Rest in peace, Facebook Places. At least that’s what all 6% of the people who actually used it might be saying. It looks like Foursquare is going to win the location-based check-in service battle, as Facebook announced yesterday it would be killing the Facebook Places check-in feature within its mobile app.
Facebook’s Places feature, released a year ago, was thought by many to be a viable competitor to other popular check-in apps like Foursquare and Gowalla, given Facebook’s large user base. However, by last October, only about 6% of Facebook users were touching the service.
Facebook did reveal that, while it is killing Places, it will optionally add locations to users’ status updates or pictures. How useful will it be? Only time will tell, but we think not that useful.
Other check-in applications like Foursquare and Gowalla are likely doing the opposite of mourning Facebook Places’ death. Foursquare, which now has over 10 million users and more than half a million businesses offering deals in conjunction with check-ins, has been especially active lately, recently adding the ability for users to check-in to specific events rather than just the venues associated with them. The company has also partnered with several daily deals sites (LivingSocial, Gilt City, Zozi, AT&T Interactive, and BuyWithMe), providing better deals to customers that check-in.
Social media platforms come and go every day. While it’s important to keep tabs on what’s new on the scene and how it can impact your marketing campaigns, be mindful that not every shiny new toy will serve a meaningful purpose in your marketing mix. Not every new social network will be as successful and useful as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Similarly, not every successful social media tool will be applicable to every business in every industry.
Pay attention to how people are adopting use of new tools and trends. If they seem to be attracting use from your target audience, consider ways you can take advantage of their popularity in your marketing efforts. That said, don’t overly rely on any one tool. Considering the number of users and the widespread use of Facebook, Facebook Places seemed promising. Now look where it is…