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Snapchat’s new partnership with Foursquare could open the geofilter floodgates

Snapchat’s parent company Snap has struck a deal to access Foursquare’s location data. The latter is best known for its location and discovery app, which now boasts a database of more than 87 million real-life places, such as businesses, bars, restaurants, and markets. Foursquare’s data will power Snapchat’s geofilters — location-centric graphics that can be overlaid on to images and videos within the visual messaging app.

Until now, geofilters circulated by the app have generally been tied to broader locations such as cities, major sports arenas and events. The Foursquare partnership will open up the feature to a lot more people and services around the globe. It could, for example, power Snapchat’s custom geofilters tool — which allows users to create their own graphics for a price — essentially allowing for more information to be added to filters related to special events and occasions. Foursquare compiles its data by tapping into a variety of communication signals, including GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth to determine where exactly a phone is located.

Snapchat's custom geofilters tool could also benefit from the deal
Snapchat’s custom geofilters tool could also benefit from the deal

Foursquare’s data could also prove a boon for brands and marketers. Here’s how the company describes potential use cases for businesses on Snapchat: “Consider a surf brand. Now that we’re powering Snapchat Geofilters, the company could offer branded Geofilters at a chain of surf shops or at every beach in the U.S. Or a soda company may now purchase Geofilters across all fast food and convenience store locations.”

The onset of more sponsored geofilters will inevitably result in more cash in Snapchat’s pocket. Additional revenue options are critical to a company gearing up for an initial public offering.

Users too should welcome more geofilters that represent places they frequent or have a strong connection to, such as local parks, farmers’ markets, and bars. The data could also come in handy for snaps captured via the company’s new video-recording sunglasses, Spectacles, which are all about sharing your activity outdoors.

Foursquare claims it will not receive Snapchat user data as part of the deal. The platform already provides its data services to other tech companies, including Apple Twitter, Uber, and Pinterest. Foursquare was also one of the first brands to advertise on Snapchat’s Discover channel, where it ran promos for its Swarm check-in app.

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