FourSquare & Google are watching you!

IOT & digital businesses will produce an unprecedented amount of location-referenced data, particularly as 25 billion devices become connected by 2020, according to Gartner estimates. Every month, 50 million people use Foursquare’s two mobile apps and websites: Foursquare and Swarm.Foursquare is an example of a company which has built a business out of consumer location data. A lot of this the data comes from Foursquare’s partners, which integrate the company’s data into their services, often sending location signals back to Foursquare. This includes companies like Twitter, Snapchat, Apple, and Pinterest, along with about 100,000 other developers. And now they have launched the Pilgrim platform which enables third-party apps to leverage Foursquare’s ability to know where a consumer is using location history, contextual clues, and current physical location. Today Apps like Foursquare & Google are watchng us as consumers very closely!

And these Apps are developing features that are adding value to our lives.Foursquare’s Explore feature provides a visual solution, giving users the ability to search by vicinity with just a few quick finger taps.

While Foursquare started as a social check-in app, it is now leveraging its database of check-ins at nearly 100 million public places. Sometime back Foursquare predicted that Chipotle same-store sales would fall 29 percent after the Mexican chain was hit with E. coli outbreaks. The actual decline announced by Chipotle ended up being exactly 30 percent. Foursquare Analytics allows brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurant chains to understand how their own company is performing vs other retail companies.

As the VC Hunter Walk explains:

Your credit card company has a tremendous amount of data on where you, and the world, shops. Not purchases at the SKU level–they largely don’t know what you bought at West Elm or Cheesecake Factory–but they do know that you spend $350 at a furniture store and $75 at a casual food chain. Now extrapolate this over millions of customers. Using co-visitation data they could recommend to me other establishments visited by folks with similar spending patterns. “Hunter, because you enjoy West Elm you might also like SF Modern Design located at 1000 State St.” This would be especially helpful when traveling.

But none of these credit card companies are (a) skilled at building consumer facing applications, (b) upstream of purchase decisions and (c) have place level data for retail establishments. Oh but wait, Foursquare has all of those. By combining with Foursquare, the credit card companies could finally justify and preserve their transaction fees (in the face of competition from other payment options) but working to drive demand to the local retailers. Today they do this in very non-scalable ways such as one-off marketing programs such as AmEx Small Business week.

In India, we now have over 1.2 billion telecom subscribers. We now have in every consumer’s pocket, a device, with an array of sensors for collecting spatial data. This data is incredibly valuable. And it is getting picked up from a wide variety of sources- including global positioning satellites, Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) beacons, Wi-Fi hotspots, remote sensors, and visible light communication (VLC) sources.  Mobile moments are now the new battleground to engage & grow customers.

And offline & online worlds are coming together like never before. Environments that consumers think of as offline, such as malls or retail stores, have begun to use tracking technologies to improve their understanding of shopping behavior. Security camera footage feeds into software that analyzes shopper demographics; public Wi-Fi networks sniff device data and track in-store foot traffic; and some store shelves are getting “smart,” with facial recognition and mobile device sensors to improve in-store messaging

The location is a core element of a customer’s context. Using location data is more important than just capturing the attention of nearby smartphone owners — it’s about powering contextual marketing. Location data will increasingly enable marketers to track the foot traffic and in-store sales attributable to their digital marketing efforts.

Before analyzing and acting on location data, marketers must ensure that they have the right to collect it and can anonymize it

And yet mobile applications are not delivering the level of customer engagement that was expected. Gartner predicts that by 2019, 20% of brands will abandon their mobile apps.

The future is about more sophisticated organizations interpreting contextual information. GPS coordinates, for example, are not simply an address but could be “derived information” that concludes she is at home or at the office or on vacation. This requires marketers to have back-end data and logic to deliver contextual experiences.

Companies need to start thinking about how they will leverage “context” into their marketing!


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