Why Foursquare’s New Check-In Ads Are On Point

July 18, 2013
Ads are headed to Foursquare. But these aren’t just your typical mobile banner ads. The social network centered around check-ins and recommendations is using its foundation to target users in a different way — their location.

Until now, the social media app has been largely ad free making experts skeptical of just how the social network would monetize its service.  A writer for The Verge notes there’s a twist to the strategy, and it’s a smart one. The ads are more visual, coming in the form of a popup that appears after a user checks into a location. Based on location, a user will then be presented with a relevant suggestion or coupon.

So who’s buying into these new ads?

AdAge reports Captain Morgan and Toys ‘R’ Us are among the first brands to sign on, giving us insight into how exactly how these ads will function.

For the over 21 crowd — after checking in to your favorite bar you might just receive an ad suggesting you order a Captain and cola. Ok big deal, we see ads for products around us all the time. But by targeting based on your check-in, brands gain the ability to influence consumers immediately before they make a purchase decision. Toys ‘R’ Us is utilizing the service a little bit differently by offering coupons when users check in to kid friendly locations such as parks and playgrounds.

This begs the question, do you really want ads bombarding you while you’re enjoying a day with your little one? Probably not, but there’s good reason to pay attention. The app gives users incentive to first open ads by offering a coupon and then increases the chances that they will actually act by giving users the option to save these highly relevant ads for later.

Although, not everyone’s on board just yet. A writer for CNET suggests the company’s new revenue strategy is a little bit off noting that the company has shifted its focus from a location sharing app to more of a local search application similar to Yelp.

Nevertheless, Foursquare’s dedication to relevancy will allow the company to maintain its user base all while ensuring Foursquare’s 35 million users remain an attractive audience for advertisers.