Factiva Findings Reveal Foursquare Winning Most Important Numbers Game: PR Coverage

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EXCLUSIVE – By Adam Vincenzini


Without being too Malcolm Gladwellesque, we may have witnessed a ‘Tipping Point’ overnight for the ‘next’ big social networking toy, foursquare.
First up, a TIME article outlining how foursquare plans to rule the world and then the ‘near ready’ BlackBerry App was sent out to 5000 users for one last test.
Meanwhile, Gowalla, the supposed challenger to foursquare’s title, (again) acted more like a ‘Gorilla in the Mist’, lost…for direction and words.
I thought it was worth looking into one of the reason’s foursquare is perceived as the bigger player by most – media coverage.
Using Factiva’s global print and digital media analysis tool, this is what I found:
*Number of ‘appearances’ for these phrases in the last three months

Foursquare and Gowalla (together):
231 (total), 192 (online), 39 (print)

Foursquare (and Social): 691, 532, 159

Foursquare (and Location): 623, 495, 128

Gowalla: 283, 229, 54

Foursquare and Twitter: 575, 450, 125

Gowalla and Twitter: 156, 116, 40

NOTE: A simple ‘foursquare’ search returned more than 1500 results but included mentions not relating to the social networking tool / app.

In essence, this very basic analysis tells us that foursquare is outperforming Gowalla in terms of media mentions by almost ‘3 to 1’.

The huge gap in frequency of combined ‘foursquare / Twitter‘ mentions vs Gowalla / Twitter’ mentions is helping to position foursquare as the ‘next’ Twitter in the eyes of consumers.

And, as we now, PERCEPTION IS (OFTEN) EVERYTHING.

To finish up, I looked very briefly at the standard brand adoption model and the role PR plays in this process.

As you can see, the early stages require a heavy investment from a ‘discovery and trial’ perspective, and based on this initial investigation, foursquare appears to be keeping the competition ‘in check’.

It’s still early days…but they are often the most important.

AV

10 Comments

  • Reply January 16, 2010

    Emily Cagle

    Smart bit of analysis there, Adam.

    Those findings definitely in line with sense I've got from SM/PR buzz of late.

    We're waiting for it to cover Lincoln (where we're currently based) before we can get a real sense of its scope and usefulness.

  • Reply January 16, 2010

    Adam Vincenzini

    Thanks Emily – as mentioned in the copy it's very crude and only looks at the two 'most prominent' players in the location-based game but I think it re-affirms what most in the industry believe: foursquare may not quite it have it all together technically yet, but they are doing pretty well from a comms perspective.

  • Reply January 16, 2010

    Rich Baker Social Media

    Nice post. Apparently foursquare is huge in the US – people are moving off Twitter to Foursquare.
    As a social media app its pretty good – but is limited in its use. IMHO Gowalla isn't that great at all.

  • Reply January 16, 2010

    Tim

    I quite agree that perception is the key to Foursquare claiming this territory, the quality of the service/software sadly being secondary.

    But – remember when MySpace got its first 100 million members and Facebook was just a shitty college site?

    I may prefer to adopt Gowalla, but would have to ditch it if all my friends were on Foursquare – In the same way I ditched MySpace when all my friends migrated to Facebook. Your adoption graph is too simplistic to take these complex social factors into account.

  • Reply January 16, 2010

    Adam Vincenzini

    Tim, fair points…but my interest (perhaps bias?) is toward the role of PR in promoting such services…and that in such a competitive space raising ‘awareness’ is a big piece of the puzzle…not everything…but significant enough.

  • Reply January 16, 2010

    redcubemarketing

    Interesting and confirms what I already knew (been testing the two for a little while).

    Would have been good to include Yelp in this, slightly different in its approach but with the inclusion of ‘check ins’, is now a major contender and should be considered in any analysis of this type.

  • Reply January 16, 2010

    Geek Girl

    Interesting bit of analyis indeed – you need to get in touch with @mattgierhart as I believe he personnally knows the guys from Gowalla. He might be able to give you more info about what they’re up to

  • Reply January 16, 2010

    Tim

    there are a tonne of apps Adam could have mentioned, but Foursquare and Gowalla are a more direct comparison than most. Location-based services with a social angle include Latitude, BrightKite, Yelp, BlockChalk, Dopplr, even Twitter … the list goes on.

    my money’s on an existing player buying the one with the largest user-base in a year’s time and merging the service into their own.. Facebook or Google would be good contenders

  • Reply January 16, 2010

    Adam Vincenzini

    It might be interesting to look at Twitter / Yelp mentions vs Foursquare / Twiter mentions in the same article before and after the check in announcement…

  • Reply January 16, 2010

    Geek Girl

    Could be a good idea to include Yelp in your analysis however it’s my understanding their penetration in the UK is much lower than in the USA…

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