The State of Foursquare in 2010

Posted filed under Media Relations, Mobile.

Thanks to Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, Loopt and Yelp we can easily share our location with friends. Although many people gripe about how “pointless” it is to broadcast one’s location, I don’t anticipate the location craze ending any time soon. From Foursquare’s recent announcement about raising $20 million and now being valued at $95 million, it’s clear the company is doing something right.

I downloaded an e-book today from Awareness, Inc. about the state of Foursquare in 2010. If you’re one of those who still shakes their head every time a Foursquare check in comes across your Twitter stream, scope out these stats from the report:

  • In the last year, the popularity of Foursquare has grown and the network currently boasts close to 1.6 million users who have collectively made 22 million check-ins (http://mashable.com/2010/03/29/Foursquare-growth-numbers/).
  • Foursquare has 4,153,790 venues, and that is growing at approximately 38k p/day. Once obvious duplicates are removed, there are about 3.85 million venues (as of June 2010).
  • There are currently 10,000 mayors at 13,167 Starbucks locations in Foursquare.
  • San Francisco International Airport boasts the most unique check ins (21417).

Personal feelings aside, as PR professionals, we owe it to our clients to understand how geolocation services can be used as a marketing tool. It’s no longer revolutionary to offer a freebie to the Foursquare mayor of a store, but it’s still an untapped opportunity in many cities and states (Michigan included).

Don’t let your clients assume that marketing via Foursquare isn’t worthwhile for them because they aren’t a huge brand like Starbucks or Ann Taylor. Small retail shops and mom and pop restaurants have plenty of opportunities to do some creative marketing through geolocation services.

This may seem self-righteous, but consumers now expect companies to acknowledge and reward them for their continued loyalty. If your B2C client wants to find a way to connect with and know more about its customers, marketing through a service like Foursquare is worth exploring.

What are your thoughts on geolocation tools? Love ‘em or hate ‘em? Have you helped clients market their companies or products through these services?

Photo credit

This wonderful post was written by

Andrea Bogos Trapani is a partner at Identity, responsible for the growth and management of the firm’s media relations and marketing practice area. Andrea specializes in public relations, media relations and marketing strategies.

10 comments
Nikki Stephan
Nikki Stephan

Hi Sven - Totally understand why you've been a skeptic, and I'm glad you can see the benefit from a marketer's perspective. For the user, many do find Foursquare beneficial to know where friends are hanging out and to learn about new places in their area that they have yet to visit. Of course, this varies from person to person, as you clearly stated this isn't alluring to you. I don't fall in this camp, but some love the game aspect of Foursquare, so they strive to collect as many badges as possible and gain mayorships. I think this is a fun feature that Foursquare offers, but I don't use it simply for this reason. Another way people gain value from Foursquare is when companies offer discounts/promotions to their customers for becoming a mayor or for checking in X number of times. People love discounts, freebies and rewards for loyalty. Companies can also arrange for a message to appear when someone checks in at a nearby establishment saying something like "You just checked in at Starbucks, and The Sandwich Shop is one block away. Stop by and show this message for 1/2 off your order." Hope those examples help show you why users find Foursquare valuable!

Nikki Stephan
Nikki Stephan

Hi Sven - Totally understand why you've been a skeptic, and I'm glad you can see the benefit from a marketer's perspective. For the user, many do find Foursquare beneficial to know where friends are hanging out and to learn about new places in their area that they have yet to visit. Of course, this varies from person to person, as you clearly stated this isn't alluring to you. I don't fall in this camp, but some love the game aspect of Foursquare, so they strive to collect as many badges as possible and gain mayorships. I think this is a fun feature that Foursquare offers, but I don't use it simply for this reason. Another way people gain value from Foursquare is when companies offer discounts/promotions to their customers for becoming a mayor or for checking in X number of times. People love discounts, freebies and rewards for loyalty. Companies can also arrange for a message to appear when someone checks in at a nearby establishment saying something like "You just checked in at Starbucks, and The Sandwich Shop is one block away. Stop by and show this message for 1/2 off your order." Hope those examples help show you why users find Foursquare valuable!

Sven Gustafson
Sven Gustafson

I'm not a Foursquare user, I fall squarely among those who wince when a check-in invades my Twitter stream and have made my feelings about this service publicly known. After reading posts like this one, I fully understand and can appreciate the marketing value of geolocation SM for businesses. But what's the value for the individual, non-business user? Are they simply agreeing to be pawns in a giant marketing scheme? Simply checking in to see which of my friends and followers have visited the neighborhood Jiffy Lube, Starbucks or my favorite camping site Up North holds no allure to this skeptic.

Sven Gustafson
Sven Gustafson

I'm not a Foursquare user, I fall squarely among those who wince when a check-in invades my Twitter stream and have made my feelings about this service publicly known. After reading posts like this one, I fully understand and can appreciate the marketing value of geolocation SM for businesses. But what's the value for the individual, non-business user? Are they simply agreeing to be pawns in a giant marketing scheme? Simply checking in to see which of my friends and followers have visited the neighborhood Jiffy Lube, Starbucks or my favorite camping site Up North holds no allure to this skeptic.

Nikki Stephan
Nikki Stephan

Hi Chip - Thanks for the feedback. You make a good point about the potential for abuse with geolocation tools...and any really any type of social network if the user isn't careful. Companies using these tools for marketing purposes definitely need to be mindful of making sure they aren't coming off as spammy. Targeting and spamming are two very different things. Appreciate your thoughts!

Nikki Stephan
Nikki Stephan

Hi Chip - Thanks for the feedback. You make a good point about the potential for abuse with geolocation tools...and any really any type of social network if the user isn't careful. Companies using these tools for marketing purposes definitely need to be mindful of making sure they aren't coming off as spammy. Targeting and spamming are two very different things. Appreciate your thoughts!

Chip Humitz
Chip Humitz

Consumers voluntarily telling you where they are?...Yeah, that has some serious marketing implications. Add to that the current upgrading of the GPS system (http://bit.ly/bXUeV6)that will allow even more precise geolocation, and the potential for consumer-centric marketing gets mind-boggling. Of course, like all advances in marketing, the potential for abuse is also mind-boggling. Smart marketers will figure out ways to make this new power useful to consumers and not just an annoyance.

Chip Humitz
Chip Humitz

Consumers voluntarily telling you where they are?...Yeah, that has some serious marketing implications. Add to that the current upgrading of the GPS system (http://bit.ly/bXUeV6)that will allow even more precise geolocation, and the potential for consumer-centric marketing gets mind-boggling. Of course, like all advances in marketing, the potential for abuse is also mind-boggling. Smart marketers will figure out ways to make this new power useful to consumers and not just an annoyance.

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