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Foursquare pivots to measurement

News, 28 June 2016

NEW YORK: Foursquare is planning to tap the data provided by its mobile apps and location-based service as it moves into the measurement space, and becomes something like the "Nielsen of the real world".

Jeff Glueck, the CEO of Foursquare, which boasts 50m users across its namesake and Swarm apps, discussed this topic at TechCrunch's Disrupt NY 2016 conference.

"We have this chance to not only build great consumer products, but also to kind of be the Nielsen of the real world. And we're building really sophisticated analytics products based on that," he said. (For more read Warc's exclusive report: Foursqure pivots to become "the Nielsen of the real world".) 

Foursquare's first-party information sources include 8m "check-ins" a day at various locations, a crowdsourced database of 105m places, and figures drawn from 100,000 developers using its technology.

Moreover, its "Place Insights" tool now enables the organisation to effectively identify where users are, even when they do not "check in" to its app.

"We have this foot traffic panel of millions and millions of people, and growing around the world," Glueck told the TechCrunch delegates.

"While we protect everyone's privacy at the aggregate level, we're able to see cultural trends and we're able to see how traffic changes."

Through monetising such data, Foursquare can carve out a sustainable route to generating revenue without needing to match the huge audiences possessed by properties like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

"A lot of what we're aiming to do is find those passionate explorers who love mapping the world and discovering new places, or playing the Swarm game and becoming mayor," Glueck said.

This proposition leaves room for optimism even though Foursquare's most recent funding round, which raised $45m in January 2016, essentially halved its official value from the enterprise's last money-raising effort in 2013.

"I think the business previously was valued on this idea that the Foursquare app would grow up and be a Facebook, a Twitter, a Snapchat. And I think what we started realising a couple of years ago is that wasn't the destiny for the apps," Dennis Crowley, Foursquare's Co-Founder/Executive Chairman, said.

"The destiny was to make these things that we have tens of millions of people love. But we actually don't need a hundred million, three hundred million people to be using them every day in order to make a profitable business."

Data sourced from Warc