Foursquare’s First Brand Campaign Takes a Foodie Approach

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Foursquare is rolling out its first ever multimillion-dollar campaign to promote and educate the users about its new brand positioning as a mobile discovery tool and steer away from being just a “check-in” tool.

For the next six weeks, New Yorkers and Chicagoans will see print ads on their commutes, which will include trains, bus shelters and kiosks. The ads will also appear on Chicago’s bike-share locations. Additionally, the campaign will appear in social media streams including Facebook and Twitter. The mobile ads will be app-install promos via those social channels’ mobile apps. Video pre-roll across various online publishers will also be used to promote Foursquare and the online campaigns will hit other U.S. markets in addition to New York and Chicago.

According to Jeff Glueck, chief operation officer of the New York-based company, “The ads really go after the idea that we all have different tastes and different friends.” The local and travel guides could tailor their services to be much more personalized, and Foursquare is trying to achieve just that. It is interesting to note that personalization was listed as one of the trends in the KPCB report we discussed earlier and looks like Foursquare is really pushing personalized recommendations as their competitive advantage.

Moving away from being known for “check-ins”, Foursquare wants to enter the ratings, reviews, and recommendations market and compete against Yelp and Urbanspoon. The five-year-old app’s mission is to attract a larger audience by being something everyone can utilize. Now, you don’t have to share your location, or check in to enjoy it but get valuable information and recommendations on places you could really love.

Foursquare Data Suggests Unbundling Was A Success

Another trend that we spoke about in class was “unbundling” and Foursquare’s effort to launch Swarm is a great example of this trend. Swarm offers check-ins and during August, Foursquare saw a 54 percent lift in users compared to same time previous year. A third of users are using just Foursquare, one-third are only using Swarm, and a third are using both apps within 30 days. This data highlights that unbundling is a real trend and is working for Foursquare to their advantage.

Additionally, the tips-per-active-user is up 116 percent per week versus the old Foursquare, according to Glueck. The central focus of Foursquare is rating places, leaving tips and advice not just checking-in.

Question For The Class

Foursquare is allocating millions of dollars towards its new campaign to re-educate the users of its new positioning as a rating app. Since we all know that once a consumer learns something one way, it is difficult to change their behavior. How successful do you think this campaign will be?

Additionally, the unbundling of Foursquare seems to be a good move for them. Do you think other social media apps could follow the same advice and offer unbundling too? Can you think of some other apps that can add unbundling to their strategy, and if yes, which ones?


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