Check-in is normally associated with the app Foursquare but there’s other big names using this feature now – Google+, Facebook Places etc.Foursquare valued at $600m and hit 1 billion checkins this week.This idea of ‘checking-in’ to what you’re doing has been picked up for more specific uses. There’s also smaller, regional apps – GyPSii is Dutch, Plyce (French); Peoplesound (Italy). Predominantly US based.Take up is normally down to region specific releases or the opening of new offices which encourage businesses to advertise on the platform. Facebook Places and check-in deals were made available in the UK in Sept 2010 but only made available to parts of Europe in January this year. It can’t always be assumed that the obvious choices are bigger – in Sweden, Gowalla is more popular.
358 million check-ins outside the US
It’s not just about location. GetGlue allows users to check-in to entertainment- if you’re watching a TV show you can ‘check-in’ and share it with other friends on Get Glue or Facebook / Twitter. US based IntoNow bought by Yahoo uses sound recognition to check you in to a specific point in a TV programme.
Whether you’re checking into a location or an experience, what they all have in common is the recording and sharing of context. You can know where someone is and precisely what they’re doing in one action, now.Check-in is short hand for letting people know where you are and what you’re doing quickly - which opens up what you classify as ‘check-in’.
it’s not necessarily as deliberate and considered as pressing a ‘check-in’ button. There are many small cues online that show what you’re doing and where you are without hitting a check-in button. Ambient check-in - Twitter – people are always telling you what they are doing and where they are. It’s implied check-in. And the awareness of it for this reason is low. More aligned with sharing an experience and socialising rather than making material gains.Considered check-in – high awareness. More likely to be a personal benefit attached to it. Privacy issues are highest around here because you’re being explicit about where you are and what you’re doing.Brand check-in - communicate implicitly where you are and what you’re doing but your intention is to promote a brand or an experience you’ve had. An example of this is the clothes brand Diesel who have QR codes in store that allow you to post a comment to your Facebook wall about the product by scanning the code. It’s a form of check-in because it communicates that you’re in a Diesel store and that you’re shopping.
Let’s look at some different types of examples where there’s a benefit to both brand and customer.
KLMand brand engagementShare flight plans and get rewarded. Highly personalised rewards based on the customer’s journey and what they like doing:Short term campaign - develops brand engagement and affinity. Very personalisedrewards, creating passionate customers. People willing to share their KLM experience.e.g. Joost tweeted he was on his way to rainy Berlin, to attend the wedding of his friend Saskia. He hoped that KLM would bring some sunshine on board. So, to brighten his day, we bought him a sunny balloon, and for the bridal couple, salt and pepper shakers.A true golf fan, Sander was travelling to New York for business. We surprised him with a Lonely Planet travel guide, and included our recommendations for golf courses nearby so Sander could go for a relaxing round outdoors after his business obligations.
Short term campaign by Grenata Pet - Moves offline mechanic to digital in context of dog walking.
Customer serviceOffers an opportunity for smaller retailers to get an advantage over big brands by offering a highly personalised service.D.B.A Barbecue in Atlanta – greets customers by name.Enables him to fix customer service problems as they occur. Creates loyalty and word of mouth. For bigger brands to offer this level of service, it would need a Customer Relationship Management strategy and high level of social media monitoring.The owner, Matt Coggin - "I'll walk up to a guest, and greet them by name and say, 'I saw you check in on Foursquare and I appreciate that…People seem appreciative. The whole thing is acknowledging people for going out. It's all about being acknowledged.”http://vahi.patch.com/articles/how-to-use-foursquare-to-win-customer-loyalty-featuring-dba-barbecue
Starbucks - use Foursquare both company wide and on a very local basis. Offer a better customer service, build loyalty and word of mouth. They offer ‘barista’ badges to reward loyalty. Starbucks in Austin – write the name of the mayor on a blackboard and greet them by name when they walk in. Starbucks are also using Foursquare to monitor what customers like and dislike which allows them to tailor offers on a local basis. This comes back to bigger brands needing a higher investment in CRM to analyse the data they get about their Foursqare / Facebook Places loyalty programmes and plan how to feed it back into customer service and product improvements. Twitter are looking at introducing analysis tools for business .
