Foursquare is a proximity-based social networking site. It uses local search in a discovery service mobile app which generates a personalized local search experience. The app takes into account the places a user goes, the things they have told the app that they like, and the other users whose advice they trust. Foursquare aims to provide tailored recommendations of the best places to visit around the user’s current location.
In the beginning, it allowed users to share their location with friends by “checking in” to their particular location. Users could collect badges, compete for points and become a mayor of a location they frequented. Foursquare relaunched last summer as two separate apps – Foursquare and Swarm. Swarm is where you can still “check in” and locate your friends and Foursquare has morphed into a customizable local search app.
On August 7, 2014, Foursquare 8.0 was launched for iOS and Android devices. The new app has changed the emphasis of the app from personal check-ins to being primarily a local search and discovery tool, where users can follow others to receive local recommendations from them.
According to The Foursquare Blog, “The new Foursquare frees you from having to read long, random reviews, wondering if those people share your tastes. With Foursquare, find things based on your tastes, the places you like, and the friends and experts you trust most. We’re now five years in to Foursquare’s history, and thanks to you and our amazing community – who have contributed 6 billion check-ins, 55 million tips, 65 million places, hundreds of millions of photos, and billions of social connections – this vision is something that we can build. We’re so proud to release it to the world. Download it now and discover places you’ll love.”
The new Foursquare learns what you like and leads you to places you’ll love. Foursquare is all about searching and discovering great places, wherever you are in the world.
Enter keywords of your favorite things and Foursquare will tailor search results to your individual tastes,past ratings, and picks from friends and experts you trust.
Your tastes can be very specific like “whiskey” or “salted caramel.” Or more general like “outdoor seating” or “used bookstores.
Leave tips to share your best discoveries. Pay it forward and earn expertise.
Search for restaurants, coffee, nightlife, shops and more. See what’s nearby or plan ahead.
When you arrive at a place, see insider tips: what’s good to order or something not to miss.
Follow people and influencers whose tastes you trust, and their tips show first.
Connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts and see spots your friends have liked nearby.
Local search and recommendations:
- Search for restaurants, nightlife spots, shops and other places of interest in their surrounding area.
- Search other areas by entering the name of a remote location.
- Personalized recommendations based on the time of day, breakfast in the morning, dinner in the evening etc. Recommendations are based on a user’s check-in history, their “Tastes” and their venue ratings.
- The app catalogs the places they like to go and uses this to personalize their experience.
Tips and expertise:
- Foursquare encourages the writing of “Tips” – short messages about a location – the good and the bad.
- Tips are limited to 200 characters in length, but can include a URL and a photo.
- Users have the ability to ‘Like’ tips left by other users, which makes those tips more prominent.
- Users can save tips by other users ensuring that the user is reminded when nearby, and can “follow” other users or brands to increase the prominence of that user’s tips when they are navigating Foursquare.
- A user can also earn “expertise” in a particular location or category. Expertise is awarded based on the number and quality of tips a user writes
Foursquare has a defined list of tastes in particular food items. New users are presented with a list of words and phrases describing pre-set tastes. Users can then select the ones that appeal to them. These can be changed at any time. This enables Foursquare to recommend nearby places to the user that match their preferences.
Tastes let you personalize your search experience.
Foursquare 8.0 uses its own proprietary technology, Pilgrim, to detect a user’s location. By using this technology, Foursquare can know a user’s location without them needing to “check in.” The app features a ‘Here’ tab that lets the user see Tips about their current location. If customers want to ‘Check-in,’ the app takes them to Swarm to do so before returning them to Foursquare. (If they do not have the app installed, tapping the button opens a page where they can download it.) Foursquare 8.0 also uses this technology to track a user’s location in the background. The app will send the user push notifications of things that they might find interesting around their current location.
Foursquare on wearable phone watch.
Foursquare 8.0 lets users rate venues by answering a series of questions. These questions are designed to help Foursquare understand how people feel about a place, including such questions as whether or not a user likes it, how trendy it is, its cleanliness, and how noisy it is.
Users can add venues to a personal “to do” list, and to curated lists with any criteria.
Foursquare for business:
Foursquare for Business is a suite of tools to manage business listings on the service. Businesses can ‘Claim’ their listing which gives them access to free tools that lets them update their business information (address, phone number etc.), add photos and tips, create ‘Specials’ and see visitor statistics. Claiming a venue can be done for free via mail which takes several weeks to process, or instantly with a credit card for a fee. In January 2013, Foursquare released ‘Foursquare for Business,’ a mobile app that lets businesses manage their listing on Foursquare from their iOS device.
“Specials” are an incentive for Foursquare users to go “check-in” at a new spot or revisit their favorite hangout. There are over 750,000 different businesses that offer “Specials” that include discounts and freebies when users check-in. Foursquare specials are intended for businesses to use to persuade new customers and regular customers to visit their venue. Some businesses now display a Foursquare sign on their door or window letting users know that there is a “Special” at that particular venue. “Specials” can include anything from a free beer for the first check-in to 10% off the bill at a restaurant. Some Foursquare users only use Foursquare for the “Specials.”
