By the numbers, Foursquare just doesn't stand a chance.
|By David Griner on May. 9, 2011||Tweet|
I get a lot of questions — from clients, from coworkers, from audiences at speaking engagements — about location-based apps. Namely, people want to know which one or ones I recommend using. And since November 2010, my answer has been consistent: Facebook Places.
Why November 2010? Because that's when Facebook announced Deals, a much-needed addition to Places that finally gave businesses a reason to claim their locations on Facebook. Deals made it simple to offer discounts or other promotional offers as rewards for fans "checking in" from their smart phones.
From that moment on, Foursquare has been dead to me. And as you can see in the chart above, I'm not alone.
Excerpted from a much larger graphic created by Beyond for the SocialLoco Conference (which you can see here), the chart illustrates the check-in preferences of both Early Adopters like myself and the Mass Consumers our clients are trying to reach.
For those already using location-based apps, Facebook Places is the clear dominator, with 90% saying they would use it. Meanwhile, a mere 22% would go for Foursquare.
Among mass consumers who aren't using location apps, Facebook still dominates with 55% preference, while Foursquare is just north of being a rounding error at 6%.
And while I still enjoy using Foursquare (more, I must say, than I enjoy using the far-less-private Facebook Places), I just can't get past the raw numbers.
More than 150 million Americans currently use Facebook, and roughly half of them own smart phones capable of location-based check-ins. Such a monstrous number absolutely dwarfs Foursquare's otherwise-impressive user base of 8 million.
So for those who wonder why I give so much preference to Facebook Places, I would ask you this: How much better would Foursquare need to be for it to justify reaching a smart phone audience 90% smaller than Facebook's?
And how much hope you can hold out for an explosion of future Foursquare growth if only 6% of nonusers are willing to give it a try?