Coca-Cola – use different form of check-in using RFID tags. Example of brand aware check-in.Brand affinity. Word of mouth. Targets their main audience group – teens.
For teens, social is in fact the main benefit of check-inNotmain users of check-in services (biggest groups is 25-34yrs). Use it differently.Indication of where this behaviour and technology will progress.For those that see the social benefits, it’s about extending their real world social lives online and using their digital connections to influence their real world. Boundaries of real world and digital are being blurred. They’re recording their social lives, and building their social status.Microsoft study
Being social isn’t just about the people you know. The number of check-ins creates an immense source of meta data that can be used to benefit the community. Data playback is an important aspect of social experiences in these apps.In Foursquare, you can see the individual recommendations of friends. Or you can choose the ‘explore’ feature which draws on the data collected by the whole community to recommend places based on where people like you go to. Similarly the app GetGlue gives recommendations for TV, films, books and other entertainment based on your check-ins and what entertainment other people like you are consuming, although this is mainly US based at the moment.
This example uses data from foursquare check-ins to drive a new service that tells you the best time to visit a tourist attraction. It’s a new, innovative service where the check-in data is used to influence real world behaviour.
So far I’ve looked at some stand alone examples – mostly campaigns – that show how you can use check-in to 1) reward loyalty, 2) create word of mouth 3) sampling 4) improve customer service. Examples that are combining this idea of drawing on social with data playback to actually innovate their services. I’m using two examples that are traditionally can be isolating activities – exercise (specifically running) and TV watching. Some brands have turned these into social experiences, and they use different forms of check-in both on existing platforms and their own created platforms.
Use ambient and deliberate forms of check-in to enhance their products. Their products are TV shows. Turned what is traditionally perceived to be a passive, solitary experience into a shared one.
Question Time is a weekly political panel show where members of the audience ask topical questions to politicians and public figures.Livelydebate which evokes strong feelings from both the studio audience and those watching at home.Since 2009 - actively encouraging by mentioning hashtagbbcqt
Use of twitter evolved – what originally started as simply retweetingothers comments has turned into actively encouraging twitter users to agree or disagree.Oct 2010 – recorded 10,000 tweets during the 1 hour show. The BBCquestiontime twitter account has over 77,000 followers. It has become the most tweeted about TV show in the UK with an average of 5000 tweets during the programme. It’s doing what politicians have been failing to do for years – make people interested in politics again.Guardian quote;‘Watching shows with the Twitter feed onis like being in a crowded room full of witty, opinionated friends (or occasionally with grumpy parents). It brings forward that moment of shared experience – no need to wait until tomorrow to find out what everyone thought’ – The Guardian
Text messages using red button – the programme gets around 3500 texts per show. There was a peak of 12,000 in one show in 2004.All this activity is creating a behaviour change in the audience – it’s changed watching TV into a collective experience, where you can watch live with others and take part in the conversation. The BBC have added value to their TV shows and enhanced them as products by using ambient check-in.And there’s huge opportunity here – Question Time is still a relatively niche late night political show. If you look at some of the televised events in America you start to see the scale of opportunity here.
During the 2011 Super Bowl, tweets peaked at 4,000 per second.During the Oscars, there were 1,269,970 tweets, and 388,717 users tweeting.Demonstrates the size of some collective experiences and what an untapped possibility this is.
Different approach for their US audiences. Use deliberate check-in - importance of understanding your audience and what platforms are most relevant . Get Glue, a much more popular app in the US than Europe, to promote products and promote loyalty. This allows users to comment, review, and reward loyalty by earning time sensitive stickers. Viewers have to check-in while the show is on to earn the sticker, encouraging live viewing and engagement.One of the BBC’s most popular shows, Top Gear, has 64,000+ check-ins here.This is another way of building communities around the programmes, making them more than just a TV show.
