Category Archives: foursquare

My post on The Analytics of Geo-Location at Web Analytics Rock Stars Blog

I wrote a post this week for IQ Workforce, a sponsor of this blog on

The Analytics of Geo-Location

Here’s the post for my readers (and feel free to read it on the RockStars blog, as well).  I admit that I use content I have already written about and adapt it – but then, I’m evolving a model where my constant blogging is the diamond in the rough – where all my ideas get thrown out in open, to be looked at – where the hard thinking happens.   Later I might choose to refine those ideas – but I would be foolish to ignore them, and try to start from scratch.

Geolocation and mobile computing are trends that are now in the mainstream so it’s about time to examine what kind of analytics we can get and what we can do with it.

For one thing, Geolocation and Foursquare can be your best friend, especially if your business is brick and mortar, like a restaurant or even a hardware store (though, besides Home Depot, there aren’t that many hardware stores that are fun to hang around in).

Take Havana Central, a New York Cuban Restaurant chain who is a client of mine and who aspires to be the Roger Smith Hotel of local restaurants here. Through my blog I have become known to many in the Social Monitoring sector and have access to many of the best platforms, tools and agencies of choice to work with. One of the tools I use often is Radian6, a Social Monitoring platform that is used by many marketing, PR and communications agencies to monitor “online chatter” and “buzz” for their clients or own businesses. Radian6 is also known as the first “listening” platform to integrate with WebTrends (and Omniture) as well as SalesForce for SocialCRM.

I set up  Radian6 alerts set up on Havana Central that sends email status every 10 minutes  when anyone tweets or mentions the restaurant chain in any way.  It just so happens that I was in the 46th street Havana Central location one evening and received an email alert from a customer who was saying she was in the restaurant – via Twitter.  When I read my email alert from Radian6 I immediately realized the customer was in the restaurant at the very same moment I was.
This is what the alert looked like on my iPhone:



Source:, Posted on: Mar 01, 2010 9:36 PM by KIMBERLY819
Chillin with my girl Yesenia in the city!! Great restaurant Havana Central!! Great Live salsa band!! Oooooooowwwww!!!!
Following: 86 | Followers: 65 | Updates: 270 | Sentiment: Positive

The alert took place in real time – I suggested to the management the customer and her friend should be given free drinks and discounts that evening. That’s all I did – and as we acted in real time- within 10 minutes of the initial tweet – the response was interesting.

The customer, Kimberly819 and her friend got their free drinks.

Later on that night I got another alert – guess what this one said:

Name: KIMBERLY819 Posted on: Mar 1, 2010 1:07 AM
Followers: 66 Following: 87
What a GREAT night at Havana Central!!!! My new favorite spot!!

That got me thinking … if we could do something like this – foster customer loyalty – that easy (hell, just give the lady a free drink) what would happen if we gave everyone who tweeted at one of Havana Central’s 3 locations a free drink?

I used analytics to figure it out. How often could Kimberly819 happen and what would it mean to Havana Central in increased revenue? I found on first pass, exporting Radian6 data from a “River of News” Widget I set up for the restaurant alerts that at least 20 times in the last month a customer tweeted they were in one of Havana Central’s locations – though in retrospect – that number is way, way too conservative – I put it more at 100 times a month, at least, and maybe even double that – if we take every variation of announcing “I’m at Havana Central”.

Radian6 – Tweets & Facebook announcements of presence at  Havana Central

Source: Radian6 – Tweets & Facebook announcements of presence at Havana Central

For those customers who have linked their Foursquare accounts with Twitter and Facebook the numbers are even higher with about 5% of the total conversation recorded as having happened at one of the restaurants  – and I can swear the number is closer to 10% as we get 2 or 3 tweets a day from people who are announcing they are at one of Havana Central’s locations.

Radian6 – Alerts with Foursquare check-ins included

Source: Radian6 – Alerts with Foursquare check-ins included

Suppose we go with the higher number (around 60 individuals a month say “I’m at Havana Central” in one slang way or another) and estimate a typical loyal customer will return a certain number of times and spend a certain amount in per visit – we can get a approximate ROI number.

