We've heard many success stories about Foursquare driving traffic to restaurants.
Most of the success stories have to do with one time campaigns that drive traffic to a specific event.
If organized and promoted effectively, I think Foursquare can be a great way to go for a particular, one-time event.
I'm wondering how you as a restaurant or agency who helps restaurants, measures the success of say a newbie check-in or loyalty check-in.
Do you look at the number of specials unlocked and then look at how many people have redeemed the special in your POS system?
I'm curious to see how others measure the success of Foursquare and for how long you run a particular special.
From my point of view, the best way to measure campaign results on Foursquare, is to measure how it affects the Social Reach over the duration of the campaign. Because far fewer people are users, Foursquare is strongest when used in tandem with Twitter & Facebook. So if the campaign is powerful enough to get customers to increase the % of tweets/posts-to-Facebook, then it's met its most important requirement. Obviously, there are a bunch of other factors and exceptions, but I feel like that's the biggest thing to measure.
I think it depends on the granularity of the data you are trying to track. I think if you just look at gross receipts, you can tell whether or not any online social campaign (not just Foursquare) makes a difference. If you want to start breaking down those who came organically vs those who came via other means, you'd really have to have a way to track and categorize the receipts. I know Groupon has an iPod Touch app that I see most of their customers using to redeem the coupons as opposed to the old paper-and-pen method. I've also seen some trendier restaurants in the Silicon Valley let startups muck with their POS systems.
I've asked a few restaurants myself around here how they do it, and they said they've tried manually tracking but after a day or so it becomes too tedious especially if they're deciding to priortize that task vs. tending to the needs of patrons.
I have a feeling Foursquare's merchant platform might have some tools in the future geared to convince local businesses that they're actually making a significant, accountable difference.
We are a little different from other Marketing companies. We measure ROI on actual dollars. Yes, the amount of Retweets and Forwards your content gathers are important, but it has been my experience that restaurant owners care MOST about the money in the till, not how many followers they have.
That being said, we meaure success in dollars during and after campaigns. We recommend our customers track Fourquare redemptions in their POS (we usually set up a custom coupon field for them because we typically run multiple campaigns at one time and we like to track which source works best.)
If a customer's POS cannot be modified, we recommend they track on a simple tablet offline. The tablet has the essentials like "coupon code" (usually 4-5 digits), and "transaction number" (the POS ticket number) or "total sale" to limit the amount of additional time it takes to ring-up a customer. Using this basic info, we can calculate ROI.
We then use Foursquare's built-in reports to compare against our POS results to see what works best and tailor the strategy accordingly.
I'm waiting for some of a the bigdog POS manufacturers to allow native foursquare integration, but haven't heard much from them yet. A plugin type integration would be ideal.