Where are you right now?
Where are your friends?
Is that Bourbon sour any good?
Where should we go for breakfast?
Foursquare was designed to answer all of these questions.
What is Foursquare?
Created in 2009, Foursquare (according to their website) “is a technology company that uses location intelligence to build meaningful consumer experiences and business solutions.” From a user’s perspective, it does this by allowing us to find the restaurant or activity we are looking for, save our favourite spots and places we intend to visit later and share all of this information with other users to improve their search experience.
“Foursquare helps you find places you’ll love, anywhere in the world”
“Swarm,” Foursquare’s offshoot app developed in 2014 focuses on personal location searches, showing a user where they are in relation to their friends and encouraging meetups or chats if they are in the neighbourhood. Swarm is all about sharing favourite places, tracking what you’ve been up to, and who you’ve been spending time with. Can’t remember what you did last weekend? Swarm remembers. Swarm also includes a game feature which pits you against your friends to become ‘mayor’ of places you have in common.
How does it work?
Users can “check-in” to locations as they go about their day. Using their phone’s GPS, Foursquare will suggest nearby businesses for users to check out as they wander through any city. The app makes suggestions it thinks the user will enjoy based on their previous activity.
Foursquare knows where your friends are, based on where and when they have ‘checked in’ at various places.
How is this useful – For Users?
The information collected by Foursquare is powerful. For users, it provides insight into their own lives. It’s data offers information about cities, neighbourhoods, and services, as well as the habits and preferences of people in the user’s network. Accessing this information as an individual can certainly be informative and helpful in decision-making about where to go for breakfast, but the information is exponentially more powerful when viewed with a location-based search software such as Echosec.
Foursquare users aren’t the only ones who can learn from this data.
Using Echosec, one can geo-fence a neighbourhood to view all Foursquare check-ins within that area for a requested period of time. The combination of Foursquare and Echosec can provide valuable intelligence for a number of different purposes. Echosec aggregates and anonymizes Foursquare check-in data. The Foursquare data that is retrieved with an Echosec search shows not only the physical locations within that search but also their popularity (based on the number of check-ins) according to Foursquare.
Harnessing Foursquare information: The Insider’s Insider.
What is Foursquare used for?
This one is pretty obvious. Foursquare lends the ability to observe trends and patterns in the habits of people. Echosec takes that information and renders it down to a compelling geographic visual. Using these tools together, marketing professionals now have an invaluable understanding of consumers. Combining Echosec & Foursquare yields a depth of awareness showing who these people are and where they spend their time. This situational insight enables marketers to target consumers more effectively.
A slightly less obvious use case.
The value of this product is endless from a marketer’s point of view, but imagine the possibilities for an urban development planner who was tasked with deciding whether a municipal government should change land-use restrictions or bylaws to attract more commercial activity to an upwards trending part of town. The data they find might suggest that the zoning should be amended in that industrial warehouse zone downtown. Maybe a hip coffee shop or boutique clothing shop would do really well there. Perhaps you’ll discover that ten coffee shops per city block aren’t enough?
The most valuable and unexpected use case, (from our point of view).
Imagine a disaster occurs. A hurricane, earthquake, bombing, flood. All of these disasters could level buildings and leave a foreign landscape. By using Foursquare check-ins, emergency teams can see where physical locations used to be, even if they are no longer standing. When first responders are called to a disaster site, having previous knowledge of the area is paramount. Knowing where the closest pharmacy was for medicine, grocery store for fresh water or hardware store for tools provides an excellent starting point for first responders and aid workers.
To answer the question “what is Foursquare,” it is the perfect app for our digitally-centred, fast-paced lifestyles. It’s the platform that analyzes where we go, what we like, and what other users like. This is insider information that holds immense value. Whether it’s for urban planning, marketing purposes, disaster relief, or another field of work, combining a program like Foursquare with the searching power of Echosec provides an incredibly insightful perspective of the habits and behaviours of people.