Foursquare launches promoted updates – now all social networks have ads in your news feed

It’s official, all the social networking sites have started adding “promoted” tweets/posts/places to your news feed. It’s no surprise considering that Twitter, with its “promoted tweets,” recently said it has a “truckload of money in the bank”.

 

Today Foursquare is launching its version of search ads, Promoted Updates.

Promoted Updates operate like Google’s promoted listings or Twitter’s promoted tweets. They are pay-per-action ad placements that only appear when a user is searching for a venue in Foursquare’s Explore tab.

Foursquare determines a user’s current location and check-in history before displaying a Promoted Update. The ads are powered by the same recommendation engine as its Explore feature. All of the paid placements will be clearly labeled at the top of the feed; they can include a store’s recent news, photos or specials.

Foursquare has partnered with about 20 merchants, from small mom and pop shops to national chains like Best Buy, to launch the pilot program. In the next few months, Foursquare hopes to turn Promoted Updates into a self-service tool merchants of all sizes can use on its platform.

 

Keep reading: Business Insider – Foursquare Launches Promoted Updates, Its Newest Effort To Generate Revenue

 

 

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The digital black consumer – leads demographics in mobile data use

Black Americans are consistently the second-highest US consumers of mobile data services by ethnic demographic. And, they are highly active on the Internet and on their mobile devices, watching video, networking with their social connections, and making purchases, according to [pdf] Nielsen’s latest Cross-Platform Report.

Nielsen examined the media habits of the digital black consumer in the US

In some key online activities, black Americans track far higher than the average.

via Marketing Charts

 

Percent who used the following (and their rank among demographics):

  • Text Messaging – 79% (1st)
  • Mobile Internet – 58% (1st)
  • Email – 48% – (2nd)
  • Picture Downloads – 30% (2nd)
  • Mobile Video – 20% (3rd)
  • Music Downloads – 18% (2nd)

 

See the full chart:
Continue reading The digital black consumer – leads demographics in mobile data use

2012: The Year Your Mom Started Using Foursquare

For all the folks wondering if Foursquare has jumped the shark, and more specifically, what’s the point? — the point is Foursquare is about to become the shark, at least in the blue ocean of mobile, location-based social networking.

Since launching in March 2009 at SXSW, I’ve been waiting for the Silicon Alley start-up to create some real value for its users. How many mayorships can one person accumulate before wondering, “I checked in ninety-eight times to become Mayor and all I get is this stupid badge?

The answer seemed to come earlier this year with the rollout of Foursquare 3.0 and its partnership with American Express.

It’s axiomatic to say that in the world of social media, if you’re not paying for the meal, you are the meal. I’m okay with that, as long as I get fed too, which the service has started to do thanks in part to the American Express ‘Sync and Save’ program — sync your Foursquare account to your Amex account, check-in to your favorite spot offering a deal, and see the credit on your Amex account. I’ve already unlocked two specials.

The initiative is part of the company’s philosophy to “make every check-in count” — so regardless of whether you’re checking into the same ol’ coffee shop or some far-away beach, Foursquare is aiming to add value, every time, for every user. A great example of this is near-by Specials, which are growing more attractive, more relative, and more robust every day.

And in making every check-in count for users, Foursquare is making every check-in count for companies looking to market their services to users. In the case of American Express, the credit card company is aiming to appeal to a more hip, technologically-savvy, a.k.a younger crowd.

“We don’t tend to skew under 35,” said Amex Vice Chairman Edward P. Gilligan. “We hope this will help us stay relevant to younger customers.”

I don’t know how relevant Foursquare will make Amex to the ‘under 35’ demographic, especially as other credit card companies jump in. What I can actually see happening is the specials and savings attracting an older demographic, with someone like my  mom using the app, thus making the service more mainstream.

Regardless of age demographics, the real marrow of the platform comes in the form of its user data. I can only imagine how savory it must look to companies aiming to market their products and services. American Express admitted the partnership has already brought a higher response rate than anything else they’ve done.

“We’ve always done marketing with merchants to make offers to our card members, like send offers through direct mail, put information about sales on the Internet,” said Gilligan. “But those response rates tend to be low.”

With over 15 million users worldwide and 80+ employees, Foursquare is en route to become the Amazon of the online, on-location user experience. As they continue to develop their suggestion-based algorithms, strengthen loyalty programs and add more value in the forms of discounts and specials, I think they can maintain their postion over imitators like Facebook, who just acquired Gowalla, and Yelp, who rolled out their check-in offers program last month, by making every check-in count.