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Gowalla + Those Vaynerchuk Guys + The Nets = A Case Study

by James Ball on April 27, 2010

Today’s post is from a guest contributor, Kevin Metzger. Learn more about him after the article.

 

Early last week Vayner Media published a case study on the use of location based marketing services such as Gowalla and FourSquare. The case study was probably the most publicized and thorough case study that I’ve seen yet. However, after reading it I still had a few questions and some concerns about the implications of the case study.

I voiced those concerns on Twitter and AJ Vaynerchuk reached out, provided his email address, and offered to have a conversation about the case study with me. I of course jumped at the chance to have this conversation so I quickly drafted an email with just a few questions about the implications of the case Study.

If you missed the case study you’ll want to check it out before reading the rest of this blog. The presentation below is best viewed in fullscreen setting…menu on bottom left.

 

*Read the full presentation transcript (below the presentation on Slideshare)

After reading the case study it was evident that in this situation there were some obvious benefits to the use of Geolocation Marketing. This is especially so when you have an involved and enthusiastic group that will spread the good will beyond their immediate consumption of the services being provided – i.e. tweeting and posting to Facebook about the event. This is social marketing at it’s finest. Additionally, the use of Geolocation marketing at the venue driving traffic to specific vendors and providing a better customer experience are immediate obvious benefits.

The case study also mentions that a 15.2% attendance from people who received the free tickets was a success. I was less confident of this and wanted to know what Vayner Media thought would happen if the tickets were handed out manually rather than given as rewards through Gowalla. I was also concerned that perhaps the success was due to the novelty of the campaign, and finally, this seems like a great base line, but what can be done to improve the program and increase attendance even more? Below are Vayner Media’s answers to these questions.

Q: Would a manual campaign be as effective as a the Gowalla campaign for dispersing the free tickets?
A: I actually think the attendance would have been less if done via manual hand out, if that manual hand out was done in the same locations and predominantly in NYC. I think the reason attendance reached the point it did was because Gowalla users felt as if they had won something unique and special, not been given a voucher by a random man/woman. From my personal experience, I feel as if I am far more likely to redeem something I win on a social network (Twitter, Facebook, Gowalla, FourSquare) than I am if a random individual handed me a voucher / flyer.

Q: How much of this response is novelty vs. sustainable marketing method?
A: I think that as of right now it is novelty since the user base is so small. That being said, as location based services grow, I think these type of campaigns will become common and effective.

Q: The results seem to be a great baseline to improve from, but are there lessons learned that were immediately obvious?
A: There was definitely a lot to learn from this program. I think the most important lesson was creating a way to communicate with winners in between Gowalla discovery and game attendance. I think directing users to a community forum would be a great way to answer questions and quell concerns.

I’d like to thank AJ personally for responding so quickly to my questions and agreeing to my posting an article with our communication. Neither AJ nor Vayner Media has had the opportunity to read this prior to the posting but all answers are direct quotes provided by AJ in response to my original email.

Kevin Metzger is a Business Systems Architect by day and founder of MetzgerBusiness.com. If you would like to learn more about Kevin you can follow him on Twitter at @metzgerbusiness or @TheDADvocate

Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein.

Sam Taggart April 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Kevin,

Great post! I'm glad that you (and others) have really thought about and questioned the campaign. We were thrilled with the success & thought that we'd gathered a substantial about of information and data to prove the value of geolocation for business, particularly in the events space. However, a big goal of ours was to get the conversation going around geolocation & business, and I think this post is validation that we've done so.

Thanks again, and let me or AJ know if you have any more questions!

@metzgerbusiness April 27, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Sam, Thanks for popping by and leaving the comment. Both I and James are very appreciative. I agree that this conversation is necessary and will only help to further critical thought on the use of geolocation technology in business. It is thrilling to be on the leading edge of this technology and see how it can be used to enhance business and further commerce. Similar to blogging and twitter I think geolocation will benefit the small business as much as or more than the larger ones such as the Nets.

Scott April 28, 2010 at 7:56 pm

This is a very interesting article on the benefits that social media and especially location based services can have on local marketing. I think one of the fallbacks of apps like foursquare and gowalla are that they dont provide enough real-time content. Thats why I use buzzd, which gives me up-to-the-minute reviews and notifications about the most popular events, restaurants and venues in my area. They also have a number of giveaways which provides value for me and the businesses they work with. I think 15.2 % attendance from people that received the tickets on Gowalla is pretty low, and I would like to see the conversion rate on a different application.

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