Consumers Noticing More Ads Referencing Location Tracking

Consumers might be willing to give up privacy for convenience in mobile apps, but not all are happy with the tradeoff. 

About 96% of the 727 app users participating in a recent study say they have seen an ad that references their location and 66% are comfortable and 7% are uncomfortable with apps revealing their location through an autocomplete feature.

People rely on their phones to simplify their life by performing simple activities that can range from logging into a healthcare site to check the status of their latest blood test to searching and checking for local movie locations and times.

The Manifest’s report, The State of Location-Tracking Mobile Apps in 2019, looks at how location-tracking technology disrupts user privacy and enhances business marketing.

Some 54% of the survey respondents were female, and the remainder were male. About 17% of respondents were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28% were between the ages of 25 and 34; 26% were between the ages of 35 and 44; and 29% were 45 and older. 

Those who participated in the survey say they like the convenience of autocomplete technology. Autocomplete reduces typing by 25%, and Google estimates this saves 200 years of typing time per day among internet users. Many will trade privacy for convenience.

The average American checks their phone 52 times a day -- up from 47 times per day on last year’s study, according to the most recent data from Deloitte.

Some 93% use social apps, while 69% use transportation apps, 46% use travel and hospitality apps, and 46% use fitness apps. 

Social apps Snapchat, Facebook, and Tinder request access to user location to create a more relevant social experience, but people do not typically realize how much information they share with others.

About 38% of people have accidentally shared their location through a social app without realizing it, with 46% of respondents saying they kept the app after their location was shared. About 14% of people delete the app after accidentally sharing their location.

Some 79% have included a geotag -- which attaches a location to a photo or video -- by mistake when posting on social media. About 24% said they do it occasionally, while 21% said they never do it, 19% do it often or rarely and 18% said they always do it.

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