Foursquare Too Small for Major Marketers

July 27th, 2010

The verdict is in from Forrester Research, Foursquare is too small for major marketers right now. 

Is Foursquare too early?

In a study out today, Forrester finds that only 4% of U.S. online adults have ever used location-based mobile apps such as Foursquare.  This small number is not appealing from a major marketer’s perspective due to the potential (or lack of) audience size.

Only 1% update these services more than once per week. What’s more, 84% of respondents said they are not familiar with such apps, leaving the vast majority of Americans online still in the dark about location-based apps, which have had the marketing world obsessing over them in recent months.

Who uses Foursquare?

Almost 80% of location-based service users are male. Close to 70% of them are between the ages of 19 and 35, and 70% have college degrees or higher.

This small audience is still attractive to some marketers. Forrester recommends that gaming, consumer electronics and sportswear marketers lead the way with testing these apps. Location apps have already proved they’re not only for male-oriented brands. PepsiCo, Starbucks, Oil of Olay, Bravo and, most recently, Campbell’s Soup have all launched campaigns with location apps.

Insider Perspective

I currently use Foursquare in Omaha as well as through my travels and have found some (not many) “deals” to take advantage of.  The local Starbucks by my house offers discounts to Foursquare users checking in and if you are the Mayor of Starbucks you are often entitled to a free drink.

I think that Foursquare is great right now for small/local businesses.  For example, a bar called the Reel Martini in my neighborhood offers specials and discounts based on the number of times you check in.  First check in – Buy One, Get One.  Tenth check in – 10% off bar tab and if you are the Mayor you get 25% off your entire bill.  Also, if you check in on Wednesdays (slow night) you get 1/2 off martinis.  I think this is a great way to drive repeat traffic and traffic to your business during “slow” time periods.

My opinion is that this technology will take off in the next year.  I do however believe that this will be a fad and will not stick around long unless major advertisers get on board.  Many people are becoming more aware of this application but fail to see any real benefit from it.

For additional insight on Foursquare and how to use this technology please check out my past article “Do You Foursquare?”