I’m going to make a deduction the a typical “rewarded customer” we find via Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook might spend $300-$500 a year at the restaurant in addition to anything else they might have spent there if they had not been rewarded. I was told by Jeremy Merrin, one of the owners of Havana Central that the number might be considerably higher than that (add up all those blueberry mojitos and live Latin dancing, etc)– but I’ll be conservative, just to be safe.

One possible result is increased revenue of close to 30K a month – over a year that could mean as much as 360K – just by making someone’s visit a little bit friendlier and better for them.

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FourSquare launches business dashboard for Venues

A few weeks ago I wrote about FourSquare adding a business dashboard that will let owners of venues know when someone checks in at your venue using FourSquare. At the time I wrote, the business dashboard feature was in beta and not generally assessable – now … it is.  As reported today in Mashable – Foursquare Makes it Easy for Businesses to Sign Up

Foursquare is making it easier than ever for businesses to offer venue promotions and get insight on their Foursquare traction. The location-oriented social network has launched a do-it-yourself tool for business to claim their venue and reap the rewards of the business dashboard.

Venue pages now include the message, “Are you the manger of this business?” and a link to begin the process. Any business owner can claim their Foursquare venue and manage their account in three simple steps.

The feature set officially went live yesterday and the company already has plans to fine tune the process, as well as build out functionality to better serve businesses.

For interested businesses, the first step is to confirm business ownership, which Foursquare will manually verify. In step two, owners can create their first special. Dodgeball veteran and Foursquare’s new Head of Product, Alex Rainert, describes this process as a “mad-libs style special creator.” Business owners can add one special at a time. The first special is automatically added to the queue once ownership is verified.

Another kicker is that Foursquare business owners can even request official Foursquare window clings and stickers — i.e. window decals to advertise that a business is Foursquare-friendly.

There are currently no costs associated with claiming your business and using the business dashboard for analytics and promoting specials. Rainert also confirms that there is “no immediate plan” for pricing, and that right now the priority is to make the business dashboard as rich as possible.

In many ways the effort is directly competitive with the recently enhanced Google Places, but the key here is the real-time checkin data that could really help business owners further develop their relationships with customers and better manage and track their promotions.

When you add Google Places and yesterday’s announcement at F8 - Social Media ROI will become easier and easier to demonstrate and by end of this year – I predicted, would start becoming fairly routine to show.

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Facebook Like button – Social Plugins and the rest of what Facebook annouced at F8

Well, I added the Like button to (I also registered domain last week, btw) via a WordPress Plugin and I’m listening to parts of the F8 Developers Conference that took place earlier today so I can form my own opinion on the changes Facebook announced today along those who I follow.

In fact, there was so much announced today at the F8 Conference that it will take a little while to wrap out hands around it and decide how to adapt.

It’s my belief I should listen to  this information about Facebook first before looking too much at what everyone else is saying and spinning – which is what I did (spent close to an hour listening to F8) just now.

There were a lot of enhancements – Social Plugins allows you to share content without doing anything else – you socially enable your site and begin to personalize any site based on your friends, your likes and dislikes.   There is an activity stream plugin, login plugin, Social Bar (automatically socialize your site with one line of HTML)  and recommendations plugin as well.

Note: It’s almost as if Facebook syndicated it’s social functions to any website that wants to add them – which is a very significant enhancement which I predict will soon become widespread.

My guess is Google is not too happy about this development from Facebook – and in fact, what was announced today now eclipses PageRank, especially the Search capability and Webhook capability  – using Oauth2 just made programming Facebook much easier, too.

The Open Graph Protocol allows a page creator to tag pages to have a more universal meaning – it’s a markup language – marking up your pages which allows the web to become more intelligent.

The Graph API is more for developers – Facebook made it much easier to program around the Facebook platform.

