Would You Accept Location-Based Ads On Your Phone To Save Money?

The upside of getting location-based ads on your mobile is they can alert you to discounts you might not otherwise spot, and which you can take advantage of immediately. The disadvantage is that letting a large corporate know exactly where you are can be, well, creepy. Which side of the fence do you sit on?

A survey of 606 Australians by GPS device manufacturer Navteq suggests that we’re surprisingly blasé about receiving opt-in SMS or Internet ads on our phone that identify bargains near our current location, with two-thirds saying they wouldn’t object to such advertising. Petrol discounts were the most popular offer, followed by restaurant discounts, groceries and fast food.

Of course, it’s one thing to get people to agree to save money, and quite another to actually get them to opt into a service (or stay opted-in once the first privacy scandal breaks). What goods would you be happy to see advertised onto your phone? Or do you belong firmly in the “my location is no-one else’s business” camp? Tell us, and tell us why, in the comments.


  • Instictively I say no. I really don’t like the idea of people potentially knowing where I am just to send me adds. Apart from a potential discount, what is in it for me? I feel uncomfortable giving up my travel data and habits for a few adds for potential crappy discounts (I can already get discounted petrol online).

  • A big fan of allowing push notifications about the deals around me. The more information we give the big companies the better the experience they can create for us. So I say give give give.


  • Yeah, that’d be awesome. SMS would be a pain, but only because of how un-organised it is. I’d prefer someone like Apple/Google/Groupon/LivingSocial to release a “Deals” app which does the same thing, but with notifications.

    Such an app could also allow me to mute companies/products/keywords/etc; information which can then be sold (ie. people who like this, don’t like this…)

    tl/dr. Sell my location, give me cheap stuff, just make it a nice app which uses my GPS and data connection

  • Not surprised. People seem obsessed with broadcasting their location on 4square, facebook, etc. Pretty much opens the door to get spammed back with ads.

  • I work for a digital marketing agency that has made ads like this before. The location is bought from the telephone company which knows which cell tower you are using already and just pushes out the message that way, no other company knows your location, they are just hoping they will hit someone who will be interested.

    Your internet ads are already somewhat location based given your IP address gives these details to the advertising networks so you are served more relevant ads (would ads for Telstra be useful in the US? – if they can do it at that level, why wouldn’t they do it at a finer level?).

    Furthermore, given that so many people use foursquare and facebook places, don’t you think that your location is being tracked that way? Or google maps on your mobile? There are a lot of different possibilities, but an advertising paying for this localised content is giving a lot of money for it (much higher rate to have something very tailored) and that is then passed on down the lines to give the cash to support sites like lifehacker.

    The same goes for behavioural cookie tracking which has been happening for years, but only now is thought of as an issue (do we really want to cause another dot com crash and be stuck with those “you are the 1millionth visitor to the site, click here for your prize” annoying ads?).

  • Meh.. Advertising agencies know my full name, home address, mobile and landline numbers. The worst place I go in my travels is to the cafe for work ‘meetings’ so I don’t care who knows what.

    With that said, I get annoyed at random messages, so there’d have to be something more in it than potential savings at stores I might possibly be inclined to go to..

  • I see no problem in this. It seems like a win-win. I get notified on possible savings close to my location and someone else make money on advertising.
    Maybe I am being a little too blasé about location based advertising but I don’t really see the problem in companies knowing where I am.
    I’m tracked by Governments when I travel anyway and that’s never proved to be a problem. So what is the big deal? A corporations knows where I am and then….?

  • I’m just not that hard up so I’m a big no.

    Plus I go out of my way to avoid advertising (e.g. I’ll pay for a good tv show on DVD rather than watch it live to air on commercial television) so I’m not the kind of person who would willingly invite advertisers into my life. Especially as I’m doubtful they would end up being the kind of location/interest specific things I would actually be interested in.

    Plus I just think it’s daft as a woman to be providing my location details to all and sundry.

  • Would you accept??? It’s already here and we don’t really have a choice. Most apps contain ads and judging by downloads no one seems to care too much and they would sooner have free app than fork out the cost of can of coke to not have ads.

  • We have enough corporate graffiti in our public spaces. No way I’ll volunteer to have it in private ones too.

    Unfortunately, we ultimately won’t have a choice — enough corporations will follow the Microsoft model (make deals to force your products on people) to eventually make it impossible to escape, on this planet anyway.

  • Why do we hate ads? Because usually it’s trying to sell junk that we don’t want.

    I’m all for them knowing what I like to buy because then ads will be more relevant and be of higher quality products as that would be known to them (the advertisers) that I rather quality over cheap alternatives.

  • I would not opt in. At least not for so little a benefit as targeted ads. I might reconsider if the network provider offered me no monthly fees for my mobile phone in exchange for location data.

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