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How Foursquare is Merging Online and Offline Data

Mobile Mobile Shopping

How Foursquare is Merging Online and Offline Data

Ben Roodman May 1, 2013

Over the past months, Foursquare has been partnering with big customer database dealers to convert check-in histories into online advertising using registered user data. Using a double blind method which matches your email address and identifier information from Foursquare and other registered services on the web, your data is paired together with advertiser cookies. Once your cookies are matched and sync’ed together, your check-in history becomes another signal across advertising exchanges and DSPs in how brands want to measure offline impact of mobile advertising.

What does this really mean? If I check-in to dog parks will I then start see Subaru ads follow me around the web? Sports Authority, for example, might want to reach people who go to gyms with fun fitness alternatives. Enabling out of network targeting allows Foursquare to tap into the trove of data compiled by users and marry it with the habits of where users actually claim to go.

But will anyone buy it? The CPM rate in-app to users might be extremely high, however the impression inventory of reaching Foursquare users who still check-in might be marginally low. Offering an omni-channel view of customers looking at Foursquare user affinities tied into more measurable means of advertisings may be effective. Brands are always looking for new ways to understand their customers and wrap their heads around the mobile path to purchase.

Foursquare’s in-app offer model, approaching brick and mortar retailers to give discount specials after a customer is already in the door, cannot provide user intent. Shopkick’s more direct model approaches coupon savers directly, but has alternatively struggled to find a passionate user base. The new model will allow Foursquare to make a compelling case for the value of their data targeting with brands now beginning to be able to measure the full value of a Foursquare customer.

Customers have seen this merging of online and offline data before. Facebook users, for example, have been outspoken about their annoyance when the Facebook experience doesn’t end on Facebook, but rather tracks history around the web through integrated social plugins. Will Foursquare users notice this new targeting? The first brand to retarget a Foursquare user on Facebook by using uploaded email addresses will truly demonstrate how prevalent customer data really is today.

Ben Roodman

Benjamin Roodman
Senior Contributing Editor
Benjamin Roodman is an advocate for getting to the truth of what converts in mobile. Well versed in mobile advertising platforms with a notable aptitude and passion for analytics, he's currently putting deals together as head of partnerships at a mobile data startup. Benjamin has previously held Business Development positions at AOL Advertising and helped establish several funded location-based consumer startups.
Follow me on twitter @BRoodman

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