What Marketers Need to Know About the New Foursquare Search


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.


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