More than 35 million people use Foursquare to figure out where to go, eat or shop at least 10 times per month. Are you one of them? With so many people using the app to make purchasing decisions, it's no wonder advertisers want to get in on the action. According to Foursquare, 78 percent of people who search locally actually make purchases. This brings us to Foursquare's latest advertising opportunity for small businesses: self-serve Foursquare Ads. A company spokesperson had this to say of the ads, "Our new self-serve tools mean that we can help more people connect with the over 1.4 million small businesses around the world that are using Foursquare." I am impressed that so many businesses, large and small, are taking advantage of the advertising opportunities available through Foursquare.
Foursquare's new self-serve ads are ideal for local businesses, offering them a new way to find customers in their area. Here's how it works. Ads are targeted based on whether a person is near a participating local business and how likely they are to become a customer. Foursquare uses data like previous check-ins, searches and friend recommendations to determine how likely an individual is to become a customer, and advertisers will only be charged when users click their ads or actually enter their stores. This eliminates waste and increases ROI, so it should be well-received by small businesses everywhere.
"The idea behind these new ads is simple – connect people looking for somewhere to go with businesses that want to drive traffic to their stores. Foursquare is the best way for those businesses to reach nearby customers. In our ad pilots over the past year, we’ve been honing our targeting technology, using the same algorithm that powers our Explore recommendation engine," Foursquare announced in a July 23 press release. This is a step in the right direction for local advertising via Foursquare. Curious about the benefits of local advertising? Check out our eBook after you finish reading this post.
What's more, last month Captain Morgan became the first among a handful of brands to use Foursquare to target consumers post check-in. For now Foursquare users will only be served the Captain ads when they check in at certain bars, night clubs or restaurants. But imagine this scenario: You walk into a liquor store, not sure what signature cocktail you’d like to serve at your next soiree, when all of a sudden, Captain Morgan, with the help of Foursquare, suggests a Captain mojito. Chances are you will actually give the drink some consideration, since you have enough to worry about with the rest of the party planning. Next up, Smirnoff ads will be served via your Foursquare bartender at select bars, clubs and restaurants this month. Let me know if you see one.
These targeted Foursquare ads remind me of the items placed strategically at checkout counters to provoke impulse buys. You’re kidding yourself if you think you would have actually purchased that trashy tabloid or package of Rolos, had they been placed elsewhere within the store. Those items are the retailer's last-ditch effort to increase the size of your purchase, just as these Foursquare ads are an advertiser’s final push to get you to buy their product before you leave the store.
If you are a small local business looking for a new advertising opportunity, you might want to contact Foursquare to get on the list. If you’re interested in learning a little more about the benefits of local advertising, download our free report on the topic. After that, check out our eBook "The Smart Marketer’s Guide to Local Digital Advertising."
Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.