Some Reactions to the F8 Announcement

Frank Reed at MarketingPilgrim asks if Users will Like the New Facebook Like Button? and suspects there will be a large privacy issue with sharing all this data around the social graph.

MG Siegler at TechCrunch said “I Think Facebook Just Seized Control Of The Internet” and I happen to agree with him – this will put Google on the defensive – a place they have rarely been lately.

…that Facebook’s stance is that social connections are going to be just as important going forward as hyperlinks have been for the web.

…..And if that’s so, Google had better watch out. There may be a new sheriff in web town.

I’m so tired of Google being ahead of everyone else (or acquiring a company if they can’t be ahead) that Facebook jumping ahead of Google would be a welcome breath of fresh air – and very likely, even if Google tried to buy Facebook now,  Federal Anti Trust law would stand in Google’s way, I suspect.

But … Greg Sterling (not related to Brad Sterling of the Twilight Zone) of Search Engine Land said Facebook’s Alternative Internet Vision And Its Search Implications are not well understood yet.  Sterling echos MG Siegler by suggesting that …

The vision represents a shift from a Google-centric internet comprised of billions of unrelated documents and sites to a Facebook centric one where social relationships and affiliations are the connective tissue in a vast network.

And Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb asks if the New Facebook is a Deal With the Devil?

Facebook blew peoples’ minds today at its F8 developer conference but one sentiment that keeps coming up is: this is scary.

The reasons Kirkpatrick gives for Facebook’s announced changes being scary is

  1. It kicked off meaningful adoption of the Semantic Web with the snap of the fingers (not sure why that is scary – isn’t this what we secretly wanted?)
  2. It probably knocked a whole class of recommendation technology startups (can’t say that makes much difference to me – but if I owned such a company I’d probably be pissed).
  3. It popularized social bookmarking and made subscribing to feeds around the web easier than ever before. (Again, why is this scary)?
  4. And it may have created the biggest disruption to web traffic analytics in years: demographically verified visitor stats tied to peoples’ real identities. There was so much big news that the analytics part didn’t even come up in the keynote.  But ….
      1. Currently, Insights provides users data about their Facebook fan pages and social ads. Now, however, Facebook is taking this a step further and will also give users who implement Facebook’s new features on their sites data about the people who share content from these sites, “no matter where those shares originated.”

Now, Insights will provide a lot more information on aggregate data on comments and likes – plus referral traffic to an application (where on Facebook your traffic is coming from) – it’s sorta like Omniture renaming a page.   Active Users, key sources based on types of actions, demographic breakdown based on gender, age, local, city.  Prompt and Acceptance permission rates are also being supplied around applications.

Pages Insights (likes, comments, unsubscribes) shows you how users react to your content.  Each story also has a feedback percentage, impressions, engagement, etc).  Also, you can track where your fans are coming from – and this should be interesting – as it will now be clear how large fan bases have been built.

You will be able to get analytics for any url – not just Facebook.

And ….. now  Facebook becoming it’s own Analytics Service … take that Omniture …take that WebTrends … (share, reshares, feedback rate can be charted across the web) as you can see the urls that are most engaging based on how it interacted with your Facebook content.    And with Domain Level demographics will make a very interesting play to the Social Media Monitoring Platforms like Sysomos, BrandWatch, Radian6 – etc.

You just do what all the analytics vendors have you do … add a line or two of JavaScript …ha, ha … who has the last laugh?  We’ll see.

You start by going to and click on Insights for your Domain.

I was thinking of using Sysomos, Scout Labs or Radian6 to pick out the most interesting parts of the conversations around the F8 announcements today – but decided to hold off on that as most people probably aren’t too sure how they feel about the new improvements and capabilities Facebook announced today – and if I monitor now, all I’m going to pick up is that uncertainty.

I will close this post with one more thought – remember I said that Social Media ROI would be largely figured out by years end?  Well, between FourSquare (Geolocation)  and Facebook (new announcements) plus Google Places – it’s not hard to see why that will happen.

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