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Summary:

Foursquare has finally opened up an ad platform to serve its 1.5 million registered small businesses.

NewFoursquare
photo: Foursquare

Foursquare is doubling down to monetize. Less than a year after being all but placed on a death watch by investors, the geolocation-based social check-in platform has introduced another avenue to generate revenue: Foursquare ads.

Announced today in a blog post, Foursquare ads will enable businesses on the platform to push ads to nearby Foursquare users. The company assures hyper-targeted approach not only enables small businesses to see how many people clicked on their ads, but also follow-through to see how many Foursquare customers actually went to the advertised location:

“We’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; now they can tell if someone who saw their ad actually walks into their store.”

Available to a Foursquare-estimated 1.5 million small businesses across the country, the ad platform is already showing off success stories, like this profile of Brooklyn-based bar and arcade Barcade. The claims are generous: a 1000% ROI, with each $1.71 spent on a Foursquare ad bringing a $20 tab to the bar. Those are big numbers for the handful of businesses that tried out the platform, but the cost for actually buying an ad package through Foursquare is low enough that small merchants are more likely to choose it over Twitter or Facebook for a more tailored campaign.

See a video trailer for the platform below:

All in all, it’s another foothold Foursquare is trying to gain after losing momentum last year. The company took out a risky $41 million investment earlier this year to right its course, and has been working on owning the local recommendations space ever since. The ads will no doubt work alongside Foursquare’s “smarter” platform experience, offering small businesses the opportunity to raise its visibility on passive location sweeps and occupying the top spot on nearby searches.

There’s a lingering possibility that Foursquare’s makeover could be part of its gambit to seek the strategic partnership — perhaps with Microsoft — that Bloomberg reported on earlier this summer. But, perhaps more importantly, it opens up an opportunity for Foursquare to generate the revenue that investors want to see.

  1. The Walking Dead.

    Foursquare is becoming less and less of a relevant tool for me. I’m actually enjoying Ness for discovery more. Prediction. Most social company that thinks advertising and sponsorship is way will die off. Only the large social networks are going to survive.

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