Tag Archives: foursquare

Apple and Foursquare Talking About Sharing Data

foursquare-rolls-out-first-ads-e2ad2a5185In an effort to improve its local search offerings Apple has approached Foursquare about sharing its data. The talks are still very preliminary. Apple has been approaching several companies that offer data about local businesses and how users are at checking in and providing crowdsourced data.

If Apple is able to improve its database about local businesses, then this will helps its mapping app. The Maps app was released and widely hailed as a blunder because of missing businesses and inaccuracies in the map itself.

For the education marketing company this might actually help improve Foursquare as a social space. A study in Q1 this year found Foursquare to have the weakest data offerings for users. The money Apple would need to give Foursquare for access to the data would help the service regain a foot hold in its losing slugfest with Yelp. An improved service would help those agencies integrate Foursquare with other social networks as well as improve the advertising on the service.

Report: Apple Talking To Foursquare About “Data Sharing”


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Foursquare Updates iOS App

Foursquare added the Explore function to its website a few months ago. It took all of the data from check ins andreviews and then began to serve up suggestions to users based on where friends go and what is highly rated. Today the service has announced a new change to how it offers recommendations to users on iOS devices. The service is now more location aware and will recommend places nearby that the user has not been to in a while or are places highly recommended by friends. This is part of a new trend of location aware apps that will offer only a few recommendations instead of offering a catalog of options nearby.

The social media agency needs to be on top of this. If a user consults Foursquare and is told to go back to a certain pizza place, then they are likely to do that. The social media agency needs to make sure its clients are well served on the service so they are likely to be made as the recommendation. There is not too much that can be done to gin up the rankings, but there are some commons sense approaches. Businesses need to be reminding customers to check in on the service. Businesses should also suggest only one check in service, too many options and the customer may not do any. Foursquare does offer specials and discounts, so the social media agency could run some promotions to encourage users to visit places and check in. that is probably the single best method to take. Maybe offer a deeper discount if people share their check in other social media services like FaceBook or Twitter.

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Yelp Purchases Qype

In Europe the competition between the two largest location based social networks looks like it does here in the US, however it is not Yelp and Foursquare but Yelp and Qype vying for top spot. Today, the Yelp CEO announced that the two will be merging under the Yelp banner. This will help solidify Yelp’s standing in Europe as the go-to social network.

The merger will have implications for the social media agency here in the US. If a European were travelling here in the US then it would have been unlikely any Foursquare interactions would have occurred. The social media agency would have lost out on those customers if they did not have a presence on Yelp. It was also possible the Euopean traveler was not on Yelp and the social media agency would have had a hard time finding her to begin with. Today’s news changes that. Yelp is now the global leader and a presence on the network is essential for the agency and its clients.

The longer-term effect will be a broadening on Yelp interactions. Qype did have an API for third party developers. That technology will now be available to Yelp for further development and implementation. This will help Yelp become a more full functioning service offering better data to the social media agency.

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Foursquare Moves to Local Search

Foursquare originally launched as a check in service which felt like a game. It focused on awarding people their badges and then helping people find friends to compete with them. Monday morning, however, sees a new service from Foursquare. When on a PC and not logged in Foursquare now displays a search box which is aimed to make Foursquare a local search engine and more competitive with Yelp.

Now non-members of the social network will have much more functionality. Foursquare is also taking check-ins and comments and compiling scores for the businesses on the site and offering those scores as a ranking system akin to Google’s Zagat styled score for restaurants. This change may also bring with it another advertising unit on the service, but as of now there are not plans for this.

The social media agency needs to make sure that its clients are represented on the service. Because of the new scoring system, comments and check-ins from customers need to be encouraged. These will increase a business’ score and make its placement more prominent when people use Foursquare’s local search function.

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Foursquare Updates Mobile App Again

Not too long ago Foursquare announced a new app for mobile devices. The app was streamlined and faster and now Foursquare is announcing that it has updated its app again to make it even faster and more streamlined. This app also introduces a couple of other new changes. There are now personalized search categories to make it easier for the user to find what she is most likely looking for. The new app also makes it easier to save places to lists as well as to see only previously visited places as well as places visited by friends. The new app is compatible with iOS 6 and is also optimized to take better advantage of the new iPhone 5.

In a world where Apple Maps has credibility issues for helping the user find businesses, this update will help users find businesses. The social media agency can see this as an opportunity to not only appeal to Foursquare users but also an opportunity to recruit new users into the social service. The updated app does not require any additional effort from the social media agency, but should increase the number of people that return to the service as well as the frequency they use the network. It is a valuable resource for the business as a way to attract customers.

