where Twitter falls short in approaching this market themselves, it's
just slightly behind the curve in offering the right kind of
geolocation component. This left the door wide open for Foursquare to
strike deals with franchised brands like Tasti D-Lite and their "young,
hip Pecan Preline Crunchy customers," as Ethan Lyon describes them. In
my previous blog, titled, "Tasti D-Lite Loyalty Program Needs Geolocation To Sell Product,
I detailed how Twitter did not address tweets that needed to target
followers based on location. For instance, when a Twitter user tweets
out a deal he has just received from this dessert company, it will be
sent to one's entire following, instead of a distinct grouping within
one's geographic radius.
On the flip side, when this same
communication is sent out to one's followers on Foursquare, it can be
limited to a 3-4 block territory. This allows those users and their
Foursquare followers to benefit from a special deal or coupon offering
within a short walking distance.
To this end, according to an Ad Age
Foursquare is planning its first-time 'paid' services for three tiers
of businesses: small, privately owned stores and restaurants, brands
with retail chains, such as Tasti D-Lite and at its highest level -
huge, multinational marketers such as Pepsi.
This is where 'Cost
Per Check-In' might play a role. While checking into a Tasti D-Lite
shop today, a user might be awarded a coupon from the Tennessee-based
chain. This is the service Foursquare calls "Specials Nearby."
However, it doesn't take a rocket science to think about the
possibilities if Foursquare were to charge for each check-in, or
number of check-ins after a certain quota is reached. The analytics are
already built into the system, and it is certainly showing Tasti D-Lite
that it can drive traffic.
So why haven't they done so?
fine line that Foursquare treads at this point in time is to determine
whether it can consistently grow - whether that growth will be moderate
or exponential - but more importantly, if it can maintain its 'cool'
appeal. According to David Berkowitz,
director emerging media at digital agency 360i, "The X-factor appeal of
Foursquare is in its social currency." As long as that appeal can
sustain the long-haul, I think monetization is right around the corner.
And I also think that a greater collaboration deal with Twitter is
imminent. A joint deal between these two social networking entities
make a lot of sense and would synergistically provide the users of both
camps, more bang for the buck, then if they were to choose to compete
with one another.
As I've stated previously, 2010 is the year of "geolocation."
And geo-tagging is what is going to finally capture that illusive
dollar revenue that Twitter and Foursquare have not been able to
capture for themselves, - but instead have provided for its partners.
By mid-year, I see a paradigm shift when they harness the "hand that
feeds" and start taking a piece of that pie (or Pecan Praline) for
'Cost Per Check-in' could be the first step in that lucrative direction!