Foursquare releases Local Updates

Obviously, we try to publish news the day it comes out. This doesn’t always work out because, hey, sometimes the people we want to talk to are busy, especially if there’s a product release.

Yesterday, foursquare released Local Updates, which enables brands to send loyal customers (based on frequency of check-ins or whether the customer has “liked” the company) updates if they’re in the region.

We hear mobile marketing is a popular topic this year. As a means of outreach, it’s flying higher than a carrier pigeon and it’s hotter than a smoke signal. And in recent months, social networks like Facebook and Twitter have been rolling out new tools and updates to help mobile marketers.

And so has foursquare. So here’s Direct Marketing News’s email interview with Noah Weiss, foursquare’s product manager overseeing merchant tools.

Did foursquare offer anything similar to Local Updates previously? What were brands doing to reach out to customers?

Very early on in the life of the company, we launched our Specials platform, which enabled merchants to offer incentives to users for checking in. Merchants could offer both loyalty-related specials (e.g. “Get a free drink on your third check-in”) and specials to attract new customers (e.g. “20% off with your first check-in”). We also have a self-service tool called foursquare pages that brands can use to connect with fans. There wasn’t a way for merchants to actively communicate with customers on a regular basis, though. We have nearly one million verified merchants on foursquare, and many of those business owners have been telling us they want a way to communicate with all of the loyal customers checking in at their businesses on foursquare. Local Updates provide them with a way to communicate directly with the people that love their business when they’re nearby. Information on all of our tools for businesses and brands can be found at

 What did you see in the market that convinced you to launch Local Updates now?

As I mentioned above, businesses have been telling us that they want a way to communicate with the customers that love their businesses and are engaging with them on foursquare. Last month, we launched the all-new foursquare, a completely redesigned app for our users. We’re thinking of this launch as the all-new foursquare for merchants. 

Is there any way for brands to trace whether notices lead to conversions or sales?

In addition to launching Local Updates, we’ve rolled out a complete redesign of all of our merchant tools, including a merchant dashboard that enables businesses to see stats on how customers are engaging with their updates, as well as real-world analytics for their locations (what time of day people visit, the gender breakdown of visitors, etc.). I’ve attached a few screenshots to give you a sense of what the revamped merchant tools look like. 

Do these tools work differently for nationwide deployments versus local deployments?

These tools work just as well for small businesses as they do for large retail chains. Everything is free and self-service, and business owners can easily use the new merchant tools to push Local Updates out to one location, several locations, or across the country. 

Any advice or best practices for companies using Local Updates?

Business owners can use Local Updates to share any information that they think customers would find interesting. This might be a new special, a photo of some new inventory, or a description of the items on that day’s tasting menu. Foursquare Local Updates are the best way for businesses to communicate with the customers that love them. 

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