Facebook Places launched last summer, one of the first questions (other than "how will this impact my privacy?") was "How will this impact other location-based startups?" While Foursquare was gaining tractions and users, some questioned if Facebook's entry into location would serve to squash it.When
Foursquare has hardly been squashed. The startup ended 2010 with over 380 million check-ins and now boasts over 6 million users. But a new survey from MerchantCircle suggests that while users may be flocking to Foursquare, businesses' marketing dollars are going elsewhere.
According to the 8,000 local business owners that participated in MerchantCircle's quarterly Merchant Confidence Index, Facebook and Google are still the leaders when it comes to online marketing efforts.
Respondents to the latest survey indicate that 32% are using Facebook Places to promote their businesses, with 12% planning to do so in the coming months. That compares to 8.7% who use Foursquare, with 7.6% planning to add it to their marketing repertoire soon.
Behind Foursquare in the survey is Groupon, with 6.6% of local merchants saying they'd offered a "daily deal." But 13% of those surveyed say they plan to do so, an indication that there is a demand for group-buying opportunities.
Interestingly, 14.3% of respondents said they'd never heard of Groupon, while 27.6% said they'd never heard of Foursquare; 26.9% said they'd never heard of Groupon's competitor Living Social and 11% said they'd never heard of Facebook Places. Before you draw any conclusions about Super Bowl ads, the survey ran from Jan. 22 through Feb. 3, narrowly missing the Groupon advertising gaffe.
According to the survey, about 72% of local businesses say they'll spend less than $5,000 a year on these marketing efforts, with 34% spending less than $1,000.