Mobile Tracking’s Role In Marketing

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So, Facebook is rumored to be launching a location-tracking app in mid-March that can continuously report on the location of your friends, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

It will even track locations when the app isn’t turned on, a feature which is triggering privacy concerns but perhaps pleasing marketers who use Facebook ads. Knowing the location and habits of consumers allows for ads that target their whereabouts.

For users, the new Facebook app will function like Foursquare’s radar-like features, sending alerts when you’re close to a friend or when you’re close to a restaurant or bar that your friend goes to regularly.

In this way, consumers themselves become the marketers as their buying habits influence their friends with no extra effort required. Location-tracking apps like this are poised to trigger the modern day “word-of-mouth” marketing.

While location-tracking may creep out users concerned with how Facebook handles private information, the social media company’s data use policy puts it in a strong position to charge forward with the app.

It cautions users that information on their location can be used “to tell you and your friends about events nearby or offer details to you that you might be interested in.” Facebook says it only holds that information until it’s no longer useful, but if you’re tracking trends and habits, that’s forever!

For mobile marketers, the app will likely offer more opportunities to position ads for very specific audiences of the more than 1 billion users – and growing – who access Facebook from their mobile devices.

About Rebecca McClay

Rebecca McClay is a business journalist based in Washington D.C. She was previously managing editor of and was a business journalist for a number of news outlets. Her articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, Arizona Republic, MarketWatch and Bloomberg among others. She has a master's degree in business journalism from Arizona State University.
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