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Attribution And Other Developer Tools Lift Foursquare To Third Year Of Consecutive Revenue Gains

Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck credits advertising revenue for the revenue rise, but the real growth appears to be in "enterprise solutions."

Three years after Foursquare was often put in the position of insisting there was no company “deathwatch,” CEO  Jeff Glueck reports that the location intelligence platform saw revenues for the third consecutive year.

As a private company, nine-year-old Foursquare doesn’t disclose specific financial details, so all the company is saying is that 2017 marked the third straight year revenues rose by “50 percent or higher,” as outlined in a Medium blog post.

The post is also a response to remaining doubters about Foursquare, which was launched in 2009 with tremendous hype during that year’s SxSW.

“We now see over 3 billion visits a month around the globe, thanks to a panel of more than 25 million people who have opted into always-on location sharing,” Glueck says, perhaps anticipating that Foursquare is still primarily focused on active social media check-ins. “This is more than double what we were observing at this time last year, and helps us build an ever-sharper picture of the world and the 105 million global venues in our database.”

For the most part, Glueck touted revenues from its place-based ad targeting solution for brands, Pinpoint by Foursquare, which now counts over half the Ad Age 100 as advertisers.

Beyond advertising, Foursquare’s enterprise solutions grew equally fast.

For example, in March 2017, Foursquare expanded the use of its location analytics outside of its own two apps, the eponymous flagship which promotes “discovery” and its Swarm check-in app. Foursquare struck licensing deals for its Pilgrim SDK to platforms that want to use the same tools to promote discovery within their branded apps.

The initial partners in what was billed as a white-label location analytics tool that passively promoted place-based discovery of local businesses included Capital One for its Wallet app, coupon platform SnipSnap, gift card marketplace Raise, interactive in-venue jukebox TouchTunes, as well as in-store deals platform The Coupons App.

Midwest Engineering Expansion

The ability to harness passive data is increasingly important to brands who want to capitalize on consumers’ desire to satisfy their “micro-moment” needs, such as finding a cafe or a clothing shop.

So as the use of voice activated digital assistants become more commonplace, and real-time social media insights becomes in greater demand by publishers like Snap to better serve advertisers and users more relevant marketing and content, that kind of passive capability is what Foursquare is pinning its present and future on.

“As we look to the future and where tech is heading, a lot of what the future looks like will depend on location understanding, from AR to self-driving cars to AI smart assistants, mobile payments, and IOT networks,” Glueck said. “Already we’re helping companies like Uber improve pick-up and drop-off directories; Samsung launch Bixby AR experiences that let you navigate a street via your phone’s visual search; and Capital One, to remind people when they are in a venue with rewards points, and so much more.”

To meet those increasing demands, and serve local markets, Foursquare is opening a new engineering office in Chicago.

The New York-based tech company has had a sales presence in the Midwest for the past few years with a 10-person sales team in Chicago’s Kinzie area, Glueck pointed to a “growing appetite for engineering talent has led us to tap into Chicago’s tech scene, too.”

“Our developer tools, including Pilgrim SDK and the Places API, grew substantially and Foursquare now provides location technology to more than 125,000 developers,” Glueck said. “The growth of the Pilgrim SDK is a true point of pride. In less than a year since launch, it has gone live with millions of consumers outside of our own Foursquare City Guide and Foursquare Swarm apps.”