If $4-plus gas prices got you down, maybe checking in on Foursquare at Murphy USA will pick you up. The gas station brand is offering $2 off a $20 gas purchase for people recording a Foursquare check-in at one of its 1,000 locations.
Casey Petersen, social media manager for Murphy USA, told ClickZ that his company first tested the platform with a free pack of Stride gum for check-ins over the weekend. While no marketing was done to push the offer, he said Foursquare’s user base of 8 million took notice at his El Dorado, AK-based firm’s gas stations, which are near Wal-Marts in the Midwest and Bible Belt.
“We got 15,000 check-ins over the weekend,” Petersen said. “With Foursquare’s bigger user base, of course, that’s more activity than we generally saw with Whrrl.”
Indeed, it didn’t take long for Murphy USA to move on from Whrrl, which had roughly 600,000 users and ceased operations on May 1. For the past year, Petersen and his team had offered items like free Coke products for single Whrrl check-ins, while randomly and rarely awarding free tanks of gas. He said last fall that 44 percent of those check-ins were new customers. Petersen gave a presentation at South by Southwest Interactive in March about his brand getting a 1 percent sales lift for Coke products while employing Whrrl as a promotions platform.
Coincidentally, at SXSWi, Foursquare released its 3.0 app that introduced the ability for brands to run different special offers across various locations. Companies can also now use an analytics dashboard to see aggregate campaign data, such as the redemption rate.
On the app, there are seven types of “specials” that retailers can use. Murphy USA’s current campaign entails a “Check-in Special” that will run until May 17.
“I like the different options on Foursquare,” Petersen said.
But will average Americans like Foursquare, too? With no end in sight for high gas prices, perhaps the summer of 2011 could be the time when folks at the pump get on board with geo-social apps.