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The Facebooking of Foursquare
By: Elaine Reed
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Now that the hubbub of the Facebook IPO has mostly died down, Foursquare has rolled out a new version to iOS users, with the Android and Blackberry versions soon to follow. Since Foursquare has been hinting about this new version since January, users were expecting big changes.

Big changes did come, though they were mostly in the look and feel department. Foursquare did add some cool functionality — better maps with friends’ current locations, as well as recently visited venues plotted and a new “explore” feature that recommends places based on day, time, weather, and check-ins and recommendations from friends.

The features that really stood out to me are the ones that originally appeared on Facebook:
  • Users can “like” their friends’ check-ins.
  • Users can comment on their friends’ check-ins.
  • Pictures are larger — a feature originally rolled out in the Facebook Timeline update
Foursquare may have beaten Facebook Places, but the new changes indicate that despite its falling stock prices, Facebook still sets the bar for social media. As a marketer, does that mean you should focus all — or at least most — of your attention on Facebook?

No. If we’ve learned anything from marketing in the digital age, it is that campaigns are most successful when they are deployed where the customers are. For restaurateurs and owners of event spaces, Foursquare is clearly the place to be. Giving users the ability to comment on each other’s check-ins provides more opportunities for endorsements.

While their current enhancements are more user focused, Foursquare also announced coming improvements for businesses that want to advertise in the app. They’ll be able to pick up prime locations and offer more deals.

One big question remains: now that Foursquare is actively incorporating the most popular features from Facebook, will they start to mimic functionality from other juggernauts like Groupon? What do you think Foursquare should add to future updates?

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About the Author
Elaine Reed is a marketing professional with heavy emphasis on e-commerce and Internet marketing. She blogs regularly on her website and tweets often.
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