The most common way we see companies large and small using data today is in their advertising initiatives. Firms are constantly searching for ways to market more efficiently, hoping to recognize a greater ROI for less of an investment. Snapchat, who recently surpassed Twitter as the fastest growing social media platform with over 150 million active daily users is taking advantage of the scores of data available today to benefit themselves, as well as the companies they work with. Snapchat has seen an incredible surge in revenue over the last two years, jumping from $59 million in 2014 to being on-target to hit $350 million in 2016. One can comprehend this massive amount of growth after understanding that Snap Inc.’s major source of revenue generation is through advertisements. Thousands of companies pay Snap in order to utilize their geofilter feature to advertise to users throughout the world. This use of the geofilter is where Snap Inc.’s exciting new partnership with Foursquare comes into play.
Foursquare is a search-and-discover mobile app that provides search results for its users. These searches can include anything from area entertainment, shopping, dining or other services users may be looking for. Foursquare has a trove of valuable location intelligence it obtains from its users. Snap Inc. intends to use Foursquare’s “polygon” data to help them understand what users in targeted areas are looking for, which in turn, will help their advertisers focus their ad campaigns. This is a great strategic move by Snap because they will now have tangible evidence to take to potential advertisers to show them a granular picture of who will be in what areas, what they prefer, how they should be targeted, and could even make an assumption about what type of return each brand could see. With so many brands wasting valuable ad dollars on consumers who will never engage with them, this initiative by Snap shows that they care about the firms they partner with and should give said firms confidence in this advertising medium.
While it may not immediately appear so, this partnership could be beneficial to the general welfare of the public as well. With such a wide range of users on both the Snapchat and Foursquare platforms, these tech firms could assist law enforcement agencies in solving crimes or locating missing persons. These companies could query their logs to paint a picture of where suspects or missing individuals are based on the interaction with various servers in their networks. While I’m definitely oversimplifying this scenario, I believe this is a very real application that this technology is capable of. While Silicon Valley companies are hesitant to partner with the government and various privacy questions may arise, I believe that when you’re in between a rock and a hard place, both parties would be able to find common ground and work towards a mutually advantageous solution.