While location apps such as Foursquare and Gowalla have quickly gained popularity among the smartphone crowds - especially those super competitive smartphone users who obsess everyday about who is the mayor of their own company (who would do that?) - another application called SCVNGR has been quietly creating its own niche in the location app marketplace.
SCVNGR has been around since they secured funding (led by Google Ventures) in 2008, but the company's more business-oriented approach to, well, business has kept them out of the spotlight until recently. From the beginning, SCVNGR has marketed a premium service to institutions, businesses, and other groups. The premium service has created everything from team activities to campus tours for student orientations. These premium services have come at a price, however, allowing SCVNGR to be cash flow positive since its infancy.
In early May, SCVNGR rolled out its public-facing product, which more closely resembles Foursquare or Gowalla in its functionality and purpose. The major difference between SCVNGR and other location apps is that SCVNGR focuses not only on checking in to locations, but also on what you do at those locations, which the service refers to as "challenges." A challenge might be answering a riddle based on clues at your current location (like a museum), or making an origami animal out of your burrito wrapper (this one is real).
The challenge aspect is what makes SCVNGR truly compelling in my opinion. Users are prompted to interact with venues/brands/locations on a deeper and more purposeful level than just checking in, and as a result, their experience will be more memorable. In addition to that, the location can offer rewards and coupons based not only on checking in, but on this more thorough interaction with the product. Challenges can also create shareable items like pictures or videos that could help SCVNGR integrate into social networks more seamlessly than Foursquare and Gowalla have.
Hopefully there will be some SCVNGR case studies out there sooner rather than later, and marketers can see how effective it has been for other brands.
Checking out - TG
Scan this QR code with your Android phone to download the SCVNGR app, or search SCVNGR in the Android Marketplace.