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Foursquare Launches Advertising

Last week, Foursquare began allowing merchants to send local updates. These updates offer deals to their best customers—users who frequently check in or users who have liked the merchant on the service–when those customers were close by. Now Foursquare is launching Promoted Updates, which is an ad that appears on the user’s mobile device.

The Promoted Updates are not sent to best customers but instead sent to Foursquare users that are considered likely to become customers. These are users that have friends who check in to the merchant or users that visit similar vendors in nearby areas. For now only a small number of large vendors—JC Penny, Old Navy, Hilton, etc…—are using the new advertising option.

Even though the service is not yet available to the digital marketing agency and its clients, this is a sign of good things to come. Foursquare’s ability to match similar venues will allow targeting of users that have demonstrated a willingness to visit vendors or similar vendors and also shown a willingness to tell others about using those vendors. This is a good service for bringing in new people and creating valuable returning relationships with them.

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Local Business Directories Are Error Filled

In April Implied Intelligence, a data service provider, conducted a study that measured for accuracy the listings 1,000 independent local businesses across 19 local search providers and directories. The 19 providers included the usual suspects such as Yelp, Bing, Google Maps, and Foursquare. There were also some less well known ones like Superpages, DexKnows and YellowPages. The results were quite surprising.

The same study was conducted in early June and the results were then compared. The most improved service was Bing. Bing ranked fourth in April and now stands at third. YellowPages and Superpages remain the most accurate sites—YellowPages ranked second in April but is now the most accurate site—and Google Maps is the loser of the top four, falling to fourth in the current rankings.

The lesson for the social media agency is not necessarily clear. Foursquare had the most incomplete data set, but that is also because Foursquare depends upon user input, which limits it to certain business types. Foursquare also provides a different sort of interaction with the business than Superpages does. What is important for the social media agency, however, is to continually check up on the listings for accuracy. There are rumors, as yet unsubstantiated so it may just be urban myth, that some businesses will altar the data of a competitor to be false thus driving traffic to its business.

Even if the source of error is not conspiracy, vigilance remains important for when confirming data. This study shows that even though progress is being made by most of the services, there is still error that will remain undiscovered without outside prompting.


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Foursquare As The New Local Leader

Foursquare celebrated April 16th as its unofficial holiday (April is the fourth month and 16 is four squared) by releasing a set of amazing statistics. It has now had more than 2 billion check-ins. There are 20 million users and over 35 million places in its database. Most of those places are businesses.

All of that data makes the Foursquare database amazing in scope. It has millions of data points for behavioral analysis. There are also millions of keywords and all the text in tips add up to make Foursquare one of, if not the, largest local search engines available. Restaurants on Foursquare are particularly in luck as Foursquare beat both Google Places and Yelp to add menus to the database. Foursquare recently updated its web site to include its mobile version of Explore, which will also help users curate the data once it becomes better known. Unlike some of the other local search options, Foursquare has also developed its sociality.

Foursquare is becoming one of the prime outlets for the social media agency when trying to promote a client on local search engines. Of course, Foursquare emphasis should not come at the expense of the other options, but Foursquare needs to be seen as one the premier locations. The size of the user base alone mandates constant brand monitoring of the tips and information for accuracy. The social abilities of Foursquare can also help a brand spread its message and awareness.

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Facebook Buys Gowalla


Gowalla is a location-based sharing service and it used to be similar to, even competed with, Foursquare. Foursquare developed and improved its service, whereas Gowalla seemed content with its 15,000,000 user base and was quickly surpassed by Foursquare. Apparently Gowalla was not quite dead, as Facebook has bought the service and is relocating it to Facebook’s Palo Alto campus.

Gowalla’s unique function had been allowing users to leave virtual goods for other users in certain locations. Checking in would allow these virtual goods to be transferred. Gowalla abandoned that feature and sought a more storytelling like environment. It’s that storytelling focus which makes them a fit for Facebook’s new Timeline feature. Facebook is hoping to better narratize user’s lives and Gowalla must have some technical features to help with that goal. It is possible that Facebook is sticking to their old tricks and purchasing the startup as a way to improve its engineering bench with more talent.

For the digital marketing agency this move will only bring changes in the future. For now Timeline is still on the immediate horizon. This acquisition might improve Timeline but does not seem to offer any changes significant enough to alter plans a firm may have for Timeline. It is very unlikely, though, that this acquisition will not improve Timeline, even if it was merely to increase the talent pool of Facebook’s employees.


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