How Foursquare Helped Digital Jukebox TouchTunes Lift Bar Visits

Next on TouchTunes’ list: expanding its bartender loyalty program called Bar Rewards to over 60,000 members in 2017, says CEO Ross Honey.

In-venue jukebox and digital entertainment network TouchTunes is expanding its use of Foursquare’s Pilgrim SDK seven months after it found the location intelligence company’s data gathering system helped boost traffic to bars and restaurants it serves.

Last March, Foursquare began licensing Pilgrim’s ability to collect smartphone users’ “passive location data” — i.e., opt-in access to app users’ place-based information without the need to specifically “check-in” each time — to brands such as Capital One for its Wallet app, coupon platform SnipSnap, gift card marketplace Raise, as well as in-store deals platforms Retale and The Coupons App.

Aside from getting insights as to their app users’ location patterns, the brands could use the Pilgrim SDK to promote discovery of places these consumers might be interested in. For example, an app using Pilgrim might suggest a nearby store based on the users’ habits by sending notifications designed to prompt offline discovery and app engagement as they’re on-the-go.

TouchTunes’ app in action

As one of the launch partners of the white labeling of Foursquare’s white labeling of the Pilgrim SDK, TouchTunes’ app engagement goals were focused on selling songs via the app that users in a bar or restaurant could play on its interactive jukeboxes.

TouchTunes’ second engagement goal involved getting its app users into nearby one of the 65,000 locations that feature its interactive jukebox.

Results of the effort, which is being discussed in a panel at the Local Search Association’s Place Conference Monday in New York, showed that Pilgrim contributed to TouchTunes’ mobile growth — i.e., “mobile coinage” and revenue —  of over 33 percent year-over-year.

According to Foursquare’s foot traffic analysis, general bar visits increased 2 percent in 2016. Given that slim universal growth, TouchTunes realized its bar clients needed to find better ways  to capture these “on-premise drinkers” with compelling messaging, Foursquare President Steven Rosenblatt said in statement.

The Problems With Geofences And Beacons

Ross Honey, who became TouchTunes’ CEO last March, wanted to move the company beyond the use of geofences, which he deemed were too general to capture specific users and send them to the right location at the right time.

Conversely, he felt that TouchTunes’ use of beacons were not scalable enough, as smartphones needed to have Bluetooth receivers on and the users needed to be in very close proximity to get a message.

TouchTunes works with 65,000 bar and restaurant locations.

“With geofences they were too many false positives in which people correct incorrectly appeared to be in our venues,” Honey said. “This created a high risk would be messaging our users with irrelevant notifications. We found this for this to be acceptable because if you’re not actually accurate you are hurting yourself with your customers.”

The large costs associated with the technology, as well as, the operational challenges in deployment across a vast network presented significant challenges, Honey added.

The Loyalty Test

After implementing Pilgrim, TouchTunes has been able to scale up its proximity coverage to 34,000 venues, with plans to reach over 50,000 by year end, with no incremental cost, Rosenblatt said.

Ultimately, TouchTunes found that app users are 44 percent more likely to purchase music credits using proximity messaging, and 60 percent more likely to play a song in-venue when engaged with a personalized, location-relevant message.

But that’s just the beginning.

Now, TouchTunes plans to leverage Pilgrim to boost the membership of its bar staff loyalty program, BarRewards.

Exactly how does Pilgrim and the idea of proximity marketing help TouchTunes achieve revenue gains and potential loyalty?

The company says that Pilgrim / proximity aids in TouchTunes’ ability to grow mobile engagement and revenue, which ultimately translates into venues earning more money (more engaged users playing more songs, thus dwelling longer and spending more).

Using Pilgrim data also allows TouchTunes to discern venues with most jukebox coinage use per person, track commonalities and apply learnings across venues within the TouchTunes network, the company says.

“With Pilgrim,” Honey said, “we have the potential to identify people who are likely to work in our venues, and then send them a message asking them if they want to join our BarRewards.”

*Check back for updates of this story and for more coverage from the Place Conference. 

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.