Foursquare introduced a new feature recently, called “Updates,” which lets businesses publish content for free to nearby users who have used it in the past. According to Street Fight Mag, these updates will appear in the friends tabs, as sponsored stories, and under the business listings section of the explore tab. This is a big update for the company, which has been moving towards monetization and mobilization of its more than 1 million merchants. In June, Foursquare revamped its app to play down the check-in feature in favor of a more discovery focused experience for the user. Later on in June the company introduced its “Connected-Apps” platform to gather developers in its own application.
The Updates feature is one of the largest additions to the company in terms of engagement since it launched its specials platform in March 2011. The company hopes that the update will contribute even more to the discovery-oriented goal of the product. Foursquare has already locked-in some national brands, like Outback Steakhouse, H&M, and Wolfgang Puck, as well as a few New York area local businesses. However, the remaining question for the startup is whether or not it can gain traction with merchants. Now, more than ever, companies everywhere are asking local merchants to contribute.