LBS stands for Local-Based Services. It covers all that is related to local marketing and mobile. More than a trend, it is the logical consequence, a synthesis of the evolution in the digital industry: social, mobile, real-time, hyperlocal and search converge in LBS. Two components illustrate this emerging marketing culture: the maps and the strong bonds between on- and off-line.
The battle for maps is going on. Between Apple and Google of course but not only. In China alone, a dozen map companies fight for market share: among them, Baidu Maps develops many LBS. Maps are at the center of many services : local listings, street view, traffic, indoor location, public transportation schedules, etc.
Checking in, introduced first by social networks (Facebook, Foursquare, etc.), is now a sign of the times. Location is by default with smartphones ("xyz would like to use your current location") and most of the apps ask à la Facebook "where are you? (often you sign in for these apps with Facebook, your location is shared on your timeline).
All analytics produced by smartphones include geographic data, leaving most traditional off-line media in the dark, without precise geomarketing. To say "a store or a theater near you" is no longer enough.
Online to Offline (O2O) redimensions the hyperlocal and enriches it with mobile marketing using local discounts, vouchers, indoor maps, daily deals, mobile payment, group buying, loyalty cards... and drive. Recent examples:
- From app to an event for which the app sells tickets or distributes coupons (cf. IUV.NY)
- From crowdsourcing to mobile social networks (Weibo) to recommendations for restaurants (a new startup, HaoYouMeiShi in Beijing).
- With recently launched Evzdrop - what a name! - a place goes social ("listening to places through people"), targeting people who are in a store or who have already been there (retargeting).
- The Tencent group is launching a new mobile platform in China which will incorporate maps, street views (SoSO, 搜搜), messaging (Weixin, 微信), mobile payment, LBS and mobile advertising.