Foursquare Brands allows companies to create pages of tips and allows users to “follow” the company and receive special, expert tips from them when they check-in at certain locations. Some of the companies allow users to unlock special badges when they have achieved a certain number of check-ins. On most companies’ pages, their Facebook, Twitter and website links are displayed as well as tips and lists generated by the company. On July 25, 2012, Foursquare revealed “Promoted Updates,” an app update which will create a new experience for both consumers and merchants as well as create a new revenue generation stream for the company. The new program will allow companies to issue messages to Foursquare users about deals or available products. In June 2013, the company introduced Time Machine, which provides a visual way to review one’s historical check-ins on the service.
The service was created in late 2008 and launched in 2009 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. Crowley had previously founded the similar project Dodgeball as his graduate thesis project in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. Google bought Dodgeball in 2005 and shut it down in 2009, replacing it with Google Latitude. Foursquare was the second iteration of that same idea, that people can use mobile devices to interact with their environment. Foursquare was Dodgeball reimagined to take advantage of the new smartphones, like the iPhone, which had built in GPS to better detect a user’s location.
Until late July 2014, Foursquare featured a social networking layer that enabled a user to share their location with friends, via the “check in” – a user would manually tell the application when they were at a particular location using a mobile website, text messaging, or a device-specific application by selecting from a list of venues the application locates nearby. In May 2014, the company launched Swarm, a companion app to Foursquare, which reimagined the social networking and location sharing aspects of the service as a separate application. On August 7, 2014 the company launched Foursquare 8.0, a completely new version of the service which removed the check in and location sharing entirely, to focus entirely on local search.
Foursquare started out in 2009 with limited availability in 100 worldwide metro areas. In January 2010, Foursquare changed their location model to allow check-ins from any location worldwide. On February 21, 2011 Foursquare reached 7 million users IDs.
The marketing potential of Foursquare is tremendous, as businesses can target anyone in their direct specified location in a snap. Consumers meanwhile can uncover hidden gems and scope out sweet deals at brand new locations, or simply return to their favorite spots and build up loyalty points. Allowing for increased customer engagement, business can much better interact with customers, happy or unhappy, through location-based services. A poor review can be met with a response from the employer, and a chance to set things right for next time right away.
Larry Alton of the Huffington Post lists 10 ways location based marketing will improve this upcoming year, predicting an increasingly interactive web of location-based interaction. “It’s indicative of what exactly location based services like Foursquare can do for both businesses and the everyday consumer, whether you’re looking for that restaurant after work or a bowling alley on Sunday with a great all-you-can play deal (and whether or not that includes the shoe rental).”
The Foursquare/Swarm community has more than 55 million users in all working-class age groups worldwide, and approximately 1.9 million businesses connections.
With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other apps offering a check-in feature, and then-emerging apps like Pinterest, Instagram and newer ones like Snapchat vying for our attention, it is hard for smaller applications to compete.
Foursquare offers business managers the option to easily view and track data and analytics from their listings. As a manager, you can see powerful information on who’s visiting your location and how strong their relationship is with your business.
The metrics you can view are:
- Unique customers at your location
- First-time customers at your location
- People who Liked your location, chain or updates
A new study states “in the past year (2014), Foursquare enjoyed the largest increase in adoption in the social media space — a whopping 42%, beating out Pinterest (27%) and Instagram (12%). Those adoptees include 254 Fortune 500 companies.” Unfortunately though, Foursquare ranked 457th in the overall app category, and 51st in the social networking category as of March 2014.
Foursquare captures information about your location to help you make decisions on places you’d like to try.
- “Personalized local search” analyzes your past check-ins and history and continues to build recommendations for the user.
A Foursquare user is allowed to link their profile to Facebook and/or Twitter. Users will be able to share their likes, saves, tips and lists to their timeline in Facebook/Twitter. Also, the user can import their contact lists from other mainstream OSN sites. This feature also provides an opportunity to know more about the user.
Twitter and Foursquare are planning to partner together in 2015 to power location in tweets.
Foursquare for Business is currently available for iOS. Foursquare 8.0 is currently available for Android, iOS & Windows Phone devices.
Since its launch, the app’s popularity has been dwindling. As of mid-2014, the company ranked #1,221 overall among iOS apps in the U.S. In 2015 with social media giants like Twitter and Facebook continuing to dominate, Foursquare, like other location based services, doesn’t appear to have a defined landing spot in the social media landscape. Foursquare already boasts more than 55 million users, but that number pales in comparison to the following Facebook and Twitter have built up. It’s a minor league player among the hall of famers.
HOW TO UNLOCK YOUR WORLD WITH FOURSQUARE? (2010)
FOURSQUARE MARKETING FOR BUSINESSES (2010)