Foursquare, a data machine

Foursquare, originally a mobile check in app for getting brand discounts and perks for consumers, was founded back in 2009. Seven years later, the app has decoupled into two apps (Swarm and foursquare) and is still allowing similar functionality, but for brands, this app is a whole new treasure chest of opportunity. It is a data machine.

Why should your brand care? Four reasons.
All the data
As stated in Wired – [Foursquare offers] massive amounts of location data that other companies collect. Lots of apps can access your GPS coordinates, but matching those coordinates to an actual place—such as a restaurant, a gym or a home—is more difficult, [and Foursquare helps with this]. Imagine, knowing where your consumer frequents on a daily basis. When they go to the gym versus when they run errands and where. What types of food and designers they prefer. It’s a goldmine of data for brands to uncover and relate to their own consumer and brand goals.
The accuracy
Not sure how accurate an app like this could be? Well according to Business Insider and Foursquare, it predicted the drop in sales of Chipotle in advance of its actual drop.

On April 12, Jeff Glueck, the CEO of Foursquare, published a post on Medium predicting that Chipotle’s first-quarter sales would be down nearly 30%. That was based on foot-traffic stats built from explicit check-ins and implicit visits from Foursquare and Swarm app users who enable background location.

Some call it alternative data. It’s not like the norm we’re used to in marketing statistics and data collection, in the past, but with our smart phones in our pockets, our smart watches on our wrists, and soon our smart earbuds in our ears, the data companies will have on where we are and what we’re doing will be unfathomable. Marketers rejoice.

Note – Currently this data is more accurate especially in cities versus suburbs/rural areas where it may have less usage.

You know what your target consumers are actually doing (before/during/after).

It’s based on their interests and what matters to them. You aren’t checking into something unless you have a purpose or interest behind it.

According to Fast Company – The company’s 35 million users have helped created a database of more than 50 million points of interest, from bars to restaurants to ice cream shops. While many companies have powerful location databases—Yelp, Yext, the Yellow Pages—Foursquare’s database is unique in that it’s inherently social: It was built on the 4 billion check-ins that users uploaded via the app.

It’s one thing to write a review, or state what you think on Facebook, it’s another thing to actually go somewhere and spend time there on a regular basis. Your habits and where you go, are a part of who you are as a person. Ask yourself, what did you do today? You’re likely to mention where you went, right? There you go. Foursquare has a timeline of where you went and in turn your target consumers. They know the % of consumers who are likely to go a nail salon after the gym or perhaps the grocery store. These trends and accurate points are helpful in knowing when they’ll visit your brand because it’s not just about being near the store/location, but when they actually step foot inside (which Foursquare can tell you).

You can create content and opportunities that really matter to your consumer and target them accordingly

Brands (along with their internal teams and agencies) can also work with Foursquare to determine the right content and approach for your specific audience based off the data collected. For example, your brand could consider targeted offers, or partnering with a retailer to provide a more exclusive opportunity. And with Foursquare’s offering pinpoint your brand can provide targeted content specifically based off of the data, where consumers actually go, utilizing their ecosystem of apps (including publishers/advertisers), audience segments (creating custom audiences based on the data and interests), and lastly working with partners (examples include but are not limited to AT&T, Samsung, and more).

Bonus:

And as a fun little scoop, most recently Foursquare determine who the audience was to visit comic con most and their related habits – as seen here.

Hello  “search and discovery” and “alternative data” – the new Foursquare. The Foursquare that most brands are thirsty after.

This post was originally written for socialnomics.  
Revision: Foursquare currently has 50 million monthly active users, over 100 million venues worldwide, over 10 billion all-time check-ins

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