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Nike+ GPS shows new route for location-based apps


The Nike+ GPS application for the iPhone

Targeting runners and athletes, Nike has launched its Nike+ GPS application on the iPhone and iPod touch, which could be indicative of what is to come for location-based applications.

Nike+ GPS motivates runners to push themselves. It also lets runners track their distance, time, speed and calories burned using the iPhone's accelerometer.

“What's exciting about the Nike app is that it is an excellent example of the potential for predictive location-based marketing,” said Jeff Becker, senior director of marketing at Apptera, Sunnyvale, CA. “Marketers are keen on delivering messages to people where they are.”

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Nike, based in Beaverton, OR, claims to be the world’s largest designer and retailer of sportswear and products.

Nike did not respond in time for press.


Map it out
Nike+ GPS works with runners in any location, regardless of a GPS signal. If one is available, it will map a route. If one is not, then the accelerometer function will only track pace, distance, time and calories burned.

When using the GPS function, users can map out a route, tapping it during the run to see their pace, distance ran and their location within the route. By using the “Challenge Me” function, a runner can be pushed to run further, faster and longer than in a previous course.

Here is a screen grab of the application:

Celebrities and athletes will send messages when goals are met to further motivate the user.

By connecting to http://www.nikeplus.com, runners can join a community of over 3 million local and worldwide runners, post the results of their run to Facebook and Twitter and view the progress on their goals.

App influence 
Nike last year launched its Nike+ Sportsband, giving runners feedback on the performance of their run. It also gave consumers access to their Nike+ accounts directly from their mobile phones (see story).

The sportswear company also launched an application last year targeting active women, giving them access to a mobile personal training program via the iPhone (see story).

Apptera’s Mr. Becker believes that Nike can use its mobile applications to target more consumers and control their spending.

“What we see on our mobile marketing platform is that it is truly unique and exciting to be able to deliver offers based on where consumers will be in the future,” said Mr. Becker. “In this way, marketers are giving consumers a new opportunity to consider offers before they're in the purchase environment.

“We can influence intent in ways that don't rely on pure impulse alone, which can be a moving target,” he said. “The Nike app could provide that opportunity, as people are mapping their route in a run, for example, but I don't believe it's what they want from the app.” 

Nike responded to questions after press. Here is its feedback from Stefan Olander, vice president of Nike Digital Sport, Beaverton, OR:

What is Nike’s goal with this application?
Nike is a company that exists to serve runners and we couldn't be more excited to introduce a true "Runner's App" for iPhone as yet another tool to motivate and inspire runners to reach their goals. With a Nike+ community of over 3 million, we are constantly evolving and seeking new ways to meet their needs - through innovative digital options, as well as through footwear and apparel.

What challenge is the application meant to address for consumers?
The Challenge Me function on the Nike+ GPS App is meant to give runners that extra push to help them meet their personal goals. The App tracks personal run history in order to customize each challenge option and asks if a runner wants to go farther, faster or longer, while also providing post run feedback from Nike athletes and celebrities.

Final Take
Kaitlyn Bonneville, editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer, New York

Related content: Content, Nike, Apptera, Jeff Becker, applications, iPhone, iPod touch, Apple App Store, mobile marketing, mobile

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Comments on "Nike+ GPS shows new route for location-based apps"

  1. Bill Hanifin says:

    September 16, 2010 at 2:43pm

    This is an innovative product but I don't think it was designed to add a marketing layer to in the future - at least I hope not. While I might check my progress on a 5 miles run, I doubt I'd be swayed by an offer from nearby retailer while I was in full sweat!

    PS: Wish Nike would introduce the same for Android phones....
  2. Kirsten McMullen says:

    September 9, 2010 at 11:10am

    The real story is how Nike and Apple let down their users when OS 4 broke the Nike+ functionality built into iPhones. Customers were left with a worthless app and sensor. This app is an alternate solution, but Nike is charging users who already paid for a Nike+ app that is non-functional. Very frustrating.

    You can imagine the backlash sponsors of such an app would receive. In this sense Nike is lucky that it wasn't already placing ads in their app.
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