January 29th, 2011

Foursquare Growth and the Future of Location Sharing

Last year was one of significant growth for Foursquare: 3400% growth in 2010, according to the site.  Foursquare has released an infographic with some interesting facts.  Thinking about Foursquare from a branding and business-building perspective, these are a few of my favorite data points shared by Foursquare:

Knowing when a consumer is more or less likely to check-in and share their location with friends and followers can give a business the opportunity to offer special deals during slower time periods to try to drive traffic.

This graphic tells me when to stay home!

Clever.  Consumers love clever.  Brands should think about the unique qualities of their brands and leverage the data to make the consumer smile in appreciation.  Then, check-in because they want to be part of the inner circle offered by the brand.

The year 2010 proved that location sharing was relevant to the social consumer.  Foursquare has by far dominated that scene.  Some of the questions in 2011 will be:

  • Can Foursquare maintain its dominance or will Facebook’s massive user base switch to using Facebook Places?  There is something appealing about the game aspect of Foursquare that encourages participation more than Facebook Places; but being able to tag friends with you gives Facebook an edge.
  • Will brands figure out how to really use location sharing in ways that benefit consumers and get them talking?  Big brands like Starbucks have used it and small yet savvy independents have used it.  But what about those mid-size challenger brands that are trying to stand out?
  • Will we see the apps for location sharing get more robust?  Some allow photos, some don’t; some allow tagging friends, others don’t.  What about multiple photo uploads to one check-in?  Or user rankings or reviews for each location?  How about options to leave feedback for the business versus posting it publicly to the check-in?  Will we see video sharing options built in?  Might we see some personal analytics tools for “defining” the user type?  How about varied privacy settings a la Facebook so that family can see all posts, certain friends can see limited posts, others can see more, etc.?

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