Foursquare is expanding their advertising availability to small businesses worldwide with a new self-service platform.
While many advertisers are familiar with advertising platforms such as Google AdWords that allow you to place ads without having to go through a rep, Foursquare is beginning to take that approach with their new ad program and available self-service tools for potential advertisers.
Advertising on mobile devices based upon where a person is at that moment is always a tricky endeavor. It can sometimes be hard to track mobile ad ROI because many users might see a mobile ad and end up at that business despite never actually clicking on the ad.
Foursquare has definitely taken this into consideration to not only bump up their own ad revenue, but also make it clear to advertisers when there is actually a conversion for those ads.
Foursquare's approach is to not only charge an advertiser when a user looks at the larger listing for an advertisement within Foursquare. They are also taking it one step further, by charging advertisers when a user either checks in at that business after they've seen the advertising on Foursquare.
While on the surface, advertisers might think that they could possibly be charged for an ad that didn't necessarily bring in the customer who checked in at their location, it definitely helps advertisers get a better idea of their conversions. But also, people are getting user data for specific users who checked in and the advertising they saw prior to the check-in.
Advertisers won't pay for ad impressions. There definitely is value in those impressions even if the user doesn't click through, especially with the current small number of advertisers and resulting low competition for promoted listing space. It alerts users that you're there, what your business is, and where you're located.
Ads do show up with an icon in the word "Promoted" next to it, so it's clearly defined as being a paid advertisement as opposed to a natural listing. There is no word if businesses are required to maintain a specific CTR or check-in rate, if there is a minimum monthly ad spend, or what the low end cost of those ad clicks or chick-ins will be.
Foursquare has opened up their self-service ad platform to a few thousand local businesses and they will open it to more in the coming months. It is currently available in the U.S., UK, Turkey, Brazil, and Russia. You can request to get on the list to be one of the businesses chosen to test it out.