Televised events work well for check-in. They are single, time sensitive events that attract large audiences with opinions. Eurovision Song Contest was accompanied with this iPad app. Making use of deliberate check-in, the user can interact with others through the iPadinterface while watching the TV show.The app complements the show – it allowed views to explore background information about the singers and really participate and engage with the show. The app allowed users to rate artists; predict the winner and Discuss, share , comment, argue and shout via integrated chat box.
Those checked-in are shown on a map. And it integrates with Twitter and Facebook.It’s not just a TV show watched alone but a collective, pan-European experience created using check-in and an iPad application.
So what are the social benefits for people shown by these collective TV viewing experiences? 1) It’s no longer about simply passive entertainment but a whole social experience.2) Sharing the experience with others creates a sense of belonging. 3) There’s reassurance that your opinion is shared – and this feels good! 4) You can share views online you might not be able to share with people you work with or your friend.
These social benefits create a change in behaviour. People are shifting behaviour from the watercooler the next day to digital, during the show. Real world behaviour of talking about TV shows the next day has moved online, in real time. This means that people have to watch in real time to get the full benefits of the experience. They’re engaging and interacting with the TV shows across multiple devicesIt’s no longer the passive experience it once was
For brands, like the BBC, they are 1) advancing and enhancing their services, giving differentiation and creating better products. 2) Increased engagement, which in turn means 3) increased word of mouth promotion – and potentially increased viewing figures4) For advertisers, they want people watching in real time because it means they can’t skip the ads. They want engaged viewers. Check-in is offering that possibility.
Moving onto the next innovative example of check-in – again, turning an individual behaviour of running / exercise into a social experience. Some brands are creating innovative services on their own platforms using considered check-in to tap into the psychological effects of sharing your exercise with your friends
Nike Plus allows users to record the time and location of exercise using their phone app. This is a form of considered check-in.There’s a personal benefit to this – it offers a way to accurately track your exercise and see improvements in time and distance.But the experience is most beneficial and rewarding when connected to the Nike Plus community and other social networks
You can share your runs on Facebook or Twitter and get feedback from your friends – such as ‘likes’.This is motivating after your run. This shows one of my friends posting their runs and someone has liked this one.
The app has a clever feature integrated with Facebook – it can post to facebook during your run and if someone ‘likes’ it you have ‘cheers and applause’ played into your headphones. This immediate feedback gives immediate motivation when it’s needed – while the user is running.
Data recorded, played back later – on the desktop sitePersonalbenefit and motivational –track progress and set yourself goals and challenges.However, the Nike Plus site is also a community – you can also see your friends data and the collective data of the whole community. Compare yourself to your friends is a psychological trick to motivate you and encourages competition. Sense of belonging.It’s a complementary experience to the mobile app created around check-in behaviour and is an innovative service enhancing Nike’s core product of sportswear.
Runkeeper is another ‘check-in’ exercise app very similar to Nike+. Shows a stream of your ‘street team’ when you view on the desk top site, allowing you to like within the Runkeeper site
Collect immense amounts of highly detailed information.Playing this back and sharing it is powerful
A sense of belonging enhanced by Nike’s Humanrace – where runners around the world compete in a 10k using Nike plus wherever they are.In the first race, August ’08, 800,000 runners logged on and signed up to run a 10K race simultaneously in 25 cities, from Chicago to São PauloThis sense of belonging contributes towards brand loyalty, as well as benefiting charities and getting some people who’d never run a 10k or a race before, out there. On their own but psychologically part of a global audience. Check-in enabled it.
They’ve also run much smaller events. This is one run in London last year called NikeGrid where runners competed to run in as many of the postcodes in London as they could. They used phone booths as the mechanism for checking in here. Each participant had a unique code and would dial a number to start a race, run to the next phone booth and dial in to check-out. Primarily aimed at students and they ran some nice data visualisations on the website to show collective behaviour.
Here’s an example from Reebok that’s a little more sinister and uses peer pressure to motivate exercise.
