Foursquare’s 40 million users probably fall into three tiers: “super users,” occasional users and those who’ve downloaded the app and no longer use it. Foursquare won’t say how many of its users are “active.”That’s a general challenge for the company: how to engage casual or lapsed users and boost their frequency.
The company is hoping an iOS redesign that emphasizes push notifications will help. Foursquare introduced location-based alerts and notifications into its Android app in August. Now it’s making them the centerpiece of its new iOS app.
Once the darling of early adopters, Foursquare has evolved well beyond its initial “gamification” and “check-in” functionality. The company keeps pushing to make the app more “accessible,” mainstream and “mom-friendly.”
Simultaneously Foursquare is doing some very interesting and sophisticated things with data and location-based recommendations. In many ways there’s a lot more going on under the hood at Foursquare than at competitor Yelp.
However Foursquare has yet to find the right mix of elements to make the app a true substitute for Yelp, Google Maps or other location-based services. That’s not necessarily Foursquare’s explicit aim; people often rely on multiple apps to make decisions. But the company needs to add compelling and differentiating features to re-engage and broaden its user base.
Foursquare fans would likely argue those features already exist. But the widespread perception is that most people who’ve got the app on their phones “don’t use it anymore.” The company hopes that push notifications can boost both utility and engagement.
Yesterday Foursquare announced its all-new iOS app, totally redesigned for iOS 7. The company said in its blog post, “When you arrive somewhere new, we tell you what you need to know (like the best thing to order or a money-saving special), even if you don’t open the app.”
Push notifications, when used judiciously, can be a very effective means of generating engagement. They can also be very useful to consumers as well. Apps such as Coupons.com, Retailmenot, FindandSave and a host of others will send push notifications if there are deals or specials at nearby retail stores.
Notifications offer a promising engagement tactic for Foursquare. However it may need to expand the scope of the content it offers in its location based notifications if it really wants to become “mom friendly.”