Foursquare analytics. Manufacturing serendipity.

March 27, 2011

Do social networks bring value to businesses? Well in my opinion they do and Foursquare is a great example of how it’s done.

Last week whilst I was at the Guardian Changing Media Summit, CEO Denis Crowley, the founder of Foursquare revealed how Foursquare are investing a lot of effort to make their data available to merchants. This boost in analytical power that Foursquare is currently making freely available to businesses creates an invaluable insight into consumer behaviour. With nearly 8million members and billions of check-ins a day (and with these numbers rising rapidly), Foursquare data will soon be priceless.

Dennis talked about many of the new features and opportunities that would be available, including a ‘recommendations engine’ for social crowdsourced ideas, ‘add to my Foursquare’ button to create a to-do list and a whole new world of ‘specials’. Launched less than 2 weeks ago “Foursquare 3.0” gives business owners an analytics platform which allows you to run multiple ‘specials’ campaigns simultaneously and aggregate stats before and after a special goes live to see how successful it was.

Although Foursquare is no stranger to offering these ‘specials’, Foursquare 3.0 will not only offer a much wider variety, but they will be more robust. From ‘Flash Specials’, to ‘Friends Specials’ and the ‘Loyalty Special’. Ultimately, the consumers that check-in to establishments and access specials will become recognised instantly by the digital system allowing businesses to keep track of their customers, their frequency of attendance and the most popular time of day.

Foursquare analytics is likely to forge the future of location based services and the possibilities for marketing are endless. I think what’s great about location-based technology, such as Foursquare is that it will make local search an incredibly rich and enjoyable tool to use on the mobile device – and the great thing is that all local firms especially small ones previously excluded from digital marketing will be able to use these service to give consumers added value and special promotions.

Foursquare is also planning to support near field communications (NFC) technology in future iterations of its mobile app. Dennis Crowley says the technology could enable users to check-in to places by “bumping” their phones at locations such as restaurants and cafes. NFC is expected to drive the evolution of mobile payments and has already been integrated into some smartphones, including Google’s Nexus S. Speculation is also mounting that Apple will incorporate a NFC chip into the iPhone 5.

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