Friday, July 15, 2011

Why Foursquare needs to dig into its metrics a little more...

Every company captures metrics. Even if people raise such a "privacy" stink that the company is prohibited from capturing all of the metrics that it wants, it still captures something.

Foursquare obviously has a lot of data about me. They recently sent me and email, and the third paragraph of the email read as follows:

First off, thanks for believing in our little startup as we try to build an awesome service for you. You were one of the first hundred thousand members of our community (to be exact, you're member #46,304)! You can tell your grandkids that you were a 21st century trendsetter! They'll look at you in amazement as they cruise by on their hoverboards.

Of course, this was the third paragraph, which (for those who have mastered their kindergarten skills) is preceded by the second paragraph.

Make sure to get the latest hotness! DOWNLOAD the latest version of foursquare for your phone.

And if you've read this blog over the last few months, you know that's the rub. And if you haven't, read my posts from June 1 and January 15. (In short, since Foursquare only allows people with GPS-equipped smartphones to earn mayorships, I have no incentive to use Foursquare on my dumb phone or my netbook.)

The surprising thing is that Foursquare has a bunch of metrics that should indicate that there's a problem. They don't have to read a blog to figure this out. Foursquare's metrics should tell them that I have lost all of my mayorships (as an early adopter, I held down more than ten mayorships at one point). In fact, Foursquare's metrics should tell them that I haven't checked in for several months now.

When I stop using other services for even a few weeks, the service starts sending me "we miss you!" messages. (BranchOut is one service that comes to mind in this regard.) But Foursquare has not made the re-energization of inactive members a part of its strategy.

Now I will grant that I'm not part of Foursquare's target market - if you don't pay $2000 for your phone and your phone service, you're not attractive to Foursquare's customers (the businesses that advertise on the service). But you'd think that Foursquare would be trying to re-engage the people who have the SuperAndroid or the iPhone 6 or whatever, and would be sending them messages to get them to check-in again.

Or perhaps Foursquare, like Twitter (and some other services - I should talk about Starfleet Commander in a different post), doesn't really care about the number of ACTIVE users of the service. They only care about the TOTAL number of users, including the ones who use the service once and never touch it again.

After all, the total user count is a more impressive number than the active user count.
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