Check-Off: How Facebook Places Stacks Up Against Foursquare At Airports, Hotels, Times Square

Who has more check-ins at Boston’s Logan Airport–Facebook Places, or Foursquare? How about at Cowboys Stadium in Texas, or Hotel Piazza di Spagna in Rome? How startup Foursquare is holding the behemoth that is Facebook at bay, by the numbers.

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How does Facebook Places stack up against Foursquare? It’s a question many have wondered since the world’s largest social network jumped into the check-in game. We know Facebook has nearly 700 million users–but certainly nowhere near all of them are actually using the company’s location-based service. Meanwhile, Foursquare has continued to goose growth, boasting recently that usership has doubled since the launch of Facebook Places.

Today, however, we finally have some insight into the usage of check-ins on Facebook and Foursquare. Thanks to data released by Wildfire Interactive, we now know the top 10 most checked-into locations on Facebook Places. Like Foursquare, tourist and travel hubs dominate the chart–international airports, Disneyland, Times Square. But how do these world-famous designations stack up in terms of check-ins on Facebook and Foursquare? We took a handful of these destinations for our global comparison–from Boston and Las Vegas to London and Rome.

Let’s start with the top check-in on Facebook Places: Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. According to Wildfire, Facebook has registered 219,000 check-ins. Foursquare? The service, which has been around longer than Facebook, registered about 214,000, only slightly less than Facebook’s tally.


How about we venture to the home turf for each company? At Times Square in New York, Foursquare’s hometown, Foursquare has registered 51,000 check-ins. Facebook? About 131,000. Heading back out west to San Francisco, the city’s airport registered 211,000 check-ins on Facebook Places. On Foursquare? More than 258,000. (Not far away in Palo Alto, Facebook Headquarters has seen 114,000 check-ins on Places, and only 5,772 check-ins on Foursquare. At Foursquare headquarters, the much, much smaller startup Foursquare has posted an impressive 11,600 check-ins at its headquarters.)

Here are some more comparisons:

Logan Airport (Boston)
Facebook: 84,000 check-ins
Foursquare: 66,908 check-ins


Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
Facebook: 50,000
Foursquare: 20,800

Westfield Shopping Mall (London)
Facebook: 38,000
Foursquare: 11,300

Hotel Piazza di Spagna (Rome)
Facebook: 6,000
Foursquare: 1


Caesar’s Palace (Las Vegas)
Facebook: 33,000
Foursquare: 29,300

In most categories, Facebook Places takes the top spot. But of course, given that we’re taking the most popular check-ins on Facebook Places and stacking them up again Foursquare, the latter service has fared quite well, especially considering it has barely fraction of Facebook’s users (9.5 million, according to Ad Age). It’d be an interesting exercise to compare Foursquare’s top locations with check-in data on Facebook, once the data is available.

So what does this indicate? Facebook Places is growing rapidly, especially internationally. But it also tells us something else: Foursquare is at the very least keeping pace with its giant competitor.


Plus, isn’t it kind of embarrassing that Facebook headquarters is on Facebook Places top 10 list?

[Image: Flickr user Clydeorama]

About the author

Austin Carr writes about design and technology for Fast Company magazine.