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Posts Tagged ‘tosci’s’

Meet Gus. He’s the owner of Toscanini’s in Cambridge, MA. This week, Gus became the proud owner of a Silver Apex Award in the Food and Beverage category, as mentioned here previously.

Today the LocaModa screen at Tosci’s (as it’s known locally) has 3,128 Foursquare check-ins from 1,077 people. Starbucks, a few minutes from Tosci (also on Mass Ave in Cambridge) has 1,570 Foursquare check-ins from 580 people. We consistently enable an increase of 30-60% more check-ins on LocaModa screens. That means something to Gus, because his screen effectively communicates with his customers in his cafe and beyond (we also have twitter feeds tagged #Tosci and photos that are emailed to tosci@wiffiti.com and text messages sent using @Tosci to our short code. All in all, an engaging customer experience that reduces wait time and fosters loyalty.

Hold that picture.

At this year’s DSE, I gave a talk with the long-winded title “The 10 Biggest Problems and Solutions for DOOH Networks Flirting with Social Media and Mobile Applications.” You can find my presentation here. In that talk, I mentioned Gus, and the problem that many place-based ad networks are so focused on their network and/or advertisers’ value propositions that they sometimes forget to focus on the venue challenges.

Let’s assume that a cafe like Gus’s has 200 visitors per day, each spending $5 i.e. $30,000 per month. It’s easy to see that even if advertising revenue via a place-based ad network screen is shared with the cafe, it’s highly unlikely to be a material percentage of the cafe’s revenue. We can show that even if we make some bold assumptions about potential ad revenue based on 200 people x a generous 15 impressions each and a $5 CPM = $450 per month to be shared between the network and venue.

The moral of the story for place-based ad networks? Love thy venue first. The cafe owner isn’t interested in the advertising piece of the equation, he or she is interesting in his customers. Reduce perceived wait time, improve the customer experience, increase loyalty (and related programs), extend marketing reach and engage the customers. Once a venue’s customers are engaged with the screen, then you can start to monetize that experience for advertisers.


I’m turning the blog over today to LocaModa’s CEO Stephen Randall for a special guest post on our integration with one of our favorite new services, Foursquare.


Recently, The Boston Globe reported on the latest location-based service to turn the heads of media mavens:

“Foursquare, the mobile phone software and accompanying website turn your daily peregrinations into a competition: every time you venture somewhere (your neighborhood Dunkin’ Donuts, or the Boston Garden), you use the Foursquare app or mobile Web site to “check in,” getting credit for being there. The person who has checked in the most at a particular location becomes the mayor — at least until someone else shows up more often and steals the title.” (“The 21st century’s version of ‘Killroy was here,’” The Boston Globe, Scott Kirsner, 28. January 2010).

Unless disabled by the user, Foursquare check-ins automatically send a message to the user’s “social graph” (the number of friends people have on social networks), and if the user so chooses, updates his Twitter feed as well. The average number of friends, followers or fans on social network sites such as Twitter is 126 (source: The Guardian, 29. June 2009). Facebook’s social graph is 130 (source: Facebook).

The user experience is fun and engaging, and it’s obvious why some enterprising venues have started to reward customers who use these apps to announce their presence to their friends. The merits of displaying location-based services for locations should be apparent – they are a user-generated marketing tool for the venue. It is therefore ironic that location-based services are not designed for place-based screens at all, but for web and mobile screens.

The Globe article went on to mention a local battle for mayorship of Toscanini’s, a well known café not far from MIT in Cambridge, MA. LocaModa’s HQ is five minutes away from Toscanini’s (Tosci’s to locals). As long-time fans of Tosci’s and friends of its larger-than-life owner, Gus, we use the café as a lab to test new place-based social media applications. In November ’09, we started testing Foursquare on Tosci’s LCD screen, the first time Foursquare was used as a real time interactive DOOH application.

The LocaModa Foursquare app (shown above) dynamically displays a picture of the mayor, the number of check-ins and user tips about the café. The screen also displays real time Twitter messages tagged “Toscanini” and “Tosci.”

I have previously written about ensuring place-based screens have a range of miles not feet (i.e. that they connect venues across channels to brand websites and social network fan pages etc). Location-based services are an excellent example of cross channel engagement and are therefore likely to be a mainstay of many place-based networks.

You can also download a pdf version of this post.