Earlier this week, Foursquare announced a new $33 million series F round of funding. Two years after pivoting away from being a social media platform and towards realizing its role as a location data provider, and four years after controversially splitting its flagship app in two (retaining the Foursquare brand for an app that provides recommendations and lists and launching the Swarm app for check-ins to physical places), the company has apparently retained the loyalty of its long-term investors, many of whom returned to participate in the latest round. But can the same thing be said about its users?
Is Foursquare More Successful as a Location Data App?
Verto Analytics looked at the monthly user numbers and engagement metrics for Foursquare and Swarm among U.S. adults (ages 18 and over) during the six month period between March-August 2018. According to Verto Watch data, Foursquare attracts a greater number of monthly users – in certain cases, such as in July 2018, Foursquare racked up more than triple the number of Swarm users: 7.1 million monthly unique users compared to 2.1 million. However, further analysis reveals that Swarm users tend to be more engaged than Foursquare users: the stickiness (how Verto measures engagement) rating for Swarm was 33% in September 2018, compared to just 6% for Foursquare. Swarm users engaged with the app an average of 33 times per month (or more than once per day) between March-August, compared to just 3 times per month for Foursquare users. And Swarm users spent a much greater amount of time with the app as well: an average of 54.5 minutes per month compared to just under six minutes per month for Foursquare users.
Based on these figures, it appears that Foursquare’s bet on location data is a winning one: with Swarm, it has created an app with a small but engaged user base that spends nearly an hour per month with an app designed to gather and share user check-in data – the location-based data that Foursquare offers to advertisers, developers, and retailers as part of its business model.