So what does this demonstrate? Well, the social benefits are strong. By sharing your running activities you’re using psychological impact of this to motivate yourself through Competition Comparison. And there’s a sense of belonging again, being part of a shared experience.
There’s a very clear, simple and positive behaviour change here – You run more and Run faster. And that positivity is associated with the brand that helped you do it.
Which leads on to the brand benefits. It’s ultimately a service innovation that’s creating loyalty.And brand affinityThey have aligned themselves with runners, which has contributed hugely to their growth. Nike accounted for 48% of all running-shoe sales in the U.S in 2006. In 2008, its share had risen 61%. With a “significant amount of the growth coming from Nike+," says Matt Powell, a SportsOneSource analyst. Nike Plus was ranked as the 2nd most popular social brand in March this year by Revolution Magazine. Social brands don’t just send messages, they create value for people and communities. Interestingly, only 22% of the brands in this list were using geo-location. It’s still an untapped resource.They’ve created an innovative service that sits alongside their core product to add value and differentiatehttp://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_46/b4108074443945.htm
So now I’m going to move on to give a practical, design toolkit. I have 6 broad points that should give an approach for how to design an experience that uses check-in, particularly taking advantage of the social elements and data playback that have characterised the more innovative examples.
Appropriateness for the brand and business objectives –What do you want out of it? It can be used to drive loyalty and footfall, as most commonly seen by retail outlets (think back to Starbucks). It can increase promotion through word of mouth. Or you can take it further and use as a brand engagement tool – in a campaign based way like KLM.Oruse it to innovate your service and differentiate, like Nike have done.
Appropriateness for the Audience –You’re probably still talking about a niche audience unless you’re using ambient forms of check-in like the BBC or you integrate it into your own platform service like Nike. Early adopters and smart phone users for deliberate check-in. Checking in is most popular for the 28-35 year old group. Bigger in USA and UK than rest of Europe. Mainly due to the gaps in releases of apps that facilitate it.However, it will be interesting to see how quickly younger people adopt this behaviour as they place more value on the social aspects. They already expect to get contextual experiences on their phones. There are two key drivers in youth marketing – context and the need to belong. Both of these are features of check-in. ‘The youth don’t buy things – they buy what things can do for them’ ( (iLoop Mobile) July 7, 2011) At the Mobile Marketing for the Youth Market Roundtable, iLoop Mobile pointed out that
And finally consider Availability – What platform or combination of them is most appropriate to the region you operate in? This is where Social Media specialists can help. They can recommend an appropriate platform for your audience. And it’s also important to consider if it is available from a technical point of view – there is no good developing an idea if you’re expecting your customer to check-in where they do not have access to 3G, wireless or a gps signal.
Consider the customer journey. Cross-channel experience. Understand the touch points your customer has with digital. This is where a Customer Relationship Management specialist can help to understand this journey and help identify where the opportunities for this type of experience exist. Once you understand this you can choose a mechanism. I’ve mentioned a few and it’s not just mobile – you can use QR codes, phone booths like Nike. Even travel cards. There’s a game called Chromaroma that encourages Londoners to use the tube by turning their journeys into a game every time they swipe their card.
Understanding the customer journey will also help you identify the devices that are available. Generally, a mobile device is used to collect check-in information and give feedback in context. But what about other ways of giving feedback and playing back data. What about in-store screens? Or in-store iPads? If it’s a TV viewing experience do you use mobile / tablet to complement the TV experience? Understand the customer journey and what devices are available and decide if they are suitable. If you have a Customer Relationship Management team get them involved here.
What’s the behaviour change you want to invoke? Can you help customers change their habits – either create good habits or stop bad ones? Save more money? Eat less junk food? Stop smoking? And there’s an ethical issue here too – What if the brand wants their customers to eat more junk food? Or smoke more? Or gamble? You could do either…Another way at looking at behaviour is to use past behaviour to influence what you offer the customer. What if you can blur what they do online with their offline world. Think about this in the context of shopping. If the customer checks-in, you could make in-store recommendations based on what they had previously bought online.
