Location-Aware Mobile Media and Advertising: A Chinese Case

Location-Aware Mobile Media and Advertising: A Chinese Case

Mei Wu (University of Macau, China) and Qi Yao (University of Macau, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9845-1.ch008
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Location-Based Services (LBS) that are combined with ubiquitous smartphones usher in a new form of information propagation: Location-Based Advertising (LBA). Modern technologies enable mobile devices to generate and update location information automatically, which facilitates marketers to launch various types of location-aware advertising and promotional services to users who are in the vicinity. This chapter conceptualizes location-aware mobile communication as the locative and mobile media with a McLuhan's notion of retrieve of “locality” in the “networked” space of information flows, and examines the current dilemma faced by LBA in China through a case study. It first defines location-aware mobile technologies and influences such media afford for location-aware advertising and information propagation. It then provides an overview of the development of LBS and LBA in China. A case study of the LBA app “SBK” further offers a detailed examination how new models of advertising are developed with the technical affordances of location awareness, sociability, and spatiality. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the constraints and potential of LBA in China.
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Defining Location-Aware Media

Location-aware media is defined here as any form of networked service via wireless communication technologies to mobile terminals which enable users to be aware of the location of themselves and/or others in the vicinity (Licoppe, 2013). Location-aware technologies and applications may include GPS-based geo-location or cell phone triangulation (Licoppe & Inada, 2006), but most distinctively the self-declarative location-sharing applications such as with Gowalla, Foursquare, Facebook place, Grindr and Digu. In this manner, the user indicates his/her location in way of “check-ins”. The location notification may be made public or restrict to his/her circle of “friends” (Tang, Lin, Hong, Siewiorek, & Sadeh, 2010; Licoppe, 2013). This is based on a variety of wireless communication technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, through which most smartphones and other mobile devices are capable of recognizing one another within a range of certain distance. Users to whom such connection and service are available can receive notifications of their “friends” or other users in proximity (Licoppe, 2013).

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