Twitter/Foursquare Partnership Could Be Game Changer for Marketers

Twitter and Foursquare could be partnering to improve Twitter’s location services, which would mean better targeted ads for brands.

A recent report from Business Insider speculated on a 2015 partnership between the two companies, citing an unnamed “familiar source” to the magazine. If the rumor is true, the combination of Foursquare’s data with Twitter’s social streaming could be a game changer for both companies.

Twitter’s current geo-location services are rudimentary. The site can tell where members are when they create profiles and recognizes the location users list in their bios, but other than that, tweets aren’t geo-targeted at all.

Angie Pascale, director of marketing at Indaba Group, believes that a Foursquare partnership would change the way Twitter operates for the better because while Foursquare has struggled to stay relevant in previous years, its geo-targeting capabilities are second to none.

“Foursquare is still used to power a lot of different apps,” Pascale says. “Almost every app that uses some type of location-based data is using Foursquare location data. Twitter’s location data is not great. It never really has been. I think Twitter is probably realizing that location is really where the industry is headed and a lot of what they’re missing.”

For marketers, a partnership between the two social platforms might mean better-targeted, one-to-one ads based on location because of Foursquare’s “passive check-in” technology. If Foursquare users are in a given location for upward of six seconds, even if they don’t check in, the app records their location data.

This data would be a gold mine for Twitter advertisers, says Pascale.

“Twitter is always looking to be more valuable as a company, and I think to provide more data is the biggest piece of it for brands,” she says. “Twitter and Foursquare are both about discovery and exploration, and to provide information from Foursquare to say your users are here is just really going to help promote the value of Twitter. If a brand is a restaurant and they’ve got happy hour from 4 to 7, they can target people that are within the area an hour before to give them a promoted tweet.”

The partnership could also be a lifesaver for Foursquare, which has found itself struggling to retain both users and brands in recent years.

“Foursquare has been losing a lot of ground lately with brands,” Pascale says. “Twitter has a huge active audience where people are talking a lot about timely things and what they’re doing. But Foursquare doesn’t quite have that as much. They do have a lot of people that signed up a long time ago but have been inactive with the app.”

Earlier this year, Foursquare announced that the app would split into two separate entities: Foursquare and Swarm. The Foursquare app is geared toward search and discovery. It uses past check-ins to recommend new points of interest for users. Meanwhile, the Swarm app focuses on the social features of the original app, allowing users to share locations with friends and offering insights based on data, such as number of times users have checked in at certain locations with certain friends.

The split could have been a strategic move on Foursquare’s part, meant to lure partnerships with companies like Twitter, according to Elizabeth Marsten, vice president of search marketing at Portent.

“We all knew that Foursquare was up to something,” Marsten says. “You don’t do that big of a revamp the way they did and either not sell the platform so that it gets folded into a larger entity or create a partnership that bolsters the future of the company and the platform.”

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