Examining Foursquare’s new location data tool

The locations tracking app Foursquare has taken a huge step forward with its search-and-discovery service. Now, the device provides brands with an analytics tool that provides a breakdown of consumers’ foot traffic data, in terms of the time of day and frequency. Foursquare has been working with a variety of brands, including Taco Bell, H&M, TGI Fridays, T.J. Maxx and Equinox to test their analytics data tool.

This platform has an extensive database of 100m public places giving retailers and shop owners the chance to measure the flow of customers in large distances, providing valuable information about consumer habits. Foursquare aim to be the Google analytics for the real world, ultimately helping brands understand how their customers engage with their retail location.

Using the tool, retailers can compare their foot traffic against competitors and examine metrics like age, gender, new and returning customers. The way the tool works is that the data is collected through Foursquare’s existing location database, which powers more than 100,000 apps including Apple and Snapchat. Foursquare then normalizes this data so that it accurately represents a national or city-wide population. This information is available to brands in an analytics dashboard.

When Foursquare tested their service with T.J. Maxx, they were able to find out that 5% of T.J Maxx’s customers visit on a weekly basis, and 80% of T.J. Maxx shoppers visited the retailer at least twice in the past year. Foursquare’s study of T.J Maxx’s customer behaviour shows the powerful capitalises of their analytics. Brands have the opportunity to study the habits of loyal customers and analyse accurate location data for their business, giving them an easier time with their on-going strategy to bring in new customers and maintain existing bases. In terms of advertising, Foursquare’s new tool opens up a new means of understanding ad placement. An example: This new data will stop a brand from placing adverts to draw new customers in a location which is visited the majority of the time by existing customers once a week.

At present, Foursquare are primarily focused on retailer brands rather than agencies. However, they have envisioned a future where their service could help advertising and marketing agencies. These businesses could benefit from the platform, as it may be useful tracking conversion rates and location sales. Also, it could one day offer insights into the ideal location for adverts to be placed, while collecting local foot traffic data.

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