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Beyond check-ins: Foursquare’s next plan to monetise involves your data

Foursquare

On its continuing quest for a strong revenue model, it seems Foursquare is looking at how best to monetize the data it holds.

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Holger Luedorf, Head of Business Development at Foursquare, spoke at the B Dash Camp event in Fukuoka, Japan recently and shared more insights into what the location-based application has been up to since its latest funding round. He mentioned that Foursquare is moving from an application used mainly for check-ins into one that uses its data to do predictive search, recommendations and advertising.

Since it was launched, Foursquare has seen over 3.5-billion check-ins from its 30 million users, with five million daily check-ins. These users have created over 50-million points of interest, uploaded 50-million public photos and created 25-million tips. In Japan alone, Foursquare has seen a total of 260-million check-ins, of which 1.6-million are points of interest. Of these check-ins 35% are travel related, 25% are retail locations and 19% are at restaurant and cafés.

That’s a lot of information, and Foursquare is looking to monetize using the data that it has. According to Holger, the company had to wait until they had at least 1.5-billion check-ins before they had enough data to proceed with their plans, but now they’ve passed that point. It also had an extensive network of partners — its API is currently being used by around 40 000 companies including WhatsApp, Twitter, Path and Airbnb. These partners make over 75-million API calls daily and Foursquare estimates that it reaches around 100-million active users monthly via partner integrations. These partners’ product ranges from messaging applications to game developers building real-world games.

When asked about usage of its data, Holger stated that they are going to use it for advertising and targeting together with the predictive search. With its 160 employees based in New York, San Francisco and London, the mobile-first company will use its latest round of funding to improve their service and also to get the ad targeting to a point where it is profitable. Holger also mentioned that they are looking to do more in Asia and are actively seeking partners for their app data and monetization strategy in the region.

The service’s previous forays into the monetisation of its app have focused on the type of promoted posts seen on Twitter and Facebook, where advertisers pay to have a store or location given prominence in users’ ‘explore’ feeds. It has also investigated another source of revenue through partnerships with First Data, Mastercard, American Express and Visa, which allow users to sync their card details with their Foursquare account and claim discounts when checking in to participating businesses.


This article by Joash Wee originally appeared on e27, a Burn Media publishing partner. Additional reporting by Memeburn.

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