Whether listening to music, scrolling through social media, or navigating to a new destination, consumers everywhere are dependent upon their smartphones for constant access to information — especially as it relates to location. According to a recent Google study, one-third of all mobile searches are local in nature. Knowing this, one of the most valuable features of the smartphone is its ability to deliver geographically relevant information via location services. Configured to track user location throughout the day, location services enhances the user experience by providing various features based on the user's past, present, and future locations.
Location services are able to garner geographical information for smartphones using cell towers, GPS, and WiFi. All three sources inform location services through triangulation, a process that bounces signals between three stationary objects to pinpoint the intersection of where all these signals meet. Unlike the other two methods, GPS triangulation differs because it is dependent on time. When a user's location is determined by GPS, the resulting location is calculated based on the time it takes a signal to reach receivers on Earth from a network of 24 satellites orbiting in space.
Although many consumers may not understand how their location services are determined, they are most likely familiar with the "blue circle of ambiguity" that represents their approximate location on Google or Apple maps. Consumers may also be more familiar with the utility of location services as they use tools like Apple's Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager, which are programs that rely on location services to find and track users' smartphones.
However, the functionality of location services is not limited to tracking devices. Location services has permeated the growing world of smartphone applications as well. Over 85% of the time that consumers are on their smartphones is spent in native applications, many of which use location services to tailor content and advertising to the user's location. Some applications, like maps, weather, and GPS, are dependent upon location services to deliver results to users, but increasingly applications are supplementing the user experience by implementing location-based options.
Social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat have all introduced location services to their platforms as a way of including location in user-generated content. This incorporation of location services, whether in the form of a geotag or geofilter, has caused user-generated content to become more personalized and relevant to users' lives. In fact, Snapchat Geofilters can be an extremely effective way to engage with your customers, but setting them up requires very precise location data. These Geofilters are overlays that users can place on top of Snapchat photos and are associated with specific locations, so you'll see more appears as you move around in different areas. Brands can create custom Geofilters that will appear in specific locations for certain periods of time to engage customers.
Knowing the role that location plays in consumers lives each day, it's important for businesses to make sure their location information is correct across the entire search ecosystem — including on maps, apps, search engines, and directory sites. Make sure consumers can find you and that location services points them in the right direction as they search. With the Yext Knowledge Graph, you can be sure your business information will be accurate and up-to-date.