I blogged about a year ago about the rise of location-based Social Networking sites and their increasing popularity, particularly the big two players: Foursquare and Gowalla. Since then, Gowalla has been bought by Facebook and in March this year it was officially shut down, with all the employees transferring over to Facebook.
So how has the market changed since then?
Foursquare is undoubtedly the number one location-based social network; however there are many location features which Facebook utilises which can be seen as a major competitor.
Personally, I’ve been using Foursquare for around 2 years; at first it was a bit of a novelty but recently it’s become a very useful tool when checking what’s nearby. I recently moved house, and when I checked in, I found all the bars nearby and various reviews on each. This helped me pick which bar to go to, and also helped me what to order off the menu!
Foursquare have just announced they’re about to begin rolling out their first adverts, similar to “Promoted Tweets” on Twitter, called “Promoted Updates”. This will allow merchants to target users whose friends have either frequently checked in or added the venue to one of their Foursquare lists. They aren’t intrusive however; they will only appear on the user’s Explore tab.
Similar to the way Twitter launched their Promoted Tweets feature, this will be rolled out to a list of selected partners before being available to all. It will be interesting to see results from companies running campaigns on Foursquare and any ROI achieved.
With a number of app updates over the year offering additional features and UI changes, I feel the most recent version is a great interface and allows you to do a lot with just a few clicks. The BlackBerry app I’ve been using allows me to share my check-ins with Facebook, Twitter and BBM with one click, allowing me to update my social profiles without having to log into each one.
Foursquare now boosts 20 million members and this is increasing rapidly. Do you use Foursquare? If so, is it just for the “Specials” or “Tips”? Let us know on Twitter.