2013 is Foursquare’s year. Yes you read that right, and yes I realise it’s not 2009. The novelty of collecting virtual rewards was enough on those days to keep people checking in, but casual users quickly dropped off when they realised they’d never become “mayor”. But Foursquare wasn’t out for the count. It just needed to stay relevant, so unlike many of its peers *cough* MySpace *cough* they innovated.
What’s in it for me?
Foursquare’s first major innovation was its partnership with American Express which positioned it as one of the first companies to recognise that users should be rewarded with tangible goods for talking about brands in a social capacity.
In tandem with Foursquare’s innovation, consumers started to realise that their endorsement has real value and as such, are beginning to gravitate to brands and platforms that reward them for their social seal of approval.
The second major innovation was the one that really excited me. FourSquare completely changed their platform this summer by adding the Explore function which allows users to search for popular spots among not only the entire foursquare community, but among their own friend pool.
This, for me, is when Foursquare went from a gaming platform to a major utility and 2013 will see far more platforms begin to employ social discovery tools. Why? Because users are much more interested in the recommendations of those they know rather than a random sampling of strangers.
There’s always room for improvement though, and the one area of innovation FourSquare has yet to tap into is ‘travel’.
Wish you were here, Foursquare
If Foursquare partnered up with one of the social travel sites – Wanderfly being my personal favorite – then we’d really see Foursquare’s full potential!
Itinerary building would be a breeze if we could match where our friends have checked-in at a specific destination along with similar check-ins based on our own past behavior. Add in the ability to customise a digital keepsake of each check-in with both location and photos, and you’ve created the ultimate memento of your vacation.
Ultimately, constant innovation will keep you in the game. Social networking is no longer all about projection, it’s about utility. Users want something useful from their community, be it a reward for advocacy or the ability to tap into their friends’ data.
So there it is – Foursquare; the next big platform of 2013. Of course being the mayor of Cake NY I might be biased.
By Stacy Fuller
Group Director, Social Marketing