The attachment of geographical location data to your social media activities is not a new feature by any means, with Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook check-in all in full swing by the end of 2010, but with Australians in possession of more smartphones than ever, combined with a faster 4G network, perhaps it is a capability being underutilised, particularly by small businesses hoping to get their name out into the digital sphere with a limited budget. The adoption of tagging by all major social media sites is building a definitive bridge connecting the physical and digital realms.

Last year it was estimated that the Mobile Context and Location services market delivered a revenue of $12.2B, but the future prediction is where the optimism lies, forecasting an increase to $43.3B in the next 5 years. This prediction is based upon the ability of location driven marketing to deliver much higher conversion rates, with a higher level of direct tailoring and the ability to connect the consumer to seller at the right time and place.

Current geotagging technology allows users to be placed with an accuracy of less than 10 meters, utilising this incredibly accurate location based mobile social media activity has allowed for marketing applications defined as Space-locators and Space-timers to continually improve their offerings.  The ability of geotagged marketing messages to tailor messages to individuals within proximity at a time when they would likely utilise a stores service has resulted in some firms seeing a 100% increase in store visits. It is reported that only 2% of tweets have attached geographical information, so clearly there is room for major improvement in adoption by the average user. However Twitter has been able to determine the home city of 80% of users through analysis of data such as location of friends and time zone.

Big brands have been successfully utilising geotagged social media inputs to create innovative advertising campaigns and media messages for some time, an effective example was the highly integrated campaign by Heineken last year which saw users tweet @wherenext with location data and in response Heineken would reply with 5 nearby venues to continue the party. It utilises data and tools that Heineken has developed on their previous cities of the world campaign to deliver city by city, time sensitive, customised venues that are ‘hot’.


Whilst Heineken is attempting to create a worldwide campaign, the small business aspect requires what is being tagged as a “hyperlocal” approach to successfully identify and contact potential consumers from their limited market, largely limited by geographical restraints. Local Hawthorn based Muharam cafe has been highly successful at utilising Instagram based geotagging to promote new products, attract new customers through digital word of mouth and linking their online activities to the brick and mortar location. Not only does their account have 6000 followers and 119 photos, but 517 user generated photos have been # and/or geotagged to the venue, alerting all the followers of those users to the cafe’s location. Creating awareness around this stores location also assists when images find there way into unknown users search feature, peaking interest and a potential new customer.

photo 1

Due to the limited budget most small businesses have for marketing activities, location based social media can be invaluable, however many “Ma and Pa” stores lack the technological ability to engage through this medium, losing out on free exposure to the youth demographic, who unless they can find it online, won’t bother looking.

Where have you utilised the geotag feature on an upload you’ve made?
Ever found a hidden new place thanks to a friends geotag?


3 thoughts on “

  1. Another awesome blog! I constantly use my friends geotags to discover new hidden cafes and restaurants. I think this is really something that is important for small businesses in the hospitality industry to exploit. Especially if they do not have great physical exposure, like on a busy main road as majority of small, start-up cafes and restaurants start in the back streets.
    In addition something to consider is the geotag location used by celebrities or opinion leaders, as I have used these before to also discover cool hidden eateries. From the perspective of the business, this could be seen as a form of celebrity endorsement, which in turn is likely to generate attention from the fans of such celebrities (like myself).


    1. Cheers! For a small business, getting a celebrity or insta-famous individual to tag themselves at your venue is just about the best free exposure you can get, especially to reach people around our age demographic. As you said its a free celebrity endorsement.


  2. Great blog Elliot!
    I always use geotagging when uploading a photo to Instagram at a particular event or location.
    And I think it is really helpful when others post and use the feature. I’ve visited several cafes and occasionally restaurants simply because of a geotag that has popped up in my instagram feed, because the accompanying photo of the food/drink looks fantastic.

    And as was mentioned in the comments, it’s fantastic exposure when a celebrity tags a small business in one of their posts


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