We mentioned the new Pew Research study last week, when we talked about the higher number of women on social media and their purchasing power… Today we read a couple of articles that focus on a different set of facts from that same survey that we found interesting. Interesting and, in light of a slightly older bit of news, definitely worth sharing.

TechNewsDaily reports that 28% of adult Americans are using location-based services for directions or recommendations. Now, while that is sorta interesting, it’s not the main point we wanted to discuss.

What we want to talk about is the 12% of smart phone owners who use a check-in service like Foursquare or Gowalla. (That’s a “geo-social” service, in geek speak. Just so ya know.)

Twelve percent may not strike you as a huge number… until you consider that by some counts there are more than 100 MILLION smart phones in American hands. And that number is going up. Within a few months, smart phones will outnumber traditional cell phones in the US.

Now take into consideration that Foursquare offered their first business page in January 2010. Gowalla is just slightly over two years old as well. Despite their relative youth, they’re drawing 12% of over 100 million smart phone users. (AND they’re getting check-ins from 5% of the over 160 million traditional cell phones out there!)
Click graph to view full-sized.
For the record, we think that compares pretty favorably with the growth rates of both Facebook and Twitter. Google Plus, maybe not so much… but not much grows as fast as G+ did.

So. About that slightly older bit of news we mentioned…

At the beginning of August, Foursquare announced that their business pages are now self-serve.

Any brand, organization, or publication can now create their own Page, gain followers, share Tips, check in, and reach their fans.

Now, instead of waiting for the Foursquare team (who have done an admirable job), brands can create their own page… and start getting check-ins from the OVER TEN MILLION USERS who already take advantage of geo-social services.

And as smart phones become more prevalent, and more businesses join these services, the number of users is likely to continue growing as well.

We told you it was interesting.

If you haven’t checked out check-ins… well, do it.  Before another ten or so million potential customers pass you by.