Foursquare puts the context in LBS

A couple of months ago Foursquare announced a new partnership with Safeway allowing users to connect their foursquare account with their Safeway loyalty account. Even though as much as I know this has been left as a single announcement for now, it’s one of the most interesting things going on in this landscape. Being a part of LBS community for over 10 years I’m proud to say that finally the way to make sense out of this whole location “killer feature” app has arrived.

As I noted in one of my previous post, location on its own is not enough. What foursquare did was take a further step into the world of context-based services. By knowing more about the user’s whereabouts, including, of course, her world outside of foursquare, the user experience becomes much more meaningful and personal. The incentive to check-in, and now the option to load pictures and comments, is tenfold larger now that the user has a personal stake (or steak in Safeway’s case) in it.

When Marissa Mayer talked about contextual discovery at LeWeb a while back, she couldn’t be more right. Context is the next big thing and location is, at last, getting the place it deserves – another element in the value chain. It might be the most important element in the case of Foursquare or the 2nd most important in Google’s case – but it’s not on its own.

I am positive that if Foursquare continues to pursue this direction, adds payments in the near future (NFC anyone? Starbucks and PayPal?) and expands its social-network connectivity, it’s in a great place to be the first one who monetizes from contextual advertising. True engagement with users has never been so close in my opinion and we’re bound to see some really exciting stuff in the near future.

But context is not alone and isn’t enough. It needs to go hand-in-hand with engagement. Real engagement of the consumers and their real engagement with the brands is the key to unlocking this huge potential. I’m really curious to see where this will all lead to…

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tristan walker and whis_kids, Ron Levy. Ron Levy said: Finally finished the blog post – Foursquare puts the context in LBS : http://t.co/5sUlujO […]



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