The Success of Grindr and Your Mobile Marketing Campaign

The success of Grindr has transformed many aspects of the viral mobile marketing campaign. Grindr represents the prevailing norm of applications accessing geo-location data, and the adaption of an old idea to fit in with modern mobile technology.

The application, with its specialized market, also presents an incredible opportunity for small and mid-sized brick-and-mortar businesses to take advantage of location data to successfully target very specific niches with very specific products. Here we will discuss how you can apply the Grindr model to your own mobile marketing strategy, and explore the possibilities of pursuing your own specialized niche markets.

What’s Grindr Anyway?

Launched in March 2009, Grindr is a mobile social networking and dating application exclusively for gay and bisexual men. The mobile application allows you to find other gay men by taking advantage of your mobile device’s geo-tracking technology features. This user-submitted location data allow Grindr to connect and coordinate its members with other local guys that match their specific interests. Participants can log on to Grindr and instantly gain access to a network of other local members within your area. You’re then free to share photos, stats and have mobile chat conversations with them.

Incorporating Open GPS Social Networking

Geo-social networking stems all the way back to 2005 with its introduction by the online commerce powerhouses of eBay and Amazon. Both of these companies utilized the API to better service local-based products and services to their customers for a more specialized consumer experience. A number of businesses later expanded on the idea and promoted their brand of “friend finder” mobile applications that many with major privacy concerns were reluctant to adopt. Over the years, interest in geo-social networking dwindled, largely in part by its failure to gain footing with any significant mainstream audiences.

But Grindr has arisen as one of the few exceptions, reaching over 4 million users last year. Back in January 2012 Grindr wonTechCrunch’s 2011 Crunchies Award for Best Location Application. Grindr is consistently ranked in the top 100 of dating apps on iOS and continues to receive solid reviews from users.

Grindr has caught on with its target audience because it gives complete access to its users to see and contact any other member profile nearby, not just approved Grindr users or friends from your variety of social media networks. This makes Grindr extremely useful to its consumer right from the beginning, instead of giving them a lonesome first experience.

One of the more lucrative features for Grindr is the ability for its members to not just see who’s around them but also zoom in on another location and view what users are there as well. That’s another reason why users have found value in the mobile application beyond what’s immediately nearby. This is key to incorporating a geo-social networking feature for your own viral mobile marketing campaign.

The average mobile user still doesn’t realize why geo-location is directly useful to them. So in order for your own mobile marketing campaign to be successful, you have to show them the benefits, not just tell them. Geo-location is about offering customers value right from the start. It’s personal, specific, and perfect for targeting niche demographics within a localized community of users.

Offer Specialized Search Filtering

Grindr gives its members a way to search through their community as if they were viewing a through a specialized filter. It gives its users the freedom to drill down their search by specifics, so members can find other guys nearby who have like-minded interests and detailed physical appearances. Grindr is also designed to show your uploaded photos of members directly from their profile. This feature is also public, but users do have the option to opt out of the account picture if they like.

The key to its appeal is personal specification. Allowing your users the choice to filter and choose their results gives them freedom and control over their experience with your mobile application. With our own business, we’ve recently added a company portfolio that showcases our custom flash drives with the clients that have bought and customized them to their liking. Visitors can filter through our portfolio projects based on product models, colors, and design options to find creative inspiration for their own work.

Targeting a Niche-Specific Community

Grindr has made a risky, but rewarding decision to help its service take off. As a result, the single greatest appeal that Grindr has had is its specialization within a specific niche community. Their mobile marketing campaign centers on offering mobile relationship networking exclusively to the gay and bisexual male demographic.

With your own mobile marketing campaign, you could try finding a specific community of influencers, consumers and individuals whose common interests in a complementary niche could attract them to purchasing your products or services.

Perhaps you’ll find that niche is based on relationships, gender, ethnicity, careers, or simple common interests like hobbies or leisure activities. The point is to research and find these niche communities from your CRM program and offer these demographics specifically targeted features within your mobile campaign.

Grindr and other rising geo-social networking applications show you businesses are still pushing the envelope for its consumers. Many people today are still skeptical of location-based services due to privacy concerns, but more and more we are seeing consumers getting more comfortable with the idea of sharing all kinds of personal information with the world.

Services like Grindr, when done well, thrive on geo-social networking and user-generated information, not to mention the appeal of niche-specific mobile targeting.  But it will take a constant attention to consumer privacy and safety to make certain that audiences still feel in control with how much information they’re openly sharing and with the value they receive in certain. Still, it presents an optimistic view for the future of mobile marketing, and to the successful evolution of your own campaigns as well.

Vincent Clarke is an inbound marketing analyst for USB Memory Direct. He researches new media marketing, geo-social networking, and mobile marketing to keep his company’s marketing strategy on the cutting edge.


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