I just got back from a trip to Cleveland and, less than 24 hours after I landed, Foursquare sent me this email:
It’s pretty much a walk-through of every check-in I made over four days. More importantly, it’s begging for me to give Foursquare more data than just the basic check-in.
Foursquare likes to mention that it has a few billion check-ins (3.5 billion is the most recent milestone), but obviously a lot of those check-ins have very little value (Concourse B, Gate C26, people checking in at home, etc.). That means nothing to anyone and plays back into Foursquare’s old game-based structure. But Foursquare is getting away from the game and becoming a local search service.
As Foursquare continues that shift, it needs more data — more than just check-ins — to be able to provide custom/personalized search results and recommendations.
With more user data, Foursquare can
- continue to do some interesting things from a search angle, like ranking businesses differently depending on what time of day they’re popular
- improve search breadth — because Foursquare’s tips have also been fully searchable for more than a year; more tips in the system means more potentially successful searches
- sell check-in data to advertisers, as it’s reportedly getting ready to do
That last item is most important from a business angle. Foursquare’s been around for several years now and is only recently rolling out revenue-generating features.
No doubt more moneymakers are in the pipeline, and they’ll work better with more user data. I’ll be looking for more emails like the one above asking me to give Foursquare as much data as possible.