Last week, Foursquare reported that it had successfully predicted sales of the new iPhone for the opening weekend. On 24 September, Foursquare used its global check-in data to estimate that 13-15 million iPhones would be sold globally in the first weekend of sales. Four days later it reported that it had been accurate.


Foursquare has a long and varied history – never reaching the mainstream use of social channels like Facebook or Twitter, but still having a significant and loyal user base. It has always been more about the data that it collects and the way that this can be used. Foursquare focuses on creating rewarding user experiences in exchange for sharing data, which can then be transformed into monetised data-sets. This iPhone sales prediction demonstrates the new and valuable use of this data for business and marketing.

We are seeing a rise in the use, and potential value, of the location data that we are sharing constantly from our smartphones, or choosing to share via services like Foursquare. Google has recently launched ‘Popular Times’ data on its search results for places – using footfall data from Android and Google Maps users to show when shops, cafes, restaurants and other venues are busier or quieter.

This is the kind of data that can add real context to marketing – helping brands and agencies to better target people and places based on who is likely to be there and what they are likely to be doing. Packaging this location data and layering on behaviour data will help brands to target the right people with the right messaging at the right time and will help mobile advertising to become more relevant and better targeted.

And at a time when ad blockers are on the rise on mobile devices, it will be increasingly important that advertising that is served to people is more helpful and more relevant.

Matt Rhodes

About Matt Rhodes

Head of Digital Strategy for work. Marathon runner and charity trustee for fun.

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