Microsoft Privacy Survey Shows Effectiveness of LBS Ads -- 46% Took Action

In December Microsoft sponsored a "Location Based Services Usage and Perceptions Survey." Last week in honor of privacy day it released results, which were widely reported -- mostly with a focus on the privacy issues and questions. Yes, people are concerned about location sharing and privacy. Those data, however, are less interesting to me than some of the other findings in the survey. 

The online survey was conducted in December with 1,500 total respondents from the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and Japan. Here some of the more interesting findings from my perspective:

  • 60% reported being aware of LBS
  • 51% said they used LBS (this is much higher than the Pew and Forrester survey data reflect)
  • 35% in the US use LBS at least several times per week which is nearly 2x higher than most other countries surveyed.
  • Only 18% use location-based services to share their location with others: (US 20%, UK 19%, Germany 15%, Canada 21%, Japan 15%)
  • On average, more than 70% prefer to use free LBS applications. This preference is highest in Canada (80%) and lowest in the US (66%). 

Here are the most common LBS use cases:

Picture 14

The most significant finding from the survey (beyond the privacy stuff) is about the efficacy of location-based ads:

 Picture 15

The data in the tables above show that an average of 46% of those seeing location-based "retail" ads took action after exposure. The percentage is highest in the US: 55%. 

Among those using LBS services to share location, here are the services they used:

Picture 16