28 Oct Foursquare’s New Self-Service Ad Platform

The CEO and founder of Foursquare announced that it was putting its recent $41 million from investors into helping the mobile search and location-sharing platform move away from its perception as a simple “check-in app” and “get closer to being able to prove that there’s a real business here.”

How will he do this? By unveiling the latest development on that front: Foursquare Ads is now being opened up to advertisers of all sizes, targeting Foursquare’s 40 million users worldwide. This is a sign of progress since Foursquare first opened the platform to 50 large advertisers nine months ago.

Foursquare is hoping to tap into the 1.5 million small businesses that have already registered their businesses for free on the service, so that buying ads will give the businesses extra exposure.

As of October, small businesses worldwide can go to Foursquare’s ads dashboard and create their own promotions. Foursquare is banking on its location-based check-in services to set it apart from others like Google and Facebook: engagement will be measured by how many people actually visit the place in question, and advertisers will be charged based on that.

According to the Foursquare blog, they’re moving past the days when business owners have to figure out if a “like” or a “click” has any meaning in the real world. They will still measure how many people viewed an ad and how many taps the ads have received, but the primary emphasis will be on how many saw the ad and how many become customers.

Foursquare’s new ad opportunity is distinctly different from other location-based services, such as Yelp. By basing payment on how many people respond to the ad, they are promising advertisers no minimum upfront commitment.

There is also flexibility in terms of what advertisers show in their ads – they can feature discounted deals, but they can also focus on user reviews or user-generated photos of the place.

Ads on Foursquare are currently appearing in two places: the first is in targeted search results pages, organized by keyword and distance from your specified location.

The second place where ads are appearing is on the home screen of the app, in the form of “recommendation cards” when you log on to the app.

What do you think of this opportunity as a business and as a consumer? Share by commenting below!

Sibet B Freides