The recent introduction of the iOS 5, the new operating system included in the iPhone 4s, has not only created opportunities for Apple, but third parties as well. Geo-driven social network Foursquare is one party that has decided to tap into its rich functionality right away with the recent launch of Radar.
In this article, we take a closer look at Radar and how marketers can use it to their advantage.
What is Radar?
Radar is a new Foursquare feature that on the surface, looks like it has a lot to offer fans of the location-based craze. By leveraging the iOS 5′s new region monitoring capabilities, it delivers notifications to users about certain things that match their interests whenever they are in close range of a specific area. This could be alerts regarding friends who are nearby or items on the user’s Foursquare To-Do List. One of the main selling points to this feature is that the user doesn’t even have to manually turn on the app to use it. When enabled, it just works automatically.
Foursquare is touting Radar as a feature geared to enhance the platform’s recreational qualities for the user, but it also has some appeal that could make it worthwhile for a marketer. For example, if it alerts you that a group of your customers are at the restaurant across the street from your store, this could be incentive to put together a custom offer and make contact in hopes of getting them to stop in and take advantage of the savings. Radar essentially gives local businesses another way to engage their audience on Foursquare, with an added benefit of not having to wait until they check in to reach them.
Will It Take Off?
The Radar feature appears to be a huge step in the evolution of Foursquare and the vision it has for the platform. Some users have stated that the service would be more appealing if they did not have to go through the process of manually checking in every time they want to use it. Thanks to Radar and its ability to send alerts, users can benefit from service without the hassle of having to check in first. It seems as if Foursquare has introduced this particular feature in hopes of giving users a reason to check in and interact with friends and the locations that interest them.
Radar definitely has a lot of potential, but how useful is it to a marketer? That is something that will be determined by user adoption. Despite how popular Foursquare may be at the moment, the process of checking in is really an afterthought for many users. And while a feature like Radar is as simple as can be, convincing them why they should turn it on use it on top of checking in could be a hard sell. For the marketer’s sake, Foursquare needs to do a good job of selling users on the benefits of this tool in order for it to deliver any real value.