check-ins from the areas they move through on a daily basis. Even fewer people (just 9%) are happy to add location info to photos or videos when uploading them to social media sites or social networks.

Co-author of the Pew report, Kathryn Zickuhr, explains that, “Americans are not currently all that eager to share their location on social media sites, but they are taking advantage of their phones’ geolocation capabilities in other ways. Smartphone owners are using their phones to get fast access to location-relevant information on-the-go.”

The anti-location sentiment is at odds with what advertisers and service owners have been selling as the future of targeted advertising. User data that can be pinpointed to their exact location is extremely valuable to brands trying to maximise their ad spend’s ROI (return on investment), but it’s only effective if enough users embrace the functionality. 12% is far from an embrace.

The only hope for the cash-strapped CEOs of location-related services now lies in younger users, who have grown up with media sharing as part of their everyday lives, and who may grow into adults who have no problem broadcasting their daily movements to the world.

If that doesn’t work, or doesn’t happen fast enough, then we may see the companies responsible for checking-in starting to check-out.

About - With at least 20 phones tucked away in drawers around the house and office, Ryan is a buy-to-try mobile consumer and loves playing with new handsets. Right now he's stuck on the iPhone 4.

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