Location-based smartphone applications are gaining in popularity among users worldwide. This new trend provides companies and shops a new way of reaching more costumers. But how far has it penetrated Hungary?
Programs such as Foursquare, Facebook Places, Trip Advisor, Google Latitude and many more offer a give-and-get relationship to their users. If you tell them where you are, they will provide you with information that might be important for you in the area. The possibilities are many: restaurants, theatres, activities, shopping or whatever might be interesting for the user. This can be important for anyone owning a business because if more people are told about them, the more they are likely to visit. And those who don’t use this opportunity might be left behind.
The most popular such application by far is Foursquare. With over 45 million users worldwide and more than 5 billion check-ins – growing by millions every day – it provides a good opportunity for commercials. This is the platform that currently offers the most possibilities for advertisements, and 1.6 million businesses try to make the best of it worldwide.
Foursquare offers numerous ways to advertise. If a user checks in somewhere, the application makes a list of services in the area. Their newest invention is the “passive check-in”, which doesn’t even require users to share where they are. The application automatically offers recommendations based on the location of the user, making their phone a package of opportunities.
There are similar Hungarian applications available as well. The most popular is Kocsma.hu (meaning Pub.hu), which is a database of pubs, parties and discounts on drinks across the country. Over 10,000 people have downloaded the application so far, and it proves satisfactory. The website under the same name possibly adds to the popularity, where it is also possible to search for spots to hang out.
The app is available in English, so it can be a useful companion for those tourists who want to experience Hungary by night. Of course there are also several applications that are not limited strictly to entertainment. These are mostly designed to help tourists and can recommend hotels, sights, restaurants, spas and everything a visitor might need in Budapest.
In contradiction to the achievements of Hungarian app developers, location-based advertising still seems to be taking its baby steps in Hungary. Very few companies use it, and even fewer use it consciously. Some companies do post their offers but these are not specified for application users, they are available for everyone. The most you can get in some stores is a coffee in exchange for a check-in. This shows that it hasn’t yet been realised that some discounts for users of mobile applications can be a very cheap way of advertising. If they get a few per cent off in exchange for sharing where they are and what they got, their friends who saw this online might later visit the place too, generating a bigger traffic for the company.
It might be a good idea to use these opportunities though, as more and more Hungarians pay more attention to the information that reaches them directly like this. Small businesses can get a chance to promote themselves in a cheaper way, outsmarting their competition or popular chain stores. It could also be a simple way to attract tourists to themselves, as those who visit Hungary for the first time can’t really reach information of this sort in any other way if they don’t have any local friends who can give them tips. Location-based advertising could be this friend, who knows every place in town.