Though somewhat overshadowed by Microsoft's appointment of Satya Nadella as CEO, the news of the company's $15 million investment in Foursquare, alongside a licensing deal, is still a big deal.
Though somewhat overshadowed by Microsoft's appointment of Satya Nadella as chief executive, the news of the company's $15 million investment in Foursquare, alongside a licensing deal, is nevertheless more than noteworthy.
While not giving information on the terms of the licensing deal per se, Foursquare explains in a blog post that its hyper-local data will be used to provide insights, or "contextually-aware experiences," to users of Windows or Windows Phone OS devices. As part of that, Bing users will also benefit from the enrichment of information when they run searches: Foursquare's places recommendations will be served to them seamlessly via the platform. A Microsoft representative hardly gave more details on the deal by saying that it is "a multi-year commercial and technical partnership."
According to the mobile localization startup, their database has now clocked in 5 billion check-ins and has more than 60 million places registered. That is what Microsoft has also invested into, for the price tag of $15 million.
At the moment, Foursquare seems to have lost its "hype" status with the "in" crowd that it had attracted at the beginning, but the service is therefore more interesting to brands, marketers, and advertisers, as it reaches a bigger, more diverse audience. Brands have understood that, and the likes of American Express have been partnering with the startup to serve special offers.
Nationwide local services have also jumped on the bandwagon: look at delivery apps like GrubHub and Seamless, for example. What better way to reach potential customers than by offering them deals and suggestions on where to go and what to order or eat?
The Foursquare app with local recommendations and deals:
So far, critics of the app have blamed it for a lack of vision and revenue stream, but Foursquare seems to have remained focused on building the product and securing the necessary funds to do so. Just in December, it raised $35 billion to boost its ad network. The Microsoft investment is closely tied to the licensing agreement: the money will be used to "double down on local search and experiences," according to reports from The New York Times quoting Holger Luedorf, Foursquare's head of business development, as saying. Microsoft doesn't just pour money into a social-local-mobile (SoLoMo) app without having a supporting vision.
One cannot help but wonder though: Could this signal an exit strategy for Foursquare? It certainly is a strong signal for marketers to brush up their strategies across Microsoft properties for upcoming campaigns.
On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!
Liva Judic joined Search Engine Watch and ClickZ in May 2010 as a news blogger. She has lived and worked across the globe in Madagascar, Switzerland, London, NYC, Asia and is now based in between New York and Berlin.
Her background is in government relations and financial media where she started out as a journalist at Bloomberg and became senior editor at AFX news (now part of ThomsonReuters). Prior to forming her own consultancy Judic was head of international PR for a head of state.
Judic focuses on facilitating brand and marketing transitioning for European startups moving to the US. She has been named one of the Top 50 Industry Influencers of 2014 by AGBeat
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.
Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
12pm ET/9am PT
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
12pm ET/9am PT