Image Source: Medium

Foursquare, traditionally a location-based discovery and social media app, is taking a shot at marketing analytics. The company has just released a new marketing tool called Attribution Powered by Foursquare. Essentially, Attribution uses data from non-incentivized users of Foursquare and Swarm to track how effective marketing campaigns are in getting customers to go to a company’s store.

Currently, Foursquare generates revenue from Promoted Updates, where companies or stores can message Foursquare users in the area about deals and promotions. However, Foursquare is looking to tap into a different revenue stream, marketing analytics. Attribution gets its insights from studying incremental lift, which measures an ad’s performance by comparing how influential ads were to people who did and didn’t see them.

The Numbers

Unlike other similar marketing analytic tools, Foursquare has a competitive advantage: the company has created a 1.3 million database of users whose location services are always enabled. The tech giant also can take advantage of the 65 million venues it lists in 100 countries. Foursquare compares foot traffic between users who have and haven’t seen an ad, and calculate the “lift” in store visits from a marketing campaign.

With a core audience of ages 18 to 55, and an equal gender representation, this data is highly valuable to many companies. And Foursquare is taking advantage of that. These data insights start at 50 cents per 1000 attributions and have potential to be a strong revenue source for Foursquare. This is great news after a recent wave of doubt has been cast on whether Foursquare’s consumer-facing user growth is increasing fast enough.

Tackling the Super Bowl

Foursquare jumped at the chance to prove Attribution’s value, looking at the effectiveness of the 2016 Super Bowl ads. While Attribution assumed its panel of users watched the ads and therefore did not use the same methodology as with digital ads, the analysis is still compelling.

  • Red Lobster enjoyed a 12% incremental lift in store traffic the week after Beyonce namedropped the restaurant in her new song Formation.
  • Taco Bell saw a 10% lift in store visits
  • Hyundai increased store traffic by 5% following four successful Super Bowl spots, including one with comedian Kevin Hart.

The numbers are looking good for Foursquare, and it will be interesting to see how Attribution’s new role in the marketing game will play out.

Stephanie Yang, MSD Intern