AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Foursquare’s Growing Value for Advertisers

Posted by rubenmarinbach on July 11, 2012

FourSquare, a social media tool which I’ve thought of as always being sort-of minimal, limited, and straight-forward, is now being tapped by advertisers who are using it to package advertisements with users’ check-ins. In Baltimore, two companies – Urbanite Magazine, and radio station WTMD – have teamed up to create a game called “The Great Baltimore Check-In”, where users are challenged to check-in at 89 commercial locations, and the “winner”, with the glorious accomplishment of “most-check ins”, will win a prize (a Vespa). While checking in, they will be exposed to advertisements from both outlets. This is fascinating to me for a number of reasons. For one, the advertisers are very excited about it. The owner of a Maryland-based wine bar called Grand Cru who was the first trial company to test out the service last year said it was the “best commercial value he’s ever gotten”. I’m not too sold on the idea, however. Like I mentioned earlier, FourSquare is not, to me at least, a platform that is really conducive to “push” strategies such as this one. Users do not spend a large amount of time in the interface, once they check in they’re done until their next check-in. In that span of time, from your mobile device, are you really going to be persuaded enough to subscribe to a magazine?

I realize that internet marketing and mobile advertising have had staggering success in recent years. But this feels too forced to me, unnatural. Is it going to piss people off? Who really wants to win a Vespa from a  radio station badly enough that they are going to check in to 89 different places in Baltimore? In an age where most of the advertising we consume we don’t even realize we’re consuming, this is an in-your-face way to take advantage of a platform that up until this point,  has been an open domain. It’ll be interesting to see whether more (established) brands take to FourSquare based on the success of this campaign. Only time will tell…

-Ruben Marinbach


One Response to “Foursquare’s Growing Value for Advertisers”

  1. krisforinger said

    I really like the idea of Foursquare, being able to see who else has been somewhere, their recommendations and also finding deals. I think that it is hard for them to stand out because other social media tools like Facebook and Twitter have already integrated a “check-in” feature that people normally use. It would be interesting if they could form a partnership with Groupon or Livingsocial to encourage people to “check in” where they use their coupons, give ratings…etc. It could also be helpful on a site like Yelp. I don’t know if they will ever be completely successful as a stand alone app.

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