2.24.2016: Foursquare’s Attribution / Whole Foods + Instacart


Foursquare, Foot Traffic, Butts in Seats

Exciting news for anyone who’s ever had to prove the ROI of an advertising or social media campaign to a brick-and-mortar business: Foursquare launched a new product that measures what pushes people into stores. (The inaugural example: effectiveness of Super Bowl ads.)

Called Attribution, the product measures something called incremental lift, defined as “how much the ads influenced people as compared to a demographically-similar control group of people who haven’t seen them.”

People who know more about this sort of thing than I do describe Attribution in great detail in a Medium post, worth a read. It also describes how, exactly, it works. (tl;dr: Foursquare has so much location data, no one else can touch them on this. Plus, as the post says, Foursquare “links the digital and physical worlds,” which is a big win right now.) Attribution is also able to report data in real-time, not just after a campaign ends, which means real-time ad-tweaking and maximizing any efforts to reach and affect the most people. This is very exciting.


Whole Foods + Instacart<3 <3

As if the Instacart-only lines at Whole Foods weren’t enough proof that the grocery chain looooves the Instacart delivery service, WF recently invested an undisclosed amount in Instacart. The two also signed a five-year delivery contract, making Instacart the official delivery partner for Whole Foods’ perishable goods. Actual details of the deal aren’t public, so most of the reporting involves a fair amount of speculation. . Still: Instacart works with many partners; I’m interested to see what a deal of this size will mean for the rest of them.


Ruth Reichl Gets It

During a recent appearance in Austin, writer, former Gourmet editor, and all-around awesome food-brain creative Ruth Reichl answered a bunch of questions about the state of dining in America. Most of the content doesn’t apply here (but it’s a nice article, so if you’re into her, you should read it); but she did say something highly relevant when asked about making sure food media continues “in the right direction.”

“I wish that mainstream food publications would cover politics and culture and sociology. I wish they would look at what’s going on in Silicon Valley.” That makes two of us. Thanks, Ruth!


Delivery Costs Are Devouring Startups on TechCrunch. This piece, penned by TC contributor and Farmigo founder/CEO does a better job of breaking down different delivery models than I ever could. Great insight into the challenges of building a modern food business.


Food Criticism, the Internet, Transparency, Ethics, Etc.

A pair of food critics in Western Australia are in some hot water after penning a poor — and apparently dishonest — restaurant review. After the Sunday Times published the review, the restaurant immediately fired back via Facebook, calling out nearly every point of the review (including the fact that the reviewer’s card was declined and she never returned to actually pay the bill.) While the internet is responsible for a host of armchair reviewers (boo), it also provides a platform to tell both sides of a story, set a story straight, or straight-up call out someone who’s lying.

(Also maybe relevant to point out here that these women aren’t “professional” critics but former reality show contestants. Everyone’s opinion matters but…. journalistic ethics? Something? This drives me nuts.)


  • I’m not even touching the Yelp open letter thing. — Nope
  • Food & Wine has a new editor, Nilou Motamed. She’s great at Instagram — @niloumotamed on Instagram
  • A “Comedy Hack Day” winning app; one the splits the check based on gender, race, and wage data — Obsev
  • Food delivery in Europe vs. food delivery in the US — Mahesh V

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