What Marketers Need to Know About the New Foursquare Search

by Nick Cicero on Oct 18, 2012

Foursquare announced a redesign of their homepage this week with the emphasis on discovery by opening up Foursquare Explore for everyone to discover popular places to go, member or not.

After shifting to more of a decision-based engine earlier this year, they are furthering their position as a leader for local social exploration taking on the likes of Yelp and others.

With more than 25 million users worldwide, Foursquare has established a database of millions of unique insights about local things to do and see. By slowly introducing new product features like tips, to-do’s, lists, and most recently likes and local updates with Foursquare Explore, they have built themselves quite the robust engine to serve up point-based recommendations to anyone now.

Foursquare’s Self-realization

The interesting thing is that this update is some thing built on users providing information to the network themselves. Triggers like “cheap food” or “open late” attached to someone’s check-in or tip can influence the weighting of results for anyone searching, providing a much deeper and personalized experience down to the time of day.

As announced on the Foursquare blog

Foursquare doesn’t just hand you a one-size-fits-all list of suggestions. Even if you’ve never checked in, Explore still can make great recommendations based on a number of signals, like what’s popular in the neighborhood, new places, places that are trending at the moment, where experts go, and what’s popular on that day of the week. If you search for a bar, we don’t just tell you about great bars, but rather the best places you should go tonight.

The bottom line for marketers

This new Foursquare update calls to attention two main areas for marketers to consider.

1. Businesses just need to get on the Foursquare platform and boost positive conversations to take advantage of their new Explore algorithm. 

Look to your customers for insight, and know your business. Ask yourself, “when are the busiest times of day for my business? Where else in the area can someone satisfy the need I provide at morning/noon/night?”

If you’re unique to a particular region, embrace that. Encourage customers to get active on Foursquare when they visit your place of business by checking in and leaving tips. Use check-in specials or even traditional advertising signage to alert people of your presence and provide that synergy between marketing messages.

2. The introduction of Foursquare Explore for everyone signals that they are closer to releasing different forms of paid advertising on the site.

By becoming a decision engine for activity and integrating a prominent search feature, they are increasing the overall audience for page views, which in turn, can be used as ad space for local businesses. Think of it as the Yellow Pages on steroids, they’re now able to offer targeted results-based advertising products for local businesses.

What types of success have you seen from using Foursquare for your businesses? Have you ever offered a check-in special? Let us know in the comments.

Social Fresh Tips Newsletter

Our top social marketing tips, tricks, and tactics dropped in your inbox every week!

What Brands Must Do to Engage Customers in the Mobile Paradigm

Ebook

The mobile paradigm is changing marketing along with new consumer behavior and expectations. This white paper discusses the location data challenge and its impact on the social channels through which consumers want to engage with brands.

Sign up now to get this free training product
Post Author

Nick Cicero is the Editor at Social Fresh and a Digital Marketing Consultant. Formerly of Expion and Livefyre, Nick has experience building social campaigns for Sony PlayStation, Winn-Dixie, Eminem, Teen Vogue and more. He’s a fan of playing...

  • http://twitter.com/CoffyGroup Coffy Group

    Foursquare opened a great opportunity for local business owners and customers alike with this new development. With this approach, they are standing as a direct rival of Yelp, which brings that much more importance for a marketer to optimize for local SEO and mobile-friendly websites.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    “Use check-in specials or even traditional advertising signage” – this is one major advantage FourSquare offers over other mobile GPS locators such as Yelp and Google+ local (formerly Google Places). Check in specials and other incentives can help to drive immediate traffic to a business. Potential customers want a reason to visit your business, so having an on-demand promotional offer might just be the reason they needed.

  • http://www.sproutgeek.com/ Wayne Liew

    I find myself checking in using more frequently these days, especially if I am at a new place where I need to know what are the interesting things to do or food items that I should try.

    Business owners should start encouraging users to not only check in without any comments at their locations on Foursquare, but also to leave a comment or even better, a recommendation or tip.