Over the last three years, check-in and local search start-up Foursquare has become the face of location-based services. And while the app has gained a lot of traction among those that run in the social crowds, it has only grown to 25 million members.
It sounds absurd for me to be using the words “only” and “25 million” in the same sentence, but, given the growth of image sharing/location-based app, Instagram — zero to 80 million in a little under two years — it feels like Foursquare may not gain the traction is needs to be a viable long-term player. With all that said, I still love Foursquare and regularly recommend it to clients.
Now That We Know What It Isn’t, What Is It?
If the future of location-based marketing isn’t Foursquare, what is it then?
How about Google Mobile? Yes, you heard me correctly. It’s not elegant. There is zero gamification. And to make matters worse, Google is obviously now ignoring iPhone users as witnessed by the cut off image (pictured right) that keeps those on iOS from seeing the full suite of options. But at the end of the day, Google is ubiquitous.
Again, I am not jumping off the Foursquare bandwagon and neither should you. But if you are doing something location-based, it is time to start paying more attention to Google. To that end, here are a few suggestions that can help optimize your campaigns:
- You should make sure that your Google Places information is accurate. This starts by making sure you have claimed your venue(s).
- If you haven’t yet created a Google+ page for your business, do so. We still don’t know exactly what role Google + plays in the search engine’s weighted algorithms, but we do know that +1s (Google’s equivalent of Facebook “likes”) play a role in personalized search, at least.
- If you are doing any search engine marketing (SEM), you can be sure that Google will eventually start offering the equivalent of sponsored updates similar to what Foursquare is currently doing.
One more thing: it’s also smart to keep an eye on Apple’s new Passbook feature that launched with iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. This will be covered in greater detail in a subsequent post, but this could ultimately be a game changer in the location-based marketing space.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.