At first, newly launched location-based social media platform, Evzdrop, doesn’t look all that different from Foursquare. Users can “drop” pins at locations, in real-time, and leave photos, comments and reviews on their current experience. But, Evzdrop trying to to help businesses use this user-generated location-data to interact and build relationships with consumers. The company’s CEO David Rush caught up with Street Fight recently to talk about the value of real-time data to businesses, how they can better use location for marketing and more.
What does Evzdrop do that Foursquare (or location settings on services like Facebook and Twitter) doesn’t do?
We aren’t really about “friends,” we’re about creating an interest graph using place as that interest network. So, we believe there is a lot of worthwhile insight that strangers can share, with people that they don’t know, as long as they share a common interest in place.
There’s actually been studies from that last several months that said millennials trust strangers with experience and credibility more than their friends and family. The idea is that if someone’s at a place, in real-time, they have experience that is more trusted and verified by their location. We don’t check-in. It’s not just about where you are, it’s about what you’re observing and what you’re providing in terms of micro-insight — it’s more about what’s happening right now. This helps more people in real-time, but it also informs the business in real-time by providing them with a lens into a real sense of what’s going in within their store. Where they can respond to those people and they can do something about it. To the businesses we’ve spoken to about it have told us that having access to that insight is much more valuable then certain traditional research because it’s coming from people that are there and it’s authentic.
So when you have this ability to integrate location into social media, the experience within those locations is starting to matter more than the place itself?
Absolutely. Everybody has an experience when they go somewhere — a good, bad or indifferent experience. They observe something. We all, typically, share that with the person we’re with at a place or we’ll keep it to ourselves. Now we have a utility and a platform for people to express these ideas. They [the "drops" or comments] have to happen while they’re there. And that allows you to be able to have a stronger connection, or carry more weight with the businesses or all the other people listening. Going into a store or checking-in to certain places is important to businesses, but what they really want to get at is what you think about the sandwich you just ate or how the service was or if you could change anything at that place, what would it be?
A large part of Evzdrop is dedicated to business use — what is the value of your data to small businesses, and how can they use it to connect with and market to consumers better?
Now that they have somebody in the store, somebody that’s “dropped,” they have an opportunity now to create a relationship to that person in a way that wouldn’t have before. Number one and two objectives for a retailer is try to increase traffic and try to increase transactions. We help them with traffic through creating custom campaigns whereby they can notify people through us — some sort of an incentive to try and get people into their place. This can be done by certain people dropping in their location or dropping near-by. They can use this as a way to reach people in a way that they otherwise would have never been able to identify. The other [use] is their access to this data and analytics on a real-time basis.
When businesses use Evzdrop to push campaigns, they are marketing to an already-existing base — someone who’s already in your store or has been there or nearby recently. Is that more effective than place-sensitive geofencing?
Yeah. I think it depends on the individual but I definitely think that there’s a lot of people that don’t want to be bombarded with ads based on where they are standing. What we’re providing, from a business perspective, is for them to develop a greater relationship [with customers]. Most small businesses don’t even know the people that have come into their store. We enable this communication channel to exist between business and the consumer to build a relationship and build brand affinity.
Isa Jones is an editorial assistant at Street Fight. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.