This week, Foursquare launched its much talked about app redesign that is helping the startup expand from a check-in service to a discovery engine. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley hinted that such an update was imminent at SXSW back in March, when he said the company’s vision was to use its wealth of data to help people better explore the real world.
The redesign places emphasis on moving beyond the gamification of check-ins and encouraging users to spend more time on the app. The Explore tab, launched last year, has become the new focus of the interface and invites users to view Foursquare as a discovery engine. Within this tab, Foursquare is serving up recommendations based on friends’ check-ins, time of day and even weather.
With priority now based in venue and activity recommendations, Foursquare looks to position itself against Yelp on the mobile front and function as one’s go-to guide for exploring locations nearby. The visual overhaul is also meant to invite users to spend more time on the platform by viewing photos, looking through the news feed style Friend stream and reading recommendations from the Explore tab.
Brands including American Express, Bravo and Starbucks have been partnering with Foursquare for years, and with this latest redesign marketers will have even more opportunities to reach people. Here are three key benefits for brands:
- Brand actions are more prominently displayed in the Friends tab. Whether it’s checking in, adding a tip or making a list, brands now have more visibility in users’ feeds. What’s more, whenever a friend interacts with a brand (i.e. following a brand, “liking” a brand tip or check-in, or saving a brand list) it will appear in their stream. Additionally, for brands with several locations, users will see when a friend “likes” or “dislikes” the venue. With several possibilities for interaction, brands with robust Foursquare strategies will benefit.
- The opportunity to find brand pages has increased. When someone looks at their Friends list in their profile, they have the option to segment it between Friends and Pages. In the Pages section, they can discover other pages through the “add friends” button. The discover feature could help users find brands displayed in the main Page Gallery and those that are easily searchable.
- Marketers will soon be able to promote Specials within the Explore tab. According to Mashable, this feature will be debuting later this summer and will allow merchants to target offers using the same technology that powers the Explore feature.
While not much is different on the technical side, the app’s interface looks much sleeker with the navigation bar streamlined from five tabs to the following three tabs:
- Explore tab: This feature received the biggest facelift. In addition to receiving recommendations based on user and friends’ check-in data, recommendations are given based on time of day and weather. Recommendations become “smarter” as foursquare gathers more data from the user. This tab features a map which plots venues friends have been to, along with their friends’ latest check-in. Photos take center stage on this tab.
- Friends tab: Photos are more prominently featured in the check-in stream (reminiscent of Instagram and Path) and gives users the option to “like” check-ins by clicking a heart button.
- Profile tab: The new tiled interface displays access to a user’s friends, statistics, photos, tips, badges, and lists.
Additionally, to make checking in an easier process, the check in button has been moved to the top right corner. The new heart feature allows users to “like” check-ins, tips, and venues. Venue pages also have a “dislike” option in the form of a broken heart button.