The Foursquare social media service is producing worthwhile data for businesses and is becoming increasingly useful in helping them see whether promotions lead to sales, according to a recent report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review.
The premise behind Foursquare is that it lets users to “check in” when visiting places like shops, bars, or restaurants for the chance to win virtual prizes and recognition.
For many of Foursquare’s nine million users it is nothing more than a game, but the data collected by the service is proving to be useful to businesses.
More than 300,000 businesses can already track their customers through Foursquare’s merchant platform with a newly launched analytics dashboard that records the number of daily check-ins, who the most recent and frequent visitors are, and a break down of visitors by gender.
However, for business without physical locations, such as content providers or consumer packaged-goods companies, the effectiveness of marketing through Foursquare may remain difficult to analyse, with companies limited to creating “brand pages” that users can follow and see how many people follow up on a certain tip.
“We are just beginning to scratch the surface on what that [following] means,” Foursquare Director of Business Development, Eric Friedman said, “and thinking a lot about how to make that data available.”