Foursquare has revamped and rebranded its longstanding Panel App. The new flavor of the app will be given the less-rote and more-enticing title, Rewards by Foursquare. Functional updates include abilities for users to earn bigger prizes and points for real-world purchases, as well as a redesigned interface.
Before getting into those updates and their strategic implications, what’s the function and history of this app? In short, Foursquare lets users opt-in to have their location tracked in return for various rewards. It’s one of the many ways that Foursquare gathers consumer movement data to inform its location intelligence.
In that sense, Foursquare knows that consumers only share coveted data — especially location data — when there’s a clear value exchange. That value could involve location-centric functions like knowing the weather or nearest train ETA. And it can involve monetary rewards. Foursquare essentially does both.
Latest & Greatest
Going deeper into the latest and greatest, the Rewards app will offer consumers prizes and points for actively completing surveys or keeping the Rewards app running in the background. The latter requires some activation, including downloading the app, creating an account, and enabling location services.
But tangible rewards are hoped to motivate consumers over that hump. Making the experience more enticing and gamified (it is Foursquare after all), the app helps users manage goal tracking as they accumulate points. They can also manage point boosts for referring friends, point balances, and redemption.
As for tangible point value, they’re redeemable for gift cards at isa, Amazon, Target, Sephora, Starbucks, and Gamestop. To add some additional fun and gamification, Rewards by Foursquare users can enter sweepstakes for prizes like Playstation 5, Xbox Series X, Amazon Fire TV Stick, or cash prizes.
The Rewards app is also a way for Foursquare to keep one leg in the consumer app world. Though it’s found its true calling as a B2B data powerhouse, you likely remember that Foursquare first rose to prominence for its eponymous check-in app. The resulting data is what first launched it into location intelligence.
Since then, Foursquare’s data sets have become more sophisticated — relying on APIs that developers use to layer in location functionality to their apps (think weather or navigation apps). In return for that valuable app function, developers share data back with Foursquare… which fuels its location intelligence engine at scale.
But the thing about location intelligence is that it gets better with varied sources to validate and cross-reference the data. So Rewards — along with Swarm and City Guide — scratch that itch and let Foursquare buttress its location intelligence with long-tail crowdsourced data. And it does so in a privacy-safe way.
“Foursquare has evolved significantly since our early days as a check-in app.” Foursquare SVP of Marketing Michele Morelli told Localogy. “[We’ve] become the leading independent location technology company due to investment in our technology and using owned and operated apps as an ingredient in our data strategy.”
Age of Privacy
Going deeper on privacy, it’s obviously a prominent topic these days in the world of media and advertising. But most privacy restrictions focus on sharing/selling data to third parties. Foursquare remains compliant by being a first-party network that keeps all its data in-house to power its location intelligence engine.
Furthermore, privacy is all about transparency. Rewards by Foursquare checks that box, as it offers plain-English terms about what’s being shared, when, and why. And rewards don’t hurt: As noted, a clear value exchange has always been required for consumers to share data. That’s now amplified in the age of privacy.
“We are building and improving apps that are privacy-first and that offer a clear value exchange to the user,” said Morelli “Relaunching Panel as Rewards offered us an opportunity to improve the user experience in ways that ultimately benefit both businesses and consumers.”