Oct 15 3 Ways Foursquare is Impacting Social, Local, Mobile Search
Foursquare has been on a bit of a roller coaster ride over the past year-or-so trying to stay relevant in Social, Local, Mobile search. However, it appears that things are finally looking up for the platform that gamefied social check-ins. The platform is on a mission to improve the experience for users and to show the value that Foursquare brings to businesses. The three ways Foursquare is trying to accomplish this is through an improved experience and search capabilities, self-service ads and user generated comments.
Improved User Experience & Search Capabilities
User experience is especially important to a mobile-first platform like Foursquare. One notable upgrade is the pinned Search bar that is now at the top of every page. When you click on the Search bar, a menu of topics appear to help you identify your options in your surrounding area. A few of those topics include: food, shopping, sights, and trending places. Once you have selected a topic, you can filter that topic for more specific and tailored results. Filter options include: best match or distance, places offering specials, places open now, and price. These options carry over to an interactive map that show nearby friends and recommendations for trending places. The personalized map and enhanced search capabilities are helping to increase the visibility that businesses are having on Foursquare.
Foursquare introduced self-service ads as another way for businesses to reach potential customers. These ads are in the form of Promoted Updates and Promoted Specials under the ‘Explore’ tab. Think of these ads as being the Facebook Promoted Posts of Foursquare. The Explore algorithm ensures that these Promoted Updates and Specials are reaching the people that are likely to visit your business. A few things that the algorithm takes into consideration are: a user’s current location, places that their friends have visited and liked, and similar places they have visited. A key selling point for these Promoted Updates and Specials is that businesses only pay on a cost-per-action basis. This means that Foursquare only charges on ads when a user actually checks-in to the business after they have seen the ad. This cost-per-action model is much more focused on conversion than the cost-per-impression (anytime someone clicks on the ad) model that Facebook and Twitter use. Ease-of-use and cost effectiveness make Foursquare ads a great tool for businesses both large and small.
User Generated Comments, Reviews & Ratings
User generated comments can help make or break businesses whose customers use social/mobile search. Recently, Yelp received some backlash when Harvard Business School reported that 20% of Yelp reviews are fake. The reason why this is so important is because certain platforms, like Yelp, prioritize search results based on reviews and ratings. Foursquare takes a different approach to level the playing field for businesses who don’t have as many reviews or have some negative reviews in the mix. Foursquare uses a scale rating system which utilizes checks-in to give the business a score on a scale of one to 10. Businesses with a higher score usually appear higher in search results.
Since revamping their platform, Foursquare has seen an increase in ‘tips’. Tips are the Foursquare version of reviews that are meant to be quick, easy-to-read tidbits about the business. Foursquare now has over 33 million user generated tips and around 1 million new tips each month. These tips are currently outpacing the number of new Yelp reviews per month. It will be interesting to see if Foursquare can sustain that rate of growth throughout the next year.
Foursquare is facing a lot of competition in Yelp, Google+, and Facebook Nearby. We know in the world of social/local/mobile search that all of these platforms will need to constantly evolve their search capabilities, how they use paid media to reach consumers, and how users interact with their site to stay relevant.
What tools is your business using to reach customers on a local level?