Back in May, Foursquare announced its decision to split its service in two: moving all it’s checking-in and location-sharing functions to a new app Swarm while the Foursquare app set for re-launch as a discovery-focused app. After nearly 3 months, Foursquare is now revealing its refreshed new app, accompanied with a redesigned logo, aiming to shake off the preconceptions about the company. Repositioned as a Yelp-esque local discovery and rating app, the new Foursquare promises a highly personalized discovery experience with its “hyper-contextual recommendations”. This is a turning point for the company for sure, but whether it is a turn for better or for worse still remains to be determined by the mobile users.
Messaging app Kik users can now easily share their whereabouts with each other thanks to a new partnership with Glympse, a start-up specializes in temporary location sharing technology. The new feature has been fully integrated into Kik so users don’t need to leave the app to share their locations. Given that “where are you?” is undoubtedly one of the most texted questions, this feature could certainly come in handy for Kik users. As messaging app continues to expand its functionality, we expect to see more partnerships like this popping up in the near future.
Snapchat has been experimenting with location-based features for a while now, especially with “Our Story”, a publicly shared, geo-specific event album that they first tested at Electric Daisy Carnival and later at the recent Rio World Cup final. Now they are rolling out the new location-based photo filters, named Geofilters, to enable all Snapchatters to stamp their specific location (limited to NYC and L.A. at the moment) onto their photos with a simple swipe.
Unlike most messaging stickers, these geofilters are currently free to use, and Snapchat offer no comment on future plans around monetization. But if the heavily featured mouse-ears in Disneyland in the promo video is any indication, there would no doubt be room for brand integration and native advertising, potentially opening up a new revenue stream for the messaging apps to follow.
While location sharing is nothing new, startup Glympse has some key differentiators including a focus on real-time tracking and ephemeral sharing. Glympse lets you temporarily share your location w/ anyone by simply sending a link, accessible for a set period of time, from minutes to hours. The service can continually track your location if you choose to enable that feature, including traveling speed and arrival estimates. Even more interesting is their partnerships with Ford, Verizon, Gogo and more to enable sharing in-car, in-flight and anywhere else you may be traveling.
Foursquare will now passively track your location without the need to “check-in,” using the new iOS 7 Refresh capabilities. The development powers Foursquare’s passive notifications which surfaces venue recommendations based on your full location history. The development increases Foursquare location data dramatically. Even the most active Foursquare users wouldn’t come close to sharing 10% of the actual locations they visited.
From an advertising angle, the passive tracking could provide more comprehensive ‘store visit’ data for ROI. Foursquare could be as attractive an analytics platform as a media play as brands could see consumer affinities, displaying which businesses Walmart shoppers also visit, for instance. For the time being, Foursquare is courting advertisers, sharing the updates but have not made any indication that they would integrate these features into their ad products. At least for the time being.
Media measurement is undergoing tremendous change as marketers are privy to more data than ever. Increasingly, we are tying ad exposure to sales figures. It is no longer an awareness model of clicks and impressions but an action-driven one of visits and purchases. JiWire is the latest to jump onboard, releasing their Location Conversion Index which ties mobile ad impressions to in-store visits. The mobile ad network which targets audience segments based on historical location (not just where you are at this second) now measures foot traffic based on the following factors listed on their website:
- Real ROI: measures actual increase in foot traffic as a result of your mobile campaign
- Seasonality: adjusts for fluctuations in store visits that occur naturally (such as increased traffic over the holiday shopping season)
- Most Accurate Audience Matching: We build a control group out of millions of look-alike profiles based on matching demographics and location pattern attributions
- Big Data Scale: A rich history of location patterns built from 700M devices & billions of location tags makes LCI the most accurate mobile ROI metric
As if it wasn’t easy enough to find tech savvy people in public by following their trails of tweets and cast-aside year-old Apply products, Swarmly now geolocates packs of them and delivers the information directly to iOS and Android phones. After a quiet iOS launch last September, the Android version launched today on Android to increase its effectiveness and potential user base. Swarmly doesn’t require check-ins. Instead, users enable the app to use their location data to contribute to “swarms” of people nearby, linked to specific locations where groups are likely to congregate. The app is designed to work instantly, instead of relying on historical data patterns like many check-in based applications. Swarmly could be a darling of SXSW 2013, and it will be interesting to see its guerrilla marketing implications.
It’s been a big month for Waze, the crowdsourcing mobile traffic app that already has over 30 million Wazers. After being tapped by FEMA and The White House to identify gas stations in need of fuel in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the startup also just launched its advertising platform showing the most relevant local merchants and big brand stores along your route. The self service platform is already being deployed by Dunkin’ Donuts, Circle K, and Jamba Juice. We’re big fans of the Waze’s technology which illustrates the power of knowing not only your audience’s demographic, but where they are and where they’re headed on the road.