What if you could walk into any shop and check-in to get personalised recommendations based on what you have bought in the past?It needs a customer relationship management strategy but it helps brands go back to offering an independent, localised service for their regular customers.
It’s more powerful when it’s social. Psychological factors of bringing the customers friends along with them – what can they share? Sharing is the key and this allows friends or strangers to give each other feedback, compare each other, compete with each other, make recommendations. Collaboration is something that is relatively unexplored except in game environments but knowing where someone is when sharing a task can aid it’s completion. What about peer pressure? Think back to how Reebok used this. All of these psychological factors are ways of influencing and changing behaviours.Here’s an example.
This leads onto data playback. What data do you hold about the customer and the community and what can you access?Can this drive a more personalised experience? How will data be managed ongoing? Again, Customer Relationship Management teams play a role here.Can you use trends in the data? This type of data is often used to give recommendations. but it also drives the social interactions. Think of it like a feedback loop – Check-in, feedback, data playback. The data is often core to the service – the BBC example is a great one for this. They’ve innovated a service based on integrating the playback of conversations around their product.
Privacy concerns are the main reason for not checking in50% of non-users in US cited privacy concerns as the main reason for not using check-in Study by Microsoft showed higher concerns for sharing with businesses. Ambient check-in has lower concernHigher with deliberate check-inSTATShttp://www.bynd.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/social_loco_infographic_vSCREEN.png‘Location privacy and location aware computing’ - Matt Duckham & Lars KulikUniversity of Melbourne, Australia
There’s different directions it could go. Some short term, some looking into the not too distant future. And they may not all be positive.
The US presidential elections are next year. Obama tapped into social networks last time to gain support. That was 4 years ago. It will be interesting to see how check-in is used next year to influence the behaviour of others.Psychological affects of peer pressure, belonging, recommendations, competition?
Greater integration of social aspects and check-in, Huge potential here for creating collective TV viewing experiences. It could complete change how we watch TV - allowing you to see who is watching the same as you, interacting with each other on-screen in real time.This engaging type of experience could become the norm.
Then there’s the nightmarish vision for the future where check-in is automatic, it’s based on biometrics that you don’t control, and it’s no longer about improving your experience but about getting you to buy more. And you can’t escape it. I’ll leave you with this clip from Minority Report that perfectly illustrates this point.
Where, What, Now - Designing for collective, contextual experiences
Where, What, NowDesigning for collective, contextual experiencesJen Williams@anavrin_uk<br />
What’s this about?<br />Behaviour of ‘Checking-in’ <br /><ul><li>What we can do with it
How it can be an enabler for behaviour changing experiences that blur the real world and digital
How it’s enabling brands to shape their own innovative services
It’s about context and immediacy<br />Recording and sharing of context. <br /> You can know where someone is and precisely what they’re doing in one action, now.<br /> Opens up what we classify as ‘check-in’ to anything that is about sharing where you are and what you’re doing.<br />
Ambient check-in<br />Brand aware <br />check-in<br />Considered check-in<br />Different attitudes to checking in<br />High awareness<br />Low awareness<br />Low awareness<br />‘I want to be part of this experience’<br />‘I want to share my experience’<br />‘I’m checking in for personal benefit’<br />‘I’m promoting the brand’<br />‘I’m playing a game’<br />
For teens, social is the main benefit<br />54% offers and discounts<br />All check-in users<br />(USA)<br />30% to meet friends<br />Teens<br />(USA)<br />14% for special offers<br />45% to tell friends where I am<br />
Social benefits<br />Not just a TV show but a social experience<br />Sense of belonging <br />Reassurance and social acceptance <br />Can discuss, argue, vent, laugh… with everyone else watching – more engaging and enjoyable<br />
Change in behaviour<br />Moves real world behaviour online<br />Watch live, not recorded<br />Engage and interact with TV show across multiple devices<br />No longer a passive experience<br />
Brand benefits<br />Added value / enhances the products (the shows)<br />Increases engagement<br />Increase word of mouth<br